yourselves, action fans. You are about to fall victim to
one of the biggest marketing dupes to unveil this year,
and this is no exaggeration. If you’ve seen the trailer
for John Turteltaub’s National Treasure,
you might find going into the film this weekend with the
preconceived expectation that it is the sort of slick popcorn-fueled
actioneer one would come to expect from the likes of producer
him or hate him, Bruckheimer’s name is easily correlated
to the type of mindless explosive derision found in his
more recent hits, namely his work with Michael Bay. Yet
he earned a diminutive amount of reprieve for the largely
entertaining pirate film, Pirates
of the Caribbean.
qualms with the bulk of Bruckheimer’s work aside,
people seem to flock to his vehicles in droves, which would
indicate that he must be connecting with an audience out
there on some level or another. If you find yourself falling
into this category, you may be in for a little surprise
Treasure zeroes in on Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas
Cage), the descendant of a family of treasure hunters and
historians dating back to this country’s historical
birth. The Gates have long been dismissed as kooks and crackpot
conspiracy theorists, based on their beliefs that some of
the Nation’s founding fathers were members of the
Free Masons dedicated to protecting a treasure of mythical
journey entails the deciphering of centuries old clues left
to lead to the treasure, and he is driven not only to make
his namesake credible, but also to prove that the legend
he believes in is not mere conspiracy. His adventure is
so unbelievable that the chosen form of exposition falls
under the “just accept it, ok?” category. Suspending
disbelief is a pre-requisite here.
screening the trailer for the film, the connection in theme
to Dan Brown’s bestselling novel The DaVinci Code
seemed undeniable. In fact, the entire premise felt like
a grab at the chance to usurp the style used in Brown’s
novel before a screen adaptation of the book could be put
ways it is, and in others it isn’t. It does intend
to play off motifs of discovery the way Brown’s novel
does, but it lacks the research and the meticulous attention
paid to questionable symbols present in historical imagery
and artifacts. Everything discovered is entirely fictional,
and that which isn’t fiction is stretched interpretation
This is, of course,
where the wool has been pulled over audiences’ unsuspecting
eyes, because the film wasn’t designed to be a smart,
thrill inducing, adventure meant to shock adults with its
implications, it was intended to make the kids go “ooh”
and “ahh!” from the get-go.
that very reason, the film opens with the familiar Walt
Disney corporate logo flying unexpectedly solo. That’s
right, there is no Touchstone pictures connection here,
because National Treasure is intended to grab at
a much younger market than anyone could have guessed.
come to outlandish conclusions based on shaky premises,
and then explain them with such fervor that many won’t
even question the logic here, and it seems that Bruckheimer
has managed to find a way to explode something in the most
unlikely conditions: The Arctic Circle. Yup, we’re
talking full flame and billowing smoke detonation here,
the kind where the heroes somehow survived despite the amount
of destruction erupting around them.
question it, just be thankful Nicolas Cage survived.
big problem is that the marketing gaffe may prove more costly
that first expected. Sure, you may pull in audiences opening
weekend, but they will most likely be disappointed with
the lightweight manner in which the action is served up
in National Treasure.
lies the quandary, because if Disney decided to go the route
of marketing towards the kids, then they would risk the
behemoth that will be The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
Make no mistake, Disney might be better off duping their
audiences and cutting their losses.
As kids fare
goes, there is nothing really shocking here and they will
likely enjoy the film as it entertains if you let go enough
to let it.
typical Disney rules apply, making National Treasure
feel like a bigger budget “Wonderful World of Disney”
television excursion (or at best, In Search of the Castaways
-- and Diane Kruger is no Hayley Mills). The good guys
win without suffering much loss, the bad guys lose. We see
frozen skeletons, and one character dies although we don’t
see what happens to them and they weren’t really developed
well enough to care anyway.