National Treasure - Press Archive - Trailer Review


Source: Movie Poop Shoot
02 July 2004

Trailer Park

By Christopher Stipp

Here is a press release describing some “cutting edge” trailer technology
that will make watching these little bits of glorified adverts even more
fun to watch: “Moviegoers will have a whole new way to experience and
interact with movie trailers online beginning June 28th with the debut of
the SmarTrailer™ of Touchstone Pictures/Jerry Bruckheimer’s exciting
adventure, “National Treasure” on Yahoo! Movies (
SmarTrailer™, a new innovation in online viewing, provides the option of
viewing the film’s theatrical trailer in its entirety or viewing the trailer and
exploring particular areas of interest by clicking on picture windows that
appear as the trailer plays. The SmarTrailer™ for “National Treasure” will
play exclusively on Yahoo for two days before beginning its continuous run
at starting July 30th.
For “National Treasure,” nine unique windows will lead viewers to one-minute
information “pods” that delve into specific topics related to the film, the
historical facts behind the story, and the filmmaking process. Browsers will
be able to explore a variety of topics. For example, “The Treasure is Real”
section offers expert testimony from professional treasure hunters W.J.
Jameson and author Mark Finnan about the untold riches our Founding
Fathers may have buried right beneath our feet. The “Knights of Templar”
section talks about the great wealth amassed by the secretive medieval
band of knights and where it might have gone after they fled Europe.
Other pods cover such topics “Benjamin Franklin,” “The Money Pit,” “The
Freemasons,” “The Clues Around Us,” “The Declaration of Independence,”
“Secrets and Spies,” and “Real Locations.” Basically, for those still
scratching their temples, it’s like having DVD-like extras embedded inside
the trailer. While I was a little ho-hum over the trailer for NATIONAL
TREASURE this makes getting to know a movie a lot more fun.
Review of the Trailer:
Prognosis: Disaffected.
First, there’s a lot of gold everywhere in this trailer.
Whether it’s from some torches or flames from a fire or the appearance
of gold coinage, there’s more than enough of the yellow hued color to go
around; I am reminded of the kind of imagery I liked with Stephen Sommers’
MUMMY series with its heavy usage on the screen and am wondering if
this emblematic of the malaise I felt, the jaundice of my pleasure center,
after watching this trailer.
What I don’t like, initially, about the trailer is the use of an old crotchety
Wilford Brimley-esque monologue from Christopher Plummer. I like seeing
him but in this film, as he talks to a young Nick Cage about what essentially
this whole movie is about, the protection of treasure (which I am still unclear
as to the extent of the implications if said treasure is pilfered by someone
evildoers), and how clues to the whereabouts of the treasure, that had
been moved all over the world, ended up in America and now needs to be
found; I, too, was unclear about what I had to remember being important
about Cage’s character. We are given to visual clues as to the location of
the treasure by clues imbedded in the very money we all enjoy to have in
our pockets and, essentially, it is Nick’s destiny to protect it. The whole
time the old codger is talking to a more youthful, less nepotistic Cage,
the kid is just sitting there all doe eyed and doesn’t say a word. Hell, even
I would be thinking it’s time for gramps to take his meds by asking some
kind of questions, but we roll on anyway and fast forward decades into
the future. We get Cage holding the ubiquitous torch in a tomb (doesn’t
anyone carry a flashlight in those things?) as he looks all steely eyed and
macho in pursuit of this legendary treasure.
The bravado is halted for a moment for Jon “My Daughter May Be Crazy But
She Fine” Voight to rip a page from James Lipton’s Acting in a Box as he
scolds Cage for his relentless search for the treasure that seems to be a
broken record on everyone’s lips. “Don’t you get it, Ben?! The treasure is a
myth.” Of course, our hero will be undeterred by such nay saying and refuses
to believe a word of it. Thanks, now that makes two annoying codgers so far
in a movie that is being brought to me by the same man who kept me glued
to every foible Amazing Race. We finally get to the last real challenge, and
point to the whole film, to securing the safety of the elusive treasure at
this point in the trailer: stealing the Declaration of Independence. It seems
quite manufactured, almost, to have a plot based on one of the hardest
things to get access to in the first place, but this isn’t my action movie,
it’s about Cage and his plan to boost one of the nation’s oldest documents.
There are some scenes cut into the moment where they are trying to get
access to the historical artifact through legitimate means that just serve
to confuse the viewer. One moment Cage is sitting pretty in an office and
then, somehow, he’s in the tundra, snow whizzing everywhere, yelling at
some dude to stay down, and then he’s back in his warm little chair. It’s
odd. But just when you think all I’m doing is being a playa hata there is a
salve that gets applied to my aching action heart: Sean Bean.
Not since Alan Rickman in DIE HARD have I ever wanted a bad guy to win in
a movie than I did with Sean Bean in PATRIOT GAMES. Sean is excellent as
a baddie and he works it to good effect here. This excitement is counter-
balanced by a voice over that does not work well. I swear it’s the same guy
who does voice work for PBS’ Frontline series; it’s merely informative, dry and
it’s placed into a trailer that doesn’t need a voice over. Regardless, the
rest of the trailer is all a bunch of stock action scenes as Cage tries to steal
the Declaration to finally satiate 20 centuries worth of work to keep some
vague treasure secure.
Seeing how the director Jon Turteltaub was responsible for the 90’s
my favorite, COOL RUNNINGS I am curious to see what will emerge from
the man in terms of quality. Maybe he could toss a few more torches in
there for good measure.


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