Saturday, November 20, 2004

FINDING A "NATIONAL TREASURE:" So is the new Bruckheimer/Cage vehicle "National Treasure" a good movie? No, not really. It's utterly formulaic. We have the intrepid hero (Cage), his doubting father (Jon Voight), the plucky sidekick ("Gigli" refugee Justin Bartha), the love interest/plucky female with critical skills/information (Diane Kruger), the competing treasure hunter (Sean Bean), and the misguided, yet ultimately well-meaning, FBI agent chasing them all (Harvey Keitel). The premise has been beaten to death in promos, so I won't recount here, but it is what it is, and, for what it is, it's entertaining, and Kruger, as a plucky National Archives historian, gets a part that may do for her what Sandra Bullock's part in "Speed" did for her.

I'm sure Adam and Kingsley will have high fun with this one, though, given that there's a lengthy chase sequence through the streets and rooftops of Philadelphia which is assuredly riddled with both geographical inaccuracies and "Hey, it's that place!" moments. Heck, even I wondered how Kruger and Bartha managed to get from Independence Hall to the 9th Street Italian Market in mere seconds on foot.

For those looking for a more intellectual variant on this (and similar works/crazes like "The Da Vinci Code"), check out The Eight, which weaves together the French Revolution, the late 70s oil crisis, and a mystical chess set into a coherent story with one "Holy crap!" reveal 2/3 of the way through the book.

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