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With: Nicolas Cage, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Diane Kruger, Sean Bean, Justin Bartha, Christopher Plummer
Written by: Jim Kouf, Cormac Wibberly, Marianne Wibberly
Directed by: Jon Turtletaub
MPAA Rating: PG for action violence and some scary images
Running Time: 131
Date: 11/08/2004

National Treasure (2004)

2 Stars (out of 4)

History Mystery

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jerry Bruckheimer is the equivalent of one of those pulpwriters from the 1940s and '50s. He makes the same garbage over and over again,but packages it with enticing posters and trailers. Time and again, movie fanswill go, hoping that maybe this time the movie will deliver on its promises.Mostly they don't and National Treasuredoesn't either. Nicolas Cage stars as treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates,whose family has for generations searched for a boundless treasure stolenduring the crusades and hidden by the founding fathers. Gates makes someheadway by discovering the secret of his only clue, a ship buried in the arcticice. That leads him to a map printed in invisible ink on the back of theDeclaration of Independence, which leads to more clues. Sean Bean co-stars asGates' former partner who betrays him and subsequently races against him forthe treasure. Diane Kruger (Troy)and Justin Bartha (Gigli) areGates' sidekicks; their bland presence doesn't do much except keep Gates fromtalking to himself. The film's trio of credited writers fails to generateanything in the way of character, and they create the largest and most unwieldyplot holes in a long time. Still, the film has an undeniable spirit that keepsit just a notch above the year's very worst. Jon Turtletaub (WhileYou Were Sleeping) directs, and Jon Voight,Harvey Keitel and Christopher Plummer appear in insubstantial roles.

DVD Details: Disney's new DVD comes with an alternate ending (with optional director commentary), deleted scenes (also with optional director commentary), a making-of featurette, several other featurettes and an opening scene animatic with optional director's commentary. The film is mastered in 2.35:1 widescreen with 5.1 sound, plus an optional French language track and optional French and Spanish subtitles.

The disc also features several puzzles. If you select the image at the top of the main menu, you get a code entry page. You can go through the extras to find the code, or you can cheat and get it from the booklet. This brings you to a second set of featurettes. Watch "Riley's Decode This!", solve all the puzzles at the end, and you'll get a second, four-digit code. Highlight the Easter Egg on that menu and punch in the four-digit code. That takes you to a final screen, the option to watch the film with a "trivia track," as well as a three-digit "master code." This master code allows you to watch all the extras without having to go through the whole rigmarole again.

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