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Thread: Nicolas Cage in National Treasure.

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    In National Treasure, Nicolas Cage plays a modern-day treasure hunter who must steal the Declaration of Independence before it falls into the wrong hands, and the secret map encoded on the back of it leads his evil adversary to America's greatest treasure.This story and various versions of the script has been bouncing around Hollywood for years. It was so brazenly preposterous that I never dreamed anyone would make an actual movie out of it. Enter producer Jerry Bruckheimer, for whom brazen preposterousness is more than just a way of life, it's a higher calling. Add a dollop of Raiders of the Lost Ark and a nearly litigious dose of The Da Vinci Code, and voila: it's a kiddie-friendly action-adventure. There's a treasure map written in invisible ink on the verso of the Declaration of Independence. That's right, the one that's hanging in Washington D.C., surrounded by an entire phalanx of Homeland Security agents who would shoot a jaywalker on sight. So of course it must be stolen, by treasure hunter Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) and his wisecracking sidekick Riley (Justin Bartha), along with the initially reluctant archivist (Diane Kruger)--you know, that old chestnut. The map is thought to lead to the fabulous treasures of the Knights Templar, war spoils from the Crusades that have been handed down from the Knights to the Freemasons, several of whom were Founding Fathers, who wrote the very Declaration itself. Coincidence? I think not. We learn all of this in an opening exposition that could be one of the most monotonous ever filmed. Remember the scene where Indiana Jones draws the Ark of the Covenant on the chalkboard and eloquently outlines the whole movie in a few riveting lines? This is like that, except about 15 minutes longer and nearly devoid of a pulse. Then for the stalwart few that can make it that far, the convoluted though often entertaining chase is on.

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