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National Treasure

National Treasure

Director:Jon Turteltaub
Cast:Nicolas Cage, Harvey Keitel, Jon Voight, Diane Kruger, Sean Bean, Justin Bartha
Screen Writer:Jon Turteltaub
Genre:Action, Drama, Adventure, Mystery

Opens Nov. 19.

By Bill Fanning | Posted 11/17/2004

Disney has gone out of its way to create a family-friendly adventure here, but taking a kid to this film would be like giving him a whole roll of Bubble Tape and forcing him to eat it in one sitting. Official run time is 100 minutes, but it feels twice as long, because National Treasure tries to spin almost every Hollywood action formula you can think of into one story. Phase 1: Rip off the Tomb Raider movies by establishing the treasure quest as a family legacy. Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nic Cage, on leave from his own hunt for Oscar gold) is searching for the fortune of the Knights Templar, despite admonishments from his ex-adventurer father (John Voight, reprising his role from Lara Croft: Tomb Raider). Phase 2: Do the heist-movie thing. Gates thinks a clue to the stash is printed on the back of the Declaration of Independence, but since the feds wonít give him a peek he has to jack it with the help of his techie pal (a winning Justin Bartha). Phase 3: Just follow the directions that Indiana Jones left you. Lots of hidden passages, spun-sugar cobwebs, and ciphers to be cracked Da Vinci Code style. Add love interest (hot but God-awful Diane Kruger) and enemy (Sean Bean). Director Jon Turteltaub manages to string all these conceits together without the seams showing, but it still goes too far just to wind up exactly where you know it will. Like so much Bubble Tape, itís a tasty confection, but only at first.

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