National Treasure

I never really thought much of this movie from the moment I saw the opening ten minutes that the Studio posted on the Internet, the conclusions of the main character to work through the puzzles were completely wild and speculative, grasping at straws the audience had even conceived, and it just made the writing seem extremely dumb.

When I saw the whole movie I wasn’t far wrong, the person I watched it with actually fell asleep during the movie. So why the score you might ask, well that’s down to the DVD itself. It’s a superbly interactive DVD that can keep you amused for sometime, encouraging you to work through all the additional materials to figure out the clues contained within.

As for the movie…well…


Movie

The opening speaks for itself. Once past the short sequence to set the scene for who the main character is and what they are searching for, you’re propelled into the middle of the frozen wastes where the team finds a ship buried over two hundred years ago in snow and ice within inches of the surface of the current snowfall. Plus, the identification clue happens to be on the very part of the boat that is sticking so close to the surface, just where the character digs. Already you know this is going to be one dumb movie.

It goes on with the ease in which the character deciphers clues and his ludicrous recitement of how they are worked out. Just like reciting a script rather than fathoming out a problem, he speeds through it and the audience is left wondering what just happened and how.

Every solved problem from here is over explained and the audience hand held through the finding. The series of events is so over explained that there’s no real feeling of involvement in the discoveries, apart from the attempt to reveal the map on the back of the declaration. This leaves the audience just to watch the events pass by them one by one.

What this then means is that there’s no big surprise when we come to the revealing of the treasure room, or the twist just prior. There’s no sense of urgency and discovery, this is nothing like an Indy treasure hunt, this is like following a satellite photo treasure map using GPS trackers. You just head there via various points and there you go.

There’s a big action sequence in the middle of the film, and this is (as is always the case in Hollywood nowadays) comprised of close-ups and fast cuts, making it hard to follow.

Overall the movie is thoroughly disappointing, and the reworked ending very poor.

Picture

Presented: 2.35:1 Anamorphic

The picture is good throughout, and copes well with some very realistic lighting conditions, particularly with torches as the source light.

Audio

Presented: Dolby Digital 5.1

The audio is really good on this movie. It’s big with some good LFE mix. A good use of the directional sound offered with 5.1, as the sound moves around you a fair bit and then really pounds you at crucial moments, filling the room.

Extras

Presented: Deleted Scenes, Various Making of Featurettes, Opening Scene Animatic, Alternate Ending, Additional information on Treasure Hunters, the Knights Templar and a Trivia Viewing of the movie.

The extras are within multiple hidden areas, watching the content from one will give you the codes for the other, it takes a little while to get through, but at least this gives you the feeling of being involved if the movie didn’t.

Deleted Scenes – These are okay, nothing special and just two in all.

Featurettes – As standard, mostly the made for TV promotions you see.

Animatic Opening – This is quite interesting, seeing the computer rendered version of the opening sequence used early on in the production as a placeholder for when the final effects were completed.

Alternate Ending – What’s interesting is that this ending is much stronger and less Hollywood than the one actually used, and they should have used this one. However maybe that would have not held with the outlook of the rest of the film.

Treasure Hunters, Knights Templar – Both these extras are very informative and educational, and are well worth a watch. These two extras are two of the best items on the DVD.

Trivia Viewing – This allows you to watch the whole movie again but this time with little popups telling you some interesting and educational facts about what is actually going on in the film. Some are wildly off topic, but they are very interesting and made me watch the movie again.

Overall

This movie is pretty poor. It’s nice to look at, and some of the scenes are good, but overall it’s hand holding and treating the audience as idiots. I’m sure it’s wholesome young family fun, but definitely not for those who like something a bit more engaging in their movie experience.

What does make this package though is the DVD offering and the way it is put together. Decoding sections of the DVD in order to find the hidden content really does make you want to delve in and solve it, and therefore go through the content. For the most part it’s average, but two of the featurettes and the Trivia viewing are educational, informative and actually really quite interesting. It’s here that the DVD makes up some serious ground for me.

IMDB UK movie details

My voting history on UK IMDB

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