Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Guilty Pleasures: National Treasure/National Treasure: Book of Secrets

I feel guilty even typing these words, but one of my newest guilty pleasures are the two movies, National Treasure, and National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets starring Nicolas Cage. Remember when Nic Cage won the Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas? Before he decided to spend all his money on expensive real estate and comic books? Before he married a waitress half his age and named his son after Superman? Or before that when he married Lisa Marie Presley because he has an Elvis fixation? Whatever happened to that Nic Cage?

That's a topic for another blog post. I remember when I went to see the first National Treasure movie with a good friend of mine. It was so over the top cheesy that I couldn't believe it. And we paid full price to see it. But it had Sean Bean in, and I'll pretty much watch him read the phone book. Now whenever, I see the movies on either TNT or whatever other channel they are on, I can't help myself. I will stop and watch them. I even took the second one out of the library because I was feeling down and needed to cheer myself up.

In each movie, Nic Cage has to discover something that usually has to do with an ancestor of his. In the first film archaeologist Ben Gates searches for a chest of riches rumored to have been stashed away by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin during the Revolutionary War. The chest's whereabouts may lie in secret clues embedded in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and Gates is in a race to find the gold before his enemies do. In the second film, he has to clear one of his ancestor's names, who has been accused of being one of the conspirators to kill Lincoln. Also, he has to find the lost treasure of Eldorado which is conventiently located under Mount Rushmore.

I'm not sure what it is about these movies that I love so much. The fact that they make absolutely no sense when you sit down and think about them? The fact that in the first film, he has to steal the Declaration of Independence and gets way with it? Or that when he finally finds the treasure, it looks like the kind of tchotchkes that were in my grandmother's china cabinet? You know those 'antiques' that look like they come from the Franklin Mint? In the second film, he kidnaps the President of the United States, who looks like he's having a good time, and then Ben steals The Book of Secrets from the Library of Congress, not to mention that he manages to wander around both Buckingham Palace and the White House without getting caught.

In the first film, you have 2 Oscar winners, Nic Cage and Jon Voight. In the 2nd, you have Cage, Voight, Helen Mirren (as Nic Cage's mother no less), and Ed Harris (Academy Award nominee). Oh and Harvey Keitel, who plays the FBI agent on Ben's tail. Everyone looks like they are actually enjoying themselves in the films, and not just collecting a paycheck. And whoever the writers are, they do have a certain amount of knowledge about American history. It's nice to see a film about treasure hunting that involves the US and not Europe or the Middle East.

I love Diane Kruger's Abigail, who reluctantly ends up getting involved in Ben's plans. She's actually charming and funny in both of films. Both of these films have clearly be influenced by Dan Brown. Seriously they should give Dan Brown points on the film, because I have no doubt that these films wouldn't have been made if it hadn't been for The Da Vinci Code. I'm dying to know if they are going to do a 3rd film, and if they do, you just know that I will be there to see it.

Good cheesy fun, and who doesn't like cheese?

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