Fuck Yeah II
I'm not quite sure why I put National Treasure on the fatso list. I know I'd seen the trailer, so maybe I just did it for a laugh. Or maybe I'd seen and liked the last two films Mr. Cage appeared in, therefore thought this'd be worth it by association - who knows?
Whatever the reason, it turned up. You might expect (if you had seen the trailer or heard about it at all) it to be a jingoistic, cliched and overblown blockbuster action flick.
Instead, you'll find a cliched, jingoistic and overblown blockbuster action flick (see what I did? The words are in a slightly different order). The bonus comes in the the form of a Masonic treasure conspiracy, contrived plotlines, and the most intrusive score I've heard for a while.
There was one memorable scene where, in the middle of a whole lot of suspenseful action, the male and female leads flashed each other a quick romantic look (as so often happens). This would have been about 1.5 seconds, and the music actually changed from ACTION ACTION, to smooch smooch and back again, not at all smoothly.
I suppose a score like this does have some benefit though. If you were blind, you'd still know exactly what emotions to feel for every second of the running time, simply by following the music.
What else? Sean Bean [is that "Sheen Been", or "Shaun Bhaun"?] is absolutely masterful as the bad guy with all the cliche moves (just fucking shoot him, don't blabber on and give him time to work his way out of it!). The aforementioned blind people might have trouble with this one, as he's called Ian. It's been said elsewhere, but when the heroes are yelling, "Watch out, Ian's coming," to each other, it's hard to imagine them being too worried. [No offence to any Ians reading, no, wait, full offence, fuck you.]
Inexplicably, Christopher Plummer, Jon Voight and Harvey Keitel all have a go in this film. I can only guess that some sort of patriotic fervour had gripped them in the wake of 9/11 and so on.
I could go on and on about the plot's reliance on dumb luck and bullshit guesswork, but there's just too much in there to even get started.
To wrap it up, I absolutely loved this movie. It is a perfect example of classic film-making, the sort of thing I thought disappeared with Romancing the Stone and the Indiana Jones trilogy.
While all the above criticisms (and many more) apply, and it is chock full o' movieland cliches, it's still great. It's like something from a more innocent time, and it seems like you can't do that sort of thing these days - audiences are just too savvy and can see through the bullshit a lot more easily.
However, the brainless family action flick is still a valid category. Sure, there've been better examples than this one, but the quite phenomenal success it enjoyed at the box office (and the inevitable sequel) show that either:
- the filmgoing public are credulous idiots
- people still enjoy seeing old-fashioned entertainment, and suspending their disbelief for a while