Nicolas Cage is one of Hollywood’s most iconic actors, with his filmography including classics such as Face/Off, Con Air, Gone in 60 Seconds, and more recent movies like The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. However, we can’t forget a certain feature from 2004...
National Treasure may not be on everyone’s top five list of Nic Cage films, but it probably should be. It’s a downright wacky adventure with a bit of American history added in, which sounds a little dull perhaps, but it’s anything but.
The feature follows Ben Gates (Cage), full name Benjamin Franklin Gates, a treasure hunter who, since he was a child, has had his eye on a lost treasure that could change the course of the future.
As he grows older, Ben gets the incredible opportunity to find The Charlotte, a long-lost ship that he’s sure lies in the middle of a frozen tundra, which contains either the treasure he’s been searching for, or yet another clue.
After a stretch of clues, Ben and his team, which includes Ian Howe (Sean Bean) and Riley Poole (Justin Bartha), discover that the ship is simply going to point them in yet another direction. While Ian is disappointed, Ben only sees more adventure to be had.
Ian, tired of Ben’s wild goose chase, threatens to kill him and Riley if Ben doesn’t give up the information he needs. After Ben and Riley escape, the two embark on their own adventure to prevent Ian from finding the treasure first.
However, much to Riley’s dismay, Ben realises that Ian will attempt to steal the Declaration of Independence in order to find the treasure, as there is an undiscovered map on the back.
Ben sees that the only way to stop Ian from taking the Declaration, is for him and Riley to steal it first, paving way for the iconic line “I’m gonna steal the Declaration of Independence", spoken by Cage.
So, now Ben and Riley, joined by a surprise tag-along, must steal one of history’s most significant documents in order to save it, as well as the treasure it will lead to.
National Treasure is a fun and rather exciting movie, as Cage leads the way to the past in order to save the future.
Cage was definitely the right choice to play Ben, as the character is somewhat egotistical, but not in a horrible way; he simply knows he’s the smartest guy in the room, which creates some hilarious exchanges between him and Riley.
A lot of the comedic aspect comes from Ben’s sense of authority almost, and his dry humour when it comes to knowing all the answers. Plus, he and Riley have a great rapport that sees little exchanges and lines that definitely cause a laugh or two.
It is also somewhat hilarious to see Ben always know the answer, and watch him take the lead on everything as he answers without thinking or letting anyone else take a shot.
It may come across as slightly obnoxious, but it’s still funny to watch Riley roll his eyes at Ben in almost every scene, and Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), who works at the museum where the Declaration was stolen (and who has joined the duo on their mission), smirk at his comments.
As well as Cage and Bartha’s brilliant relationship within the movie, the narrative is what really lets them shine.
The plot is somewhat complex, but has a clear path and some surprises along the way. Each clue that Ben and his friends find might be the last, but it seems to be going on forever, causing Riley, who has been with Ben for years, to become slightly disheartened.
Despite each clue leading somewhere, it also seems like the team come to multiple dead ends. That is, until Ben sees something no one else does.
While each clue reveals itself, Ben gives a little bit of history on them, which is genuinely interesting. These scenes become humorous more often than not, when Riley chimes in with something Ben already knows.
As well as missing treasure, multiple clues, and a threesome all invested in the same goal, Ben must find a way to beat Ian to the punch, as he is following the trio closely.
National Treasure combines a bit of history, a great cast lead by Cage, and a ticking timebomb scenario that amps up the thrills; it’s a must-see, for sure.
It is also perfectly paced, as within perhaps 45 minutes into the two-hour film the chase is already on. We know the base of the plot rather quickly, letting the action and suspense take the lead.
Everything is explained to the audience in the form of Ben explaining to Abigail and Riley the importance of each clue and what it is, which is actually very interesting, and serves to move the plot further along.
National Treasure is worth a watch for Cage alone, but the easy-to-understand yet somewhat complex plot, the supporting cast, bits of history added in, as well as danger and a rush to the finish makes this a comedic, action-packed feature that should definitely be on your watch list; it’s a definite guilty pleasure.
Watch the trailer for National Treasure below:
Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal