November 21st, 2004


Patriotic High-Fructose Corn Syrup

I'm fairly sure that I owe you lovely people a review of National Treasure.

Brief review: Reliable sausage from the Bruckheimer grinder, now with Freemasons. C- (B- if the "one letter grade extra credit for Templars" rule is in effect; check local listings)

Slightly longer review: I enjoyed myself hugely; I had gone in vastly low-balling it, which is always a good way to see a bad movie. But unlike the startlingly uneven mess that was Bruckheimer's King Arthur, the "Ben Franklin Code" was actually mostly non-terrible, always excepting the script. Of course, it does make an idiot plot slightly more believable if your protagonist is clearly an idiot (in this case, an idiot savant, one assumes); in another interesting mea culpa, one character actually notes that "people don't actually talk that way" when Cage spouts a particularly cloth-eared piece of scriptorial drivel. Given the material he had to work with, Nicolas Cage pitched in gamely, although he could have used a little more of the old-school Nic Cage crazitude.

The Zany Freemason Conspiracy To Hide The Templar Treasure was vastly better than it might have been, depending on only one or two palpable untruths and containing at least 45% actual history (by weight, not volume); the dueling caper-flick to steal the Declaration of Independence before Sean Bean could was stupid, but engagingly so, and kept relatively short and sweet. And it's always good to see the Hated British get their comeuppance -- Sean Bean was even named "Ian," just to underline it for you. (N.B.: If you, dear viewer, are planning any sort of operation, be it a quest to destroy a Ring of Power, the theft of a silvery briefcase, a 00 spy network, a quixotic treasure hunt, or whatever, just don't hire Sean Bean. It won't end well for you. Some day, they should make a movie that only has Sean Bean and Gene Hackman in it, and we could watch them betray each other recursively for 110 minutes.) Diane Kruger, as an archivist only slightly more convincing than Denise Richards' nuclear physicist, grows on one the longer she stays on screen.


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