Sunday, December 12, 2004

Movie Review: National Treasure

This fourth installment in the Indiana Jones saga has the intrepid Dr. Jones searching for lost treasure in exotic locations with strange names such as "Philadelphia", "Washington, D.C.", and "New York". This time around, Harrison Ford is looking pretty young, and amazingly like Nicolas Cage. Seriously, it's uncanny. Not much else is different in this sequel, however.

Early into the movie Indy figures out that in order to find the latest treasure he is after, he must locate a map left by the Founding Fathers. Conveniently, Thomas Jefferson and crew had decided to put this map on the back of the Declaration of Independence. This makes perfect sense, since we all know how much the Fathers of Our Country hated to waste paper. The movie gets even more logical from this point. It turns out the reason the Founding Fathers knew the location of this treasure is because they were all Masons. Apparently, Masons have done alot more throughout history than manufacture those handy glass jars for canning peaches.

Inexplicably, government officials unreasonably refuse to hand over the Declaration to our hero. That wouldn't be so much of a problem, except that there is a rich bad guy who also knows about the map and is determined to steal the document on which it is written. Employing the infallible logic that is so often employed in this movie, Indiana decides that the only way to save the Declaration is to steal it. After all, it would be much safer in his hands than those of the federal agents who are trained to protect it.

For some reason, this reasoning is beyond the grasp of the FBI. They decide to actually chase Jones who is only trying to protect a sacred relic. The bad guys give chase as well. Hilarity ensues (not really, but I always wanted to use the phrase "hilarity ensues" and I couldn't fit it in anywhere else in this review).

Much can be learned from this movie as the story progresses. For instance, the security in and around our national monuments is alarmingly poor. Also, a 200-yr-old document like the Declaration can apparently just be rolled up and safely stored in an ordinary poster tube.

I can't talk about the best part of this movie, because it is the ending and I don't want to give away the ending. It is such a surprise, and you will never guess how this movie ends. Unless, that is, you guess that the hero finds the treasure, avoids prison, and gets the girl. Then I would say you're right on target. Though, if you guessed that, you must have seen an advance copy of the script, because I never saw that coming.

Using the new simplified rating system which I came up with myself, I give this movie a 17.75 stars out of a possible 23. I think it is obvious why I didn't give it a full 19.5 stars.

National Treasure - starring Harrison Ford, directed by George Lucas
17.75 stars out of 23

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