God of Thunder and Rock'n'Roll (archmage) wrote,
God of Thunder and Rock'n'Roll

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Movie Reviews - "National Treasure"

OK, so polarbear and I went and caught the new Nick Cage action/adventure flick National Treasure. Mixed emotions about it...

OK, let's talk downside first.
-- Right off the bat, this film came off like a made-for-cable-TV movie, like something you'd see advertised as a 'USA Original Movie'. Forced one-liners ran rampant through the film, not even necessarily good ones.
-- The characters were pretty much one-dimensional, occasionally changing motivations at the drop of a hat, with very little build-up, change of expression, or mannerism.
-- Basic facts of biological, chemical, and physical science were not only glossed over but completely ignored.
-- Security measures of the highest order were circumvented with almost no effort.
-- Oh, and a 200-year-old document, preserved against wear and tear all these years, withstood all kinds of mishaps without the slightest blemish.
On the whole, a completely unbelievable set of situations. We spent half the film grunting or giggling at things that should have either been obvious or impossible, and were invariably the opposite. We were one step ahead of the film in all aspects but the obscure historical references (more on those later). Every time I think Hollywood has hit the bottom of the barrel, they manage to kick out the floor and find ANOTHER false bottom...and down they go.

Now, on the upside.
-- Jon Voight rocks...man, I wish his daughter would take some lessons from him. He was constrained in a supporting role here, and it was not his best performance (for that, I recommend "Runaway Train" as one of his shining moments), but it was good nonetheless.
-- Harvey Keitel was interesting in a small role as an FBI agent.
-- Christopher Plummer's cameo in the beginning, well, I just happen to think a lot of him. Weird to see him so old, though; he looked like Max Von Sydow.
The storyline was sort of a give-and-take situation. If you are already a conspiracy nut, passingly familiar with Freemasonry, the Knights Templar, and their associated connections, then you might get a kick out of this. If not, some of the history that is spouted off in the beginning may lose you a little (but not much). Regardless, it is a cool idea: an ancient treasure, fought over since the beginning of civilization, finally captured and hidden by Crusader knights, who became the Templars (and later the Freemasons), and the clues to it's location seemingly lost...add one family, who knows of the secret, determined to find it, the task passed from generation to generation. It sets up a film full of action, clues, and discovery; basically, a gamer's heaven. Funny that I was wearing my "Gaming is Life, the rest is just Dice Rolls" shirt, because I felt the DM in me going "ooh, neat idea!" If you can look past the stupidities in it, it's a good adventure flick, and one surprisingly (and refreshingly) free of blood-shed, injury, nudity, and language. Pure adventure. Indiana Jones would have loved this.

So, there ya go. As a story, damn good, fun, intriguing. As a movie, downright goofy in places where it shouldn't have been. I might own it, eventually, if only for the 'game' aspect of it all.

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