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470 of 503 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the critics, enjoy the ride
I'm surprised that this movie has attracted so much scorn. Is it silly and far-fetched? Well, duh, anyone could figure that out who's seen only half a trailer! So, if we accept that going in, the only remaining question is does it deliver sufficient entertainment value?

I vote yes.

The far-fetched plot owes a large debt to "The DaVinci Code", which...
Published on November 21, 2004 by Bob Stout

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent movie, decent extras...nothing too special on either
I admit I enjoyed watching this movie in the theater, but still left with a feeling that it missed something. Rewatching the movie on this 2 disc special edition reminds me of the same feeling. The story is of Nicolas Cage's character having to "steal" the Declaration of Independence to save it from a selfish treasure hunter who only wants to use it to find a legendary...
Published on December 22, 2007 by Dave


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470 of 503 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the critics, enjoy the ride, November 21, 2004
By 
Bob Stout (Houston, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
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I'm surprised that this movie has attracted so much scorn. Is it silly and far-fetched? Well, duh, anyone could figure that out who's seen only half a trailer! So, if we accept that going in, the only remaining question is does it deliver sufficient entertainment value?

I vote yes.

The far-fetched plot owes a large debt to "The DaVinci Code", which itself owes a large debt to a time-honored history of conspiracy theories. Long before "The DaVinci Code" was published, I'd heard all sorts of whispered tales about the Knights Templar and the Freemasons - usually involving the Holy Grail, though.

But none of that matters. This is a yarn, pure and simple. As such, it's well told with a good mix of likable and villainous characters, plus at least one you're not too sure about. Should you expect a tall tale to stand up under intense scrutiny? Not bloody likely! To keep you from thinking about the incongruities, it has lots of well-paced action.

This is also a family film. I saw it with 8 other family members ranging from preteen school kids to their grandpa (me). Everyone had a good time and everyone figured we got our money's worth.
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195 of 229 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Our Day and Age... ****1/2, April 28, 2005
By 
JWK "jwk" (Dallas, TX USA) - See all my reviews
National Treasure is proof of what us "common" listeners, movie goers, readers and observers have suspected for a long time; That critics are usually wrong/stupid. This movie got bad reviews. Not even bad - abysmal reviews. And do you wanna know why? After everything is said and done, it's because there's no sex, no foul language, and it's entertaining instead of disturbing. Well we can leave them to the business of deciding what our likes and values "should" be, and we they can pontificate why movies they view with disdain end up as year-end blockbusters. With that being said, I feel I should come from a different angle. This movie is also NOT an anti-Christianity film (and I find it interesting that people would equate it as such, seeing as there are so many other mediums that are). The plain and simple facts: pretty much everyone involved in shaping this country: from establishing it, to breaking from England, from the signing of the Declaration of Independence, to the men we've elected as Presidents have been Christians. ALSO, more than half the men that signed the Declaration were Masons. Simple facts. George Washington was a Mason. Ben Franklin was a master mason. Lodges were established pretty much everywhere across the East Coast. There's no way to dispute these things because they happened. Coming to the conclusion that masonry is anti-Christian just shows a lack of knowledge on the subject (especially since most masons are Christian to begin with). This is a completely different topic (something that I wouldn't mind discussing with anyone via e-mail), so onto the movie.

It's well written, interesting, with a cliff-hanger look into history that more than acknowledges Dan Brown. (By the way, Dan Brown's new book is on the same subject as this movie. I'm not sure which is interdependent.) It's well produced, well casted, with very few lagging moments. The story is great and the American historical sights are filmed very well, showing masonic influence in virtually everything our Founding Fathers did. I really don't see how this can be construed as negative. Perhaps critics don't like Disney.

Seeing an early edition DVD of this movie, I can say that the special features are certainly lacking. Putting any type of "history channel" type documentary of the evolution of templars-to-masons would have been nice. Even masonry in American history would have been good. Basically, there's a 5 minute mini-history that covers the same ground as the movie or is common knowledge. Perhaps the "special edition" will have more. The lacking special features pales to the greatness of the movie. One of the best!

Overall: 9 out of 10.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, clean movie for young and old alike!, May 2, 2005
Not one bad word, no blood, and a body count of one. Doesn't sound like much does it?

Well, don't let this fool you. This movie is excellent. It proves that you don't need gratuitous violence, language and sex to make a movie exciting with adventure and action. Kudos to Walt Disney for bringing us an excellent movie that you can take your kids to see.

The action moves at a brisk pace, never letting you catch your breath. The action is excellent and well executed and the acting and story are fabulous. The basic premise is that a group of men called the Masons were tasked with keeping vast amounts of treasure (now over 2,000 years old) out of the hands of people who would abuse it. The location of the treasure is unknown, but the Mason's have apparently left clues (such as the all-seeing eye on the 1 dollar bill) which eventually points to the Declaration of Independance as the location of a map. What transpires is an excellent movie that keeps your attention until the final scene.

Nicholas Cage still has the ability to pull off a film like this with humor and wit and make it enjoyable and believable.

There is shooting and one death in the movie which is probably the main reason this move is PG. The death is not graphic and it happens quickly.

For children under 7, this film might be a little long in the tooth (131 minutes) for them and the story might move too fast for them to keep their attention. However, children over 7 (especially boys) will love this film. When my wife and I saw it, we weren't expecting much, especially when we saw all the children coming in. But, once the lights dimmed and the movie started, it was hard for my wife and I believe that this movie was that great.

See it. It is worth it.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars we take VISA, March 17, 2008
National Treasure DVD

National Treasure reminds me of a scavenger hunt with guns. It kind of has the flavor of an Indiana Jones movie, just with Nicolas Gage instead of Harrison Ford. Now that there's two of them out see National Treasure 2 - Book of Secrets (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) I guess it'll be like Indiana Jones, they'll keep making them as long as they sell.

Anyhow Nicolas Gage plays a modern day treasure hunter who runs from clue to clue, closely followed by a rival for the treasure. This is a "Jerry Bruckheimer" production, so I wonder if it'll be coming to TV soon.

Recommended for fans of Nicolas Gage Indiana Jones movies and scavenger hunts.

Gunner March, 2008
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars National Treasure, March 15, 2008
What a great movie that the whole family can watch! I am a history buff, and it was very enjoyable to see this movie incorporate actual events from history into the mystery. The cast was well chosen, and the movie never had a dull moment. The different location shots were chosen, and showcased to intrigue the viewers.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable for what it is, May 5, 2005
By 
Mark Baker (Santa Clarita, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
Benjamin Franklin Gates is the latest in a long line of treasure hunters. The Gates family has been searching for a treasure hidden by the founders of the United States since the last founder told one of them the first clue many years ago. There's just one difference. Ben has solved the first riddle and that leads him to believe the next clue is on the back of the Declaration of Independence. When his financiers decided to steal the document, Ben realizes he's on his own to find the treasure and keep America's historical document safe. But in a race again time, will Ben and his friends win?

Ok, so maybe this movie isn't great cinema or the best movie ever made. It really doesn't matter, and you know why? Because the movie is fun. I had a smile on my face from start to finish and was often on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened next. Yes, I'm annoyed that we never found out how Ben tracked down the first clue. And there's at least one plot hole that will jump off the screen at you. But in the end, I didn't care. The story engaged me, and the characters were fun. I found their banter very entertaining. Plus setting the story around so much American history certainly didn't hurt this US history buff.

The DVD could have been better done. The widescreen and surround sound are wonderful. It's the extras where I have my problem. There is a treasure hunt motif to them, with at least two different levels. The booklet does provide clues to get to the second layer, but I keep hearing rumors of a final level, and that's very annoying. What is easily found is nice. There are two deleted scenes and an alternate ending, each with an optional commentary. We get a brief behind the filming documentary and an animated early version of the opening story to give the director an idea how it was supposed to look. Layer two brings an encryption game and two brief documentaries on real life treasure hunters (interesting) and the Knights Templar (mostly useless.) Noticeably missing, at least in the obvious parts of the disc, are such standard features as an audio commentary and the original trailers.

This movie is exactly what it sets out to be, a fun escape. If looked at that way, you'll be entertained.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great adventure film appropriate for youngsters, May 1, 2005
It seems that just about every movie out there in modern times involves skimpy outfits, swearing, or other adult themes. National Treasure is one of those rare films that is fun for the kids, while offering at least a reasonable amount of intrigue for adults as well.

First, yes, let's get out of the way that the plot and characters are rather one-dimensional and only lightly sketched. Ben wants the treasure - but we never really get a sense of why he's seeking it. Perhaps he wants to find it (as he claims when seeking to avoid prison) to 'give it back to the people'. He's joined by a cute female researcher and a cyber-guy. The trio is up against Sean Bean, who wants the treasure for (gasp) monetary gain.

The main appeal of the movie is that the sanitized adventure takes place in locations that you could visit with your family - Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York. The characters move from location to location, deciphering clues and getting hints of masonic involvement. There are creaky underground caverns, guttering torches, and of course, vast treasures. It helps kids to get interested in history, which is a lovely thing.

There is "sweet" love between the main characters - one mild kiss is the extent of their affection. There is the child-reedeeming-his-father's-love going on. Without giving much away, good triumphs and evil is vanquished.

I really wish they could have done a bit better job on the coherency of the movie, though. Sure, having it so sweet-and-simple was lovely for the kids. However, they could have had a bit more logic in some scenes. They know that one clue is "beneath" a two-word name ... but when they find a plaque with those two words on it, they immediately smash it. When they find that person's body, they immediately cause destruction to the scene, so they can't search it. There's a sundial-type puzzle in one sequence, and they obviously need to know the time of day for the sundial. The puzzle is in three dimensions - they need to know exactly where the sundial points. However, they don't even think at all about what day of the year it should refer to - they simply assume one day is the same as any other.

They use ropes that are over 200 years old, which somehow haven't been gnawed by rats or crisped over time. And, in a scene of ultimate horror for me, they find a room full of ancient documents - and they LIGHT A MASSIVE FIRE. Not only would this have crisped the important papers, but this was in an underground chamber - the smoke and lack of oxygen would have slain them all.

I'm not trying to nit-pick here - there were trillions of little errors if we wanted to get into those. These were the huge, glaring "No Way!" moments that caused huge problems with simply following and enjoying the movie. It would have been so easy for the writers to handle these points properly - to keep it 'sweet' for the kids and 'fun' for the adults. So I find it a shame that they couldn't do that properly.

For the DVD, there were a number of special features provided. They definitely aimed this squarely at kids. There are a tiny amount of deleted scenes and alternate ending options. The main group of special features are 'learn about codes' types of exercises. They take quite a while to work your way through - not because they are hard, but because they are really tedious. You have to solve a number of symbol-matching puzzles. You have to go letter, by letter, using your remote control to find the matches. In one puzzle, even though there are multiple copies of a given symbol on the screen, you have to go back and re-select it each time. That's just silly.

But still, it is meant for kids, and the kids might enjoy doing it step ... by step ... by step ... to get all the secret codes to unlock the super-secret features. There is a tiny amount of information about the Masons, and how the purge of the Templars over 700 years ago still affects us in our fear of Friday the 13th. I would have enjoyed even more "real" information about the Great Seal on dollar bills and so on. There are many topics touched on by the movie which are just let go. Maybe the hope is that people will use the internet to keep figuring out secrets, long after they finish with the movie.

So in summary, if you have kids in the house, then National Treasure is a great, safe movie to watch together that is a fun story that has a nice moral ending. If you're an adult, I might rent it - but there are many other books out there that cover this topic area (masonic secrets, history of 1776 situation, Templars, etc.) with much more interesting detail. The reality of what went on is even more fascinating than anything Hollywood could invent!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accomplishes An Entertaining Goal, May 27, 2005
By 
Mark J. Fowler "Let's Play Two!" (Blytheville, Arkansas (The "the" is silent)) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
One of the first things taught at journalism schools is that most "news stories" are to be written at a 6th grade level of education - the editorial page is the place for more erudite discussion. National Treasure is written at a level that would make the "average" person think "hey, that's pretty clever!", keeping in mind that the "average" person might not know that Benjamin Franklin wrote anonymous letters to newspapers while a teenager under the name "Silence Dogood". (He wrote hundreds of OTHER letters under other fictitious names as well and, given the piddling state of education in the U.S. I'd guess that the "average" person doesn't know that Old Ben was also "Poor Richard" or even know what his almanac was all about.) But I digress. Some people love to trash things that they think aren't up to their level, and so "National Treasure" didn't receive stellar reviews from the professional critics. I think it's safe to say the movie wasn't made for professional critics.

It's an entertaining little adventure and anyone who claims that it has no clever parts must be very clever indeed. Much of the movie is a historical scavenger hunt that the founding fathers have laid out for the person who can decipher the clues - with the treasure of the Templar Knights at the end of the rainbow. One of the first clues is carved into the stem of a meerschaum pipe. The stem of the pipe detaches from the carved bowl, and has raised etchings. Our hero figures out that these etchings are intended to be used like an ink stamp, so he pricks his finger to use his blood as ink and rolls the pipe stem out to reveal the next clue. I thought that was pretty clever.

The hero, Benjamin Franklin Gates, is the Grandson of John Adams Gates, and the Gates have been thought of as the mad scientists of American History because every generation has handed down the story of the hidden treasure and spends decades of their life trying to find the treasure, or at least get other historians to take them seriously. The plot takes them to Washington (to steal the Declaration of Independence in a concise little caper that's at least as clever as the one in "After the Sunset", and THAT was SUPPOSED to be a "caper" movie.) Ben has an assistant named Riley who serves two purposes: to add clever little comments like "so who wants to go down the creepy tunnel first?" and to provide someone that Ben can give exposition to: such as who Silence Dogood was. Diane Kruger is the love interest - a Washington Ph.D. who works at the National Archives. She's the pretty face used to represent all the keepers of the Declaration of Independence. Sean Bean is a rival treasure hunter and the movie goes to great lengths to show that Heroic Ben is only after the treasure for it's historical significance while Bean's Ian is only out for the money. Harvey Keitel plays the FBI agent who becomes interested after the Declaration is stolen, but he's little more than a plot marker himself. A couple of times he gets to say "SOMEBODY's going to prison."

Hmmmm... Will good Ben or Evil Ian be the one going to prison? Will Ben and company find the magnificent treasure? For the answers to those questions check out National Treasure.... but is it too much of a clue if I tell you it's a Disney movie?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indiana Jones minus the gore, January 11, 2005
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This one gets my vote for the most enjoyable flick of 2004 (together
with The Indredibles). You'd think it's just for kiddies, but any adult
capable of just going to the cinema to enjoy themselves should be able
to sit back, gobble the popcorn, suck the straw, nibble on the ice-
cream and just have a couple of hours of unproblematic mania-with good
and bad guys, daring thefts, lost treasures, romance, chases, near
escapes, disasters and rescues and everything you'd expect in this kind
of Bruckheimer production.

The whole thing is paced just right, the villains are just bad enough,
and the goodies are nobles with a roguish streak. The cheesy bits are
mellowed with a dash of wry humor, and those that aren't: well, just
take them, don't cringe and, again, have fun!

I came out of this movie smiling, as did my wife and elder daughter
(that would make all of us into definite 'adults'). Since a smile was
what we all wanted that day, we got exactly what we asked for.

Till Noever
Author: KEAEN, SELADIENNA, CONTINUITY SLIP
owlglass.com
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suprising Hit in My Book, April 6, 2005
By 
Shawna C (Pennsylvania) - See all my reviews
I didn't plan to see this movie at all. Even though I usually love Jerry Bruckheimer films (Pirates of the Caribbean is one of my all-time favorites), the plot sounded too out there and far-fetched to seem enjoyable at all. However, when some friends from college suggested a movie night at the dollar theater, and this was their chosen flick, I figured, "What the heck? It's only a dollar." It was honestly the best dollar I spent at the movies in 2004.

Putting aside the fact that the plot does sound a bit weird, there isn't much to complain about (which just proves what I have always believed - professional critics know nothing about what makes a good movie). Nicholas Cage's portrayal of Benjamin Franklin Gates, history nut and treasure hunter, was outstanding (albeit his knowledge of history did border on an obsession). As his sidekick Riley, Justin Bartha had me in stitches.

The ONLY complaint I have is that it seemed fairly easy for Gates to actually get his hands on the Declaration of Independence. That point aside, it's an easy five-star movie.
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National Treasure [Blu-ray]
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