Friday, 27 March 2009

Things I Really LOVE, But Should Know Better


The documentary National Treasure and its sequel


In the name of Owen Wilson's nose and all that is holy, I should hate these movies. Mainly because, if we are being painfully and brutally honest, they are a bit rubbish. I just cannot do it. I want so badly to hate them, but all it does is makes me love them more.

I should hate National Treasure because it is historically inaccurate. I should hate NT because in the first one they have the classic lazy Hollywood English villain. In a press junket, Sean Bean was asked where he thought treasure was hidden and he replied: "Sheffield". Not likely. I should hate Dr Abigail Chase for having an amazing wardrobe. I should hate the fact that the main character is called Benjamin Franklin Gates [and I kinda do hate that]. The fact that they steal the Declaration Of Independence using the ludicrous plan hatched and executed by Gates & Riley, his trusty sidekick, should make me laugh out loud.

Riley is one of the major reasons I cannot hate these films. What a character. Justin Bartha [I had to look up his name], is a comedic genius. I am allowed to hate the fact that he dates an Olsen twin because there is, like, a law against that and it makes me like him a smidge less. Only a smidgen though. I can't stay mad at him. And I would totally buy his book. "It's a big blueish green man ... with a big goatee. I'm guessing that's significant."

The fact that when they are in Philadelphia tooling around with Silence Dogood, they run from Independence Hall to City Hall in about 324 seconds when, from bitter pedestrian experience, I know that is a much longer journey, does not lessen my viewing pleasure. Nor does Nic Cage's unprecedented tourist access to the clock tower or any other part of Independence Hall without getting shot in the face. And I am willing to accept that Ben Franklin came up with the first pair of 3D glasses in existence.

In the Old North Church in Boston, whilst other people were asking much more serious questions about Paul Revere blah blah blah, I asked the guy who worked there 'Excuse me, was this the church in National Treasure?' The guy told me that yes, it was, but filming was actually done at a replica set. A few illusions shattered there. Kids, never ask a question you are not prepared to hear the answer to. Especially in relation to National Treasure.

The sequel was hotly anticipated. Mainly by me.

All the familiar faces were back. And Helen Mirren and Toyota Yaris [my *hilarious* nickname for Ed Harris] were added for good, or bad, measure.

NT 2 has a plot even more ludicrous than the first. BFG has to try and clear his ancestors' name after he is accused of being in cahoots with John Wilkes Booth and assassinating Abraham Lincoln. Why anyone would care is never really explained. But Nicolas Cage does some of his best indignant acting since, erm, Gone In 60 Seconds, and gets really quite annoyed about it.

This then leads to some international hijinks, including a meeting with 2 Parisian policemen which was so stereotypical they should have been dressed as mimes and on strike whilst smoking, eating garlic and conducting an extra-marital affair. Action then switched to Londontown, where they had a mega [and geographically impossible] car chase involving loads of barrels of London Pride and a visit to Buck House to see the Queen's desk. One of my favourite scenes involved Ben Gates pretending to be drunk and randomly shouting "Bubbles and squeak!" in an 'English' accent.

His mom, England's own National Treasure Helen Mirren, has the most changeable accent in movies. She sounds rubbish. But your dad still fancies her. She deciphers some Native American hieroglyphs and they eventually arrive in South Dakota's Black Hills to go and see Mount Rushmore and find the loot. The fact that they get to Mt Rushmore in an afternoon is also not realistic, especially since they are coming from Washington. South Dakota is a whole load of nothingness. Oh, and he kidnaps the President somewhere in the middle of this too.

They arrive and go on a trek actually INto the mountain. Seems those Sioux left it chock full of gold - "it's a little golden man". The fact that a lot of the Native American hieroglyphs visible here are actually Chinese script, should be completely ignored. Toyota Yaris does the right thing and sacrifices himself and Ben Gates reads the President's Secret Book. It is, apparently, life altering. And rumoured to be the basis of NT3 *crosses fingers and looks to the heavens*.

I should hate these movies because they are schlocky and unrealistic and of no educational value, but I just can't do it. And they feature the hardest working actor in Hollywood, Nicolas Cage's hair, in one of its finest performances, actually convincing us that it belongs on his head. Oscar bait if ever I saw it.


6 comments:

ali said...

The best memory of this movie that I have was watching it in South Korea (with Korean subtitles) with a bunch of new Korean friends. They picked the movie because I was American... I was surprised they even had it at the rental place...

You know... I could really watch National Treasure right now... hhhhmmmm....

Jessclub7 said...

Do it!

On my deathbed, I will definitely NOT regret the many hours I spent watching National Treasure when I could have been interacting with others or doing something productive.

mer said...

National Treasure et al. is on par with The Mummy (& sequels in terms of horrific, historically inaccurate incredibleness. Plus, the 3rd mummy movie had The Rock in it. AS IF I needed another reason to watch it???

Jessclub7 said...

I own a Mummy DVD boxset.

But I have not seen The Rock-based spin off.

I did, however, see the Hulk Hogan masterpiece Mr Nanny. At a cinema.

Phina said...

Historically inaccurate? Say it ain't so! I'm sure I referenced it in my MA thesis on American foreign policy in Afghanistan and repercussions of the perception gap between how America is seen and how America thinks it is seen.

Jessclub7 said...

Yeah but, for serious, Independence Hall to City Hall that fast? You were there Flo! You complained that your feet hurt.