From Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, and Jon Turteltaub, director of PHENOMENON, comes NATIONAL TREASURE. It's the thrilling, edge-of-your-seat adventure starring Academy Award(R) winner Nicolas Cage (1995 Best Actor, LEAVING LAS VEGAS) as Benjamin Franklin Gates. Ever since he was a boy, Gates has been obsessed with finding the legendary Knights Templar Treasure, the greatest fortune known to man. As Gates tries to find and decipher ancient riddles that will lead him to it, he's dogged by a ruthless enemy (Sean Bean, THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy) who wants the riches for himself. Now in a race against time, Gates must steal one of America's most sacred and guarded documents -- the Declaration of Independence -- or let it, and a key clue to the mystery, fall into dangerous hands. Heart-pounding chases, close calls, and the FBI turn Gates's quest into a high-stakes crime caper and the most exciting treasure hunt you've ever experienced.
There's a pretty good gimmick with these DVD extras aimed squarely at the pre-teen/early teen audience that ate up this film. Each of the extras (a standard making-of featurette, an alternate ending, and an interesting deleted scene) is followed by a clue afterwards. Decipher the clues and unlock the next set of extras: a nice bit on real treasure hunters, an awful piece on the Knights Templar, and one gem for kids: "Riley Poole's Decode this!" Actor Justin Bartha reprises his role (Nic Cage's techno-sidekick) and lectures a bit on the cooler side of language history and code-breaking with a few simple interactive games. If you get through it all, you unlock a hidden feature, a trivia track. Thankfully, those who do not want to go on the treasure hunt can access these features by reading the printed insert. Also thankfully, director Jon Turteltaub's enthusiasm always makes DVD extras more watchable than most. --Doug Thomas