National Treasure is a 2004 American adventure heist film produced and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It was written by Jim Kouf and the Wibberleys, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Jon Turteltaub. It is the first film in the National Treasure franchise and stars Nicolas Cage, Harvey Keitel, Jon Voight, Diane Kruger, Sean Bean, Justin Bartha and Christopher Plummer.

Cage plays Benjamin Franklin Gates, a historian and amateur cryptologist searching for a lost treasure of precious metals, jewelry, artwork and other artifacts that was accumulated into a single massive stockpile by looters and warriors over many millennia starting in Ancient Egypt, later rediscovered by warriors who form themselves into the Knights Templar to protect the treasure, eventually hidden by American Freemasons during the American Revolutionary War. A coded map on the back of the Declaration of Independence points to the location of the "national treasure", but Gates is not alone in his quest. Whoever can steal the Declaration and decode it first will find the greatest treasure in history.

A sequel, titled National Treasure: Book of Secrets, was released in December 2007.

Plot

Benjamin Franklin Gates is an American historian, cryptologist, and treasure hunter. As a child, his grandfather John told him of a story that Charles Carroll of Carrollton passed on a secret to their ancestor in 1832 of a fabled national treasure hidden in America by the Founding Fathers and Freemasons. The clue leading to the treasure is the phrase “The secret lies with Charlotte”. While Ben is convinced by the story, his sceptical father Patrick dismisses it as nonsense.

Thirty years later, Ben leads an expedition with Ian Howe, and his friend, Riley Poole, a computer expert, to find the Charlotte, a ship lost in the Arctic, which holds the first clue to finding the national treasure. They find a meerschaum pipe, which has a clue implying the next is on the Declaration of Independence. When Ian suggests they steal it, Ben opposes, causing a fight to ensue resulting in a massive fire fueled by gunpowder, and the group split in two. Ian and his men escape the ship while Ben and Riley take cover just before the ship explodes.

Ben and Riley return to Washington D.C. and report the potential theft of the Declaration to the FBI and Dr. Abigail Chase of the National Archives, but Abigail dismisses their claim. Ben decides to steal the document himself from the Archives’ preservation room during a gala event. Obtaining Abigail’s fingerprints, Ben successfully obtains the Declaration but is spotted by Ian’s group just as they break in to steal it. Ben tries to leave via the gift shop but has to buy the Declaration when the clerk mistakes it for a souvenir copy. Abigail, suspecting something is astray, pursues Ben and takes back the document. Ian kidnaps her, but Ben and Riley rescue Abigail, tricking Ian by leaving behind a purchased copy of the Declaration. FBI Agent Sadusky begins tracking Ben down.

Going to Patrick’s house, the trio study the Declaration and discover a Ottendorf cipher written in invisible ink. The message refers to the Silence Dogood letters written by Benjamin Franklin. Patrick formerly owned them but donated them to the Franklin Institute. Using a school boy to acquire the letters’ key words, Ben, Riley, and Abigail discover a message pointing to the bell tower of Independence Hall. They find a hidden cache containing a pair of glasses with multiple coloured lenses, which, when used to read the back of the Declaration reveal a clue pointing to the Trinity Church.

The group are chased by Ian’s associates. Ben is arrested by the FBI, while Abigail and Riley lose the Declaration to Ian. However, Abigail convinces Ian to help them rescue Ben in exchange for the next clue. Ian agrees, arranging a meeting at the USS Intrepid where they help Ben evade the FBI.

Ian returns the Declaration and asks for the next clue, but when Ben remains coy, Ian reveals he has kidnapped Patrick as a hostage. They travel to the Trinity Church where they find an underground passage but it appears to lead to a dead end lit by a lone lantern. Patrick claims it is referencing to the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, pointing Ian to the Old North Church in Boston. Ian leaves the Gates trapped in the chamber, heading for Boston. Patrick reveals the clue was a fake. They find a notch which the meerschaum pipe fits into, opening a large chamber containing the treasure. Ben contacts Sadusky, actually a Freemason, surrendering the Declaration and the treasure’s location in exchange for clemency. Ian is later arrested when Ben tips the FBI off.

Later, Ben and Abigail have started a relationship, while Riley is somewhat upset that Ben turned down the 10% finder's fee for the treasure and accepting a much smaller amount that still has netted them all significant wealth.

Cast

Additionally, David Dayan Fisher appears as Shaw, Stewart Finlay-McLennan as Powell, Oleg Taktarov as Victor Shippen, and Stephen Pope as Phil McGregor (all four being Ian's henchmen); Annie Parisse, Mark Pellegrino, Armando Riesco, and Erik King play agents Johnson, Dawes, Hendricks, and Colfax, respectively. Jason Earles portrays Thomas Gates.

Production

Development

Early 1999, it was revealed that Jon Turteltaub was developing National Treasure based upon an idea developed by Oren Aviv and Charles Segars two years earlier, with the script penned by Jim Kouf.[3] By 2001, the project was relocated to Touchstone Pictures.[4]

In May 2003, Nicolas Cage was cast as lead in the film.[5] New drafts were written by nine scribers, including Cormac and Marianne Wibberley,[5] E. Max Frye and Jon Turteltaub.[6] By October, Sean Bean was cast.[2]

Filming locations

File:NationalTreasureFilmSet.jpg

Film set for the underground chambers beneath Trinity Church

National Treasure was filmed primarily in Washington, New York, Philadelphia and Utah. Most scenes were filmed on location, with the exceptions of the Independence Hall scene, which was filmed at the replica of Independence Hall at Knott's Berry Farm, and the Arctic scene, which was filmed in Utah.[7]

Reception

Critical reception

National Treasure received mixed reviews from critics, some of whom lauded it as a fun, straightforward family adventure, while others ridiculed its numerous implausibilities and unbelievable plot twists. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 44%, based on 169 reviews, with an average rating of 5.3/10. The site's consensus reads, "National Treasure is no treasure, but it's a fun ride for those who can forgive its highly improbable plot."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 39 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[9]

Roger Ebert gave the film 2/4 stars, calling it "so silly that the Monty Python version could use the same screenplay, line for line."[10] Academic David Bordwell has expressed a liking for the film, placing it in the tradition of 1950s Disney children's adventure movies,[11] and using it as the basis for an essay on scene transitions in classical Hollywood cinema.[12]

Box office

National Treasure grossed $173 million in the United States and Canada, and $185.5 million in other territories, for a total of $358.5 million against a $100 million budget.

In its opening weekend the film grossed $35.1 million, finishing in 1st place at the box office, beating out fellow newcomer The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie ($32 million).[13]

In Japan National Treasure beat out the double-billing MegaMan NT Warrior: Program of Light and Dark and Duel Masters. : Curse of the Deathphoenix by grossing $11,666,763 in its first week. It remained number one for three weeks.

Home video releases

Collector's Edition DVD

A special collector's edition, two-disc DVD set of the movie was released on December 18, 2007.

Blu-ray Disc

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released Blu-ray Disc versions of National Treasure and its sequel, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, on May 20, 2008.[14]

Soundtrack

Template:Album reviews Script error: No such module "Track listing".

Trivia

  • In the scene at National Archives gift shop, the cashier was asking $35 plus tax for the copy of Declaration of Independence, in fact, Federal museums like National Archives do not collect sales tax.

Sequels

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Script error: No such module "main". Although the DVD commentary stated that there were no plans for a sequel, the film's box office gross of an unexpected $347.5 million worldwide warranted a second film, which was given the green light in 2005. National Treasure: Book of Secrets, on the DVD as National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, was released on December 21, 2007.

National Treasure 3

Director Jon Turteltaub said that the filmmaking team will take its time on another National Treasure sequel,[15] but Disney has already registered the domains for NationalTreasure3.com and NationalTreasure4.com.[16] Though the second film ended with the question about page 47 of the President's book of secrets, the new movie may or may not be a sequel about the "Page 47". Turteltaub responded in a press interview that the idea was not set in stone as the basis for National Treasure 3.[17]

See also

Script error: No such module "Side box".

References

  1. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1"..
  2. 2.0 2.1 Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  3. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  4. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  5. 5.0 5.1 Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  6. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  7. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  8. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  9. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  10. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  11. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  12. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  13. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  14. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  15. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  16. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  17. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".

Script error: No such module "Check for unknown parameters".

External links

Script error: No such module "Side box".

Template:National Treasure films Template:Jon Turteltaub Template:Jerry Bruckheimer

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.