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National Treasure

A Wild Treasure Hunt Using National Symbols for Clues

I've always known something was up with the Masons. I mean have you ever looked at a dollar bill; I mean really looked at it? Have you ever noticed how many buildings there are with the words "Masonic Temple" written on them? And why were so many of our Founding Fathers Masons (and it's not because they liked building things)? Well, conspiracy theorists and Freemason-enthusiasts can finally rejoice with the release of National Treasure.

All your little theories turned out to be true. At least, according to the world of Disney and two screenwriters named Jim Kouf and Cormac Wibberley they did. Nicolas Cage plays Benjamin Franklin Gates, the heir to a long line of 'treasure protectors' (his ancestors were entrusted by the successors of the Knights of Templar (Masons), many of whom became part of the fabric of our own country, to protect a vast and secret treasure supposedly hidden for centuries from the possession of any one ruler or government) who has spent a large part of his life chasing down clues trying solve the mystery of this mysterious treasure. Together with his nerdy side-kick Riley (Justin Bartha who delivers the majority of the comedic lines in this movie), and an archivist, Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger, Troy), who he ropes into his scheme, they are on the make to get to the treasure (if it even exists) before said 'bad-guy' (Sean Bean, Boromir from the LOTR Triad) can; on a side note, why is it that all bad-guys have accents?

Cage delivers per usual. Bean is a satisfying crook. Harvey Keitel, who makes as appearance as an FBI agent, is good. But the actor who steals the show is Jon Voigt as Gate's cynical pop. The acting only compliments the story; this is one damn interesting movie, mainly due to the fact that many of the 'clues' being followed are things we have all seen or heard of in one form or the other. For example, what's up with that pyramid with the shining eye on the back of the dollar bill? This and other everyday clues make the more far-fetched ones -- there being an invisible code on the back of the Declaration of Independence -- more believable.

Let's be honest. Going strictly by the trailer, this movie looked bad. It reeked of misguided patriotism, trite lines and over-the-top action sequences. That being said -- in actuality, it is an entertaining, engaging and thoroughly enjoyable flick. If you're going to spend ten bucks to see a movie after a long week's worth of work -- National Treasure would be a sure bet.

Stars: 4 out of 5