Anti-American wackos and conspiracy theorist alike beware: though seemingly real, the content of this movie is pure fiction (make-believe for those of you in Huntsville). Nicolas Cage plays Ben Gates, of a long family lineage who, if traced back far enough, can be found to be the descendants of a carriage boy that served the last living Founding Father. According to the legend in this mythical tale, a large number of the Founding Fathers were Masons, and they had hid a treasure that had been passed down from royalties of all cultures. Not wanting the British to get the massive wealth, the Founding Fathers hid the treasure and then left clues as to how to find it... but apparently they even divided up the clues amongst one another. The only surviving clue was that the secret lied with Caroline
Ben's father is bitter against the entire legend since he had devoted over twenty years of his life searching for the treasure to no avail. He didn't even find the first clue. When Ben discovers the Caroline, a few of his search party buddies mutiny on him and thus become the "enemy" for the duration of the film. Since the team is convinced that the next clue is on the back of the Declaration of Independence Ian (mutineer) decides to steal the document. Knowing want Ian is planning to do, Ben tries to warn the Feds who laugh him off as a crazy lunatic. So he
decides to steal the Declaration himself. From here, the movie snowballs to the end.
To ease the minds of the conspiracy theorists out there, IMDB (www.imdb.com
) reports that, The movie suggests that something is written on the back of the Declaration of Independence. It is true that something is written on its back. The writing on the back of the Declaration of Independence reads: "Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776" and it appears on the bottom of the document, upside down. While no one knows for certain who wrote it, it is known that early in its life, the large parchment document (it measures 29¾ inches by 24½ inches) was rolled up for storage. So, it is likely that the notation was added simply as a label.
As one can plainly see, there is NO conspiracy.
While the film was well acted, this was definitely not one of Cage's better performances. Thoug he does his job, there is a tension in his portrayal of the character almost as if he has been stilted. Maybe it is due to the stellar performances he as given in his recent films, the most noteworthy Ridley Scott's Matchstick Men
. Cage's talent isn't wasted, but it is a bit under par.
Being a Jerry Bruckheimer production, the film makes no bones about showing it's grand scale. Within the first twenty minutes, there is a huge explosion letting the masses know that either movie magic or banal, flashy shenanigans lie ahead. On par, this movie seems to be somewhere in the middle; it is a well made film on the one hand, but on the other in retrospect it does seem a bit dumbed down to fit its PG rating. Oddly enough, Disney released the film under it's label once it received the rating to punctuate the fact that this is a film that the whole family can enjoy. As of yet, the release of action figures and other movie memorabilia in true Disney style has not yet occurred at noticeable levels. It is very possible that the purpose of this film may have been to tied the masses over whilst they wait for Pirates of the Caribbean II
This is a good watch if one is looking for something to do with their time. It would be going too far to say that this isn't a good film, but it lacks something. Maybe it was do to the fact that while on the Arctic, there was too much hand and facial exposure than one would expect when considering frostbite...or that breathing "smoke" wasn't always present in the scene when it should have been…or that there is too much evidence to suggest that the Declaration can't be stolen…or that the "villain" who is supposed to be highly educated in US history doesn't detect the setup in the end…or the irony of the name Gates belonging to the family who are connected the treasure…