Movie Reviews

National Treasure (5/3/2005)

Rated PG

Directed by Jon Turteltaub (While You Were Sleeping, The Kid, Phenomenon)

Starring Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Sean Bean, John Voight and Harvey Keitel

Looking for an entertaining flick that you can actually show the whole family? You might have to move National Treasure into your rental cue. (on video/DVD May 3rd)

When I was a kid, my parents liked to surprise my brother and I with spontaneous fun activities every once in a while on Friday nights. I have some good memories from the decade before Blockbuster when my dad would go down to this new kind of shop next to the grocery store known as the “video store” to rent a “video cassette recorder” and several movies.” It was the greatest. Our family would pile on the couch, pop popcorn and stay up late watching the newest in “video releases” before having to return the video player the next day.

I not only miss the novelty . . . I miss the innocence. Not many truly ‘PG’ films out there these days. I miss Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Not to segue from Raiders of the Lost Ark . . . that would be hard to compare to . . . but if you’re looking for a fun family film with good action and no objectionable material, National Treasure will probably do the trick.

Nick Cage stars as the brilliant Benjamin Franklin Gates, third generation treasure hunter. All his life Gates has been searching for a treasure that our Founding Fathers left clues to—from our nation's birthplace, to the nation’s capital, to clues buried within the symbols on the dollar bill. Gates’ life-long journey leads him to the last place anyone thought to look; a map hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence.

But what he thought was the final clue is only the beginning. Gates realizes in order to protect the world’s greatest treasure, he must now do the unthinkable: steal the most revered, best guarded document in American history before it falls into the wrong hands.

In a race against time, Gates must elude the authorities, stay one step ahead of the his ruthless adversary (Sean Bean), decipher the remaining clues and unlock the 2000 year-old mystery behind our greatest national treasure.

National Treasure is pure fun. The storyline is creative and original, the action is non-stop, and the lead characters are fun. My favorite character is the smallest name on the credits . . . a new actor named Justin Bartha who plays Gates’ one-liner spouting side-kick Riley. I’m still laughing at some of his lines. (“Who wants to go down the creepy tunnel inside the tomb first?” . . . “It's surrounded by guards… video monitors… and little kids on their eighth grade field trips.”)

And I can’t help but look at some of the past works of National Treasure’s director. Jon Turteltaub’s earlier films include my wife’s favorite, While You Were Sleeping (no . . . not Sleeping with the Enemy), and a handful of other goodies like Cool Runnings, Instinct (not Basic Instinct), and Phenomenon.

Uh . . . YEAH! Let me list the profanity in this film: 1 hell. Such endeth my list. Annie had more cussing than this movie! . . . Tony Campolo cusses more than this movie!

Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

  1. What are some of the messages or themes you observed in this movie?
  2. How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?
  3. How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

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