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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The Story of Me

I should probably get around to telling you a little bit about myself. Unfortunately, my therapist tells me I have mentally "blocked out" the vast majority of my life. Therefore, I leave it to my official biographer, Sir Wilfred Toxolot, to tell you everything you would ever want to know about me:

Any account of the life of Bill Johnson should start at the beginning, which is the best place to start anything. One could start in the middle, but then one would have to ignore everything that happened before the middle, unless one employed several confusing flashbacks, but no one wants that. The end is no place to start either. For one thing, Bill's life hasn't ended yet, and he refuses to cooperate by providing a definite date when it will end. So let's start at the beginning.

Bill Johnson was born sometime in the early 1970's in or around the woods of Saskatchewan. Abandoned as an infant by his Gypsy parents, Johnson was raised in a log cabin by a pack of wild beavers. From these humble beginnings, he had no idea that he would be destined for greatness. This turned out to be a good thing, since such an idea would have led to bitter disappointment in his case. Still, Johnson has come a long way since his time with the beavers, though he is still known to occasionally knaw on a wooden pencil or piece of furniture.

Eventually, as happens to more people than one would think, Bill grew up. And, as many young men do, he sought the companionship of a young woman. Bill finally married his beautiful mail-order bride, Yudy, on April 19, 1999, the same day UPS delivered her. Later, the couple moved to sunny Orlando, FL, a small town famous for its prize-winning pecan pie and not much else. No other details about Johnson's life between the Beaver Years and the Orlando Period are known. This period is often referred to by scholars as the "Lost Years".

Upon arriving in Orlando, Johnson immediately sought to make a name for himself in a prestigious and lucrative career. But, after having had his application rejected by every fast-food establishment in the greater metro area, he finally was hired by a local telemarketing firm. Since then, however, his meteoric side-ways movement through that company has proven that he has the competence, intelligence, and work-ethic needed to barely avoid getting fired.

That, so far, is the story of Bill Johnson's life. But it is not the end of the story. No one knows what else lies in store for this young man. I can tell you this - biographers such as myself will have plenty more to write about him in the years to come. That is, of course, unless we have something more interesting to write about, which is very likely.


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