(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from National Treasure)
Doug (vo): I’m noticing that Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney have this talent of taking ideas that sound completely ridiculous and half-baked and somehow make them surprisingly entertaining. First we have Pirates of the Caribbean, now we have National Treasure. The story? [Chuckles] Get a load of this.
Doug (vo): Apparently, our founding fathers weren’t just trying to make this nation a free nation, but they were also hiding this ancient treasure. That’s right. A giant treasure that they believed shouldn’t belong to any one man. So they left clues in all their giant landmarks, and, of course, only one crazy treasure hunter can actually locate it. He’s played, fittingly enough, by Nicolas Cage, who tries to tell everybody that there’s a treasure map on the back of the Declaration of Independence, and, big shock, they don’t believe him. But he’s being chased by a villain, played by Sean Bean, who, surprisingly, doesn’t die in this movie...God, I think that’s a first...who’s trying to collect the treasure for himself while Cage is just doing it to restore his family name. Along the way, there’s car chases, shootouts, a romance, a comedic side character, all that good stuff.
Doug (vo): So I’m not gonna lie, I was really ready to hate this film, especially from watching the opening. I was laughing out loud at how absolutely absurd this all sounded. But, as the movie went on, you kind of realized it’s meant to be absurd, but not to that obnoxious point where it’s always winking to the camera. It still takes it really seriously and that’s where a lot of the comedy comes from. It actually reminded me a lot of the new show Sleepy Hollow. Yeah, that idiotic setup where the Headless Horseman has a machine gun. But you find yourself actually enjoying it because they do take their stupidity so seriously.
[The film's main character, Ben Gates, is shown]
Doug (vo): And at the center of it is Nicolas Cage, and he is the reason this film works. I think with any other actor, this film would have died. Nobody could find that exact balance of kind of kooky but kind of serious at the same time as him. The way he talks about these ridiculous ideas, he knows it sounds insane, but he’s not really rolling his eyes. He’s sort of just stating the facts and saying, "Will you help me or not?" But he’s not a stick in the mud either. He’s still a little kooky. That’s very tough to pull off and still have people want to follow you, but he does a really good job. I also like the fact that they really do spend time in trying to figure out how to find the treasure. They sit down, they talk, they discuss ideas, they talk about codes. You actually do find yourself getting really wound up in it.
[The film's action and adventurous scenes are shown]
Doug (vo): If anything, the most boring parts are the action scenes. They’re just sort of standard and you’ve seen them a million times, but it’s like the movie knows they’re kind of standard, so it doesn’t spend that much time with it. The main focus is on the mysteries and the puzzles and trying to find the treasure, and it’s strangely really fun and you get into it. I’d say that if you tell yourself there’s no way you’re gonna like this idea, then it’s gonna be exactly that, an idea you’re not gonna like. But, kind of like with the Herbie movies, if you had even the slightest interest or the slightest wiggle room, my guess is this movie might win you over. And I also like the fact that you really forget it’s a Disney film, the way they talk, the way they act, you don’t associate it with that typical kind of Disney way. It just feels like a straight-up action flick that’s enjoyable and kind of goofy, but not in a Disney way, in its own sort of unique way. Even the climax is not this big overblown climax, it’s actually a very reasonable smart ending.
Doug (vo): So, yeah, I surprisingly recommend it. If you have a good sense of humor or just looking for a bit of fun and not to take anything too seriously but not have your intelligence insulted either, then this is a good rent. It’s got just the right amount of fun, the right amount of goofiness and the right amount of action. Go ahead and discover it for yourself.
[A scene showing the main characters discover the treasure is shown]