Tuesday, January 25, 2005

National Treasure review

Finally made time to watch the show. Many films and books have been written about the conspiracy of the Knights Templar and their connection with the Freemason Society as well as their legacy to their association with top members of society, especially those of the American founding fathers and head of states. It is even evident that Freemason imagery is seen so vividly with the ‘All Seeing Eye’ over the unfinished pyramid in their Dollar bill as well as monuments such as Cleopatra’s Needle facing the Washington Monument. The Da Vinci Code tells of their involvement in safeguarding and propagating the lineage of Jesus Christ as was written in the past in books such as Holy Grail Holy Blood and seen in games such as Jane Jansen’s Gabriel Knight 3. Truth or myth, it has never been proven.

National Treasure continues this theme by entwining this mythology with history; that of a hidden treasure fought over through time and handed down by the Freemasons to the Americans during the Civil War. Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) is in a long line of treasure hunters, looking out for this legendary treasure that has been entrusted to their family ever since the early days of the War of Independence. His grandfather imparted the story and though his father was disillusioned about it and belief the treasure is a myth, Ben set forth single minded to find out the truth and redeem his family name.

Tracing clue after clue, he moves ever closer to the final goal facing down obstacles and danger all through his journey. He soon finds himself in competition with Ian Howe (Sean Bean) whom he had a past affiliation as partners until a disagreement in stealing the Declaration of Independence (which a map to the treasure was inscribed) lead to their fallout and later as competitors, Ben wanting to preserve the treasure and Ian wanting to get it for himself by whatever means. Along the way he is accompanied by his faithful sidekick and later crossing path with Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), a restoration expert that unwittingly finds herself along for the ride.

The premise and theory of the treasure’s existence may be a little hard to swallow but in real life much debate has been focus on the actual ties of the Templar, Freemasons and Americans as well as a well kept secret. You might be caught up in the conspiracy within the conspiracy but the puzzles and clues brought forth in the movie are great. The film is filled with action and tense moments throughout with a pace that will leave you guessing what will happen next. Nicholas Cage is in his best form and well suited for the role as the gung-ho treasure seeker (we shall see if Tom Hanks can pull out such a good performance as Robert Langdon for the Da Vinci Code). The cinematography is good (what do you expect from Jerry Bruckheimer with his trademark suspense and action style from CSI) and will leave you awestruck with the varied location featured. Overall it is a good movie, won’t win an Oscar but will keep you entertained and leaving with the satisfaction of your money well spent. If given a comparison, it's definitely better than Tomb Raider and almost on par with classics such as Indiana Jones.

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