Sunday, December 05, 2004

National Treasure (IMDB) (Netflix)
A nephew pick, and a secular rip-off of the Da Vinci Code (am I telegraphing my judgment here?) Nicholas Cage is the youngest in a line of eccentric believers in a Free Masons + American Revolution = Buried Treasure story. To find it, he needs a trusty sidekick, a newfound nemesis (the only partially phonetic Sean Bean) and the best-looking archivist (Diane Kruger, straight from her Helen of Troy role) since they began wearing skirts.

Using the "one for show, one for dough" approach used by actors suffering both pretensions and a serious mortgage (and perfected by Michael Caine), Cage is clearly going for the money on this one. It's so formulaic that you can almost see the template on the screen ("initial sequence where the hero is humiliated — check ... girl initially hates him — check ... sympathetic detective—check" and grinds through the plot points with verveless precision. The nephew liked it, though so there’s a market for this movie—boys 10-13.