If you like history and intrigue then you’ll love National Treasure. While I hate to compare it to Raiders of the Lost Ark, one of the greatest treasure movies of all time, it does have a bit of that flair, but is grounded in a mix of American history and lore. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turteltaub teamed up to bring this modern day treasure hunt amidst America’s most famous monuments and landmarks.
The movie stars Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage as Benjamin Franklin Gates who plays an ancestor of an early American patriot, who is in search of a 2,000 year old treasure. The legendary Knights Templar Treasure, thought to be one of the greatest treasures in human history is rumored to be hidden somewhere in the United States. Gates, the latest in six generations of Gates who have searched for the elusive treasure, continues to search with clues left behind by America’s Founding Fathers.
Gates finally has a breakthrough clue with the help of his treasure hunt financier, Ian Howe played by Sean Bean. It turns out that Ian Howe is the bad guy, and Sean Bean plays an excellent bad guy as usual. The breakthrough is that the map to the treasure was written on the back of the Declaration of Independence, the bad news is that Howe, who simultaneously learns about this with Gates, is a professional thief who will not stop until he has his hands on the map and The Declaration. Gates tries to both educate curators about the secret map and warn authorities of the potential theft, but is looked at as a crackpot. Gates is left with no other option but to protect the Declaration of Independence by stealing it before it falls into dangerous hands.
Ben Gates then sets out to steal one of America’s most sacred documents guarded by the most sophisticated security in the world. In order to pull this off, he enlists the help of his friend Riley who is a technical genius, played by Justin Bartha. Bartha is hilarious in this movie and brings levity to Gate’s dry wit. Also, along for the ride and against her will is Abigail Chase, the National Archives Director played by Diane Kruger. Eventually Chase starts to see the merits of the hunt as she sees it unfolding around her and at the same time acquires a glint in her eye for Benjamin Franklin Gates.
Without giving away the story, we can say that it’s non-stop action and cleverly positioned among some of America’s most historical places. I think the movie will also leave you a bit more patriotic and appreciative of our ingenious Founding Fathers. They were not only brilliant but they risked their lives to create the great Democratic experiment that we live and enjoy every day.