National Treasure is a classic movie that evokes an interesting sense of nostalgia, despite the constant reminder of the unrealisticness of the film. The movie follows Benjamin Franklin Gates, played by Nicolas Cage, as he goes on a mission to steal the Declaration of Independence in order to protect it from treasure hunters. The core of the story is that Gates’ family is linked to the Founding Fathers who were Freemasons. The Freemasons had stashed away treasure that could only be located using a series of clues that begin with a map on the backside of the Declaration of Independence. The Gates family is regarded among the historical community as having no substance to their beliefs and searching for something that does not actually exist. Gates is accompanied by an assistant, Riley, who brings a humorous, youthful aspect to complement Gates’ rather serious and stern personality. Additionally, the two work with a Department of Homeland Security worker named Abigail Chase, who reluctantly joins their efforts to protect the Declaration. The movie follows the three as they face off against greedy treasure hunters in a series of riddles and puzzles in order to eventually lead to a secret fortune.
While the premise of the movie is horribly unrealistic, the film as a whole is nothing short of entertaining. From start to finish, all the characters are overwhelmed with tasks of the utmost importance such as; escaping from a gunpowder-covered shipwreck as it burned, paying a child to find letters that eventually turn into a clue, or timing a trip to the Liberty Bell at the exact right moment to discover the next step in their journey. The pace of the movie is quick and viewers must pay attention to the plot in order to keep up with the characters’ objectives.
My one complaint with this movie is the unrealisticness of the plot. Stealing the Declaration of Independence is about as far-fetched as crimes can get in movies, especially when the Declaration serves as a clue to the rest of an impossible treasure hunt. Because of this, I dropped the rating down to 4.5 rather than 5 stars. Regardless, the movie is extremely entertaining and is a solid option when looking for a pleasurable use for two hours as you watch Benjamin Franklin Gates run through history on the hunt for secret treasure.