Directed by: John Turtletaub
Written by:Cormac Wibberley, Marianne Wibberley
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Sean Bean, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel
Released: November 25, 2004
Grade: B

Earlier this week, I finished reading the best selling novel of 2004, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci CodeNational Treasure an obvious rip-off and it makes no attempt to disguise this fact.  If you look in the newspaper, you’ll see advertisements comparing the film to Brown’s novel.

The Da Vinci Code this ain’t but it’s a fun adventure in its own right.  Ben Gates (Cage) has carried a guarded message which has been passed from generation to generation – “the secret lies with Charlotte”.  It’s a clue to a bountiful treasure which was hidden by Freemasons and the Knights Templar hundreds of years ago.  After years of searching, Ben and partner Ian Howe (Bean) have finally found Charlotte - she’s a boat buried beneath the artic ice.  Instead of treasure though, they find yet another clue and the quest is set to continue…

It boils down to an ancient document.  Ben believes there’s a treasure map, written in invisible ink, on the back of the Declaration of Independence.  Unfortunately, this is one of the most guarded pieces of American history and getting a look at the original document is no easy task.  Greed will become the overriding factor though when Ian defects and tries to take the glory for himself.  It’s now a race to see who can get their hands on the document first, and solve an ancient riddle…

Clichés are everywhere but it’s the humour of National Treasure which makes it worth a look.  Ben has two friends (played by Diane Kruger and Justin Bartha) who help him on his journey who come up with several funny one-liners.  The trailer for the film left me highly sceptical but thankfully for us all, the jokes are better in the main show.

If you’re looking for a little more substance though, you perhaps should hold out for the cinematic adaptation for The Da Vinci Code which is already in the works.