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DVD Review: NATIONAL TREASURE

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PHOTOGRAPHY

NATIONAL TREASURE

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 131 minutes, deleted scenes and opening animatic with optional director commentary, featurettes

STUDIO: Disney

RELEASE DATE: 5-3-2005

ANALYSIS: Treasure hunting has been a long standing story for movies and books. As in real life, people are fascinated with fictional tales about treasure hunters and their quest against all odds to find it.

Nicolas Cage is Benjamin Franklin Gates. Ben has spent his entire life searching for a treasure that the Founding Fathers hidden and they have left clues to where the treasure is located. One of the clues is located on the back of the Declaration of Independence. Ben must steal the Declaration before his nemesis (Sean Bean) can steal it and find the treasure. The race is on as Ben must decipher the clues and stay ahead of his enemy and the FBI who want him for stealing the Declaration of Independence.

NATIONAL TREASURE is an action adventure movie in the spirit of Indiana Jones mixed with the style of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. Nicolas Cage and the other members of the cast give good performances. Nice use of putting real locations into the movie. History is blended with fiction to give an enjoyable ride. I wonder if they will ever do a sequel.

VIDEO/AUDIO: NATIONAL TREASURE is presented in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. Color values and blacks are OK. Image detail is fine.

On the other hand, the English 5.1 Dolby Surround track is very loud like audio tracks for any Jerry Bruckheimer production. They really like to crank the music and sound effects too loud when mixing it. There is also a French language track. You also have the option of English captions, and French or Spanish subtitles.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The alternate ending is interesting, but the only deleted scene that really pops out is the extended Shaft sequence. I wish they hadn't cut it down. Also you can see an animatic of the opening sequence for the movie. All deleted scenes and the animatic come with optional audio commentary by the director.

NATIONAL TREASURE ON LOCATION is the weakest featurette on the disc. The more interesting featurettes can be found when you crack the 2nd bonus level. TREASURE HUNTERS REVEALED is the best featurette on the disc. It tells the tales of real treasure hunters and their quest to uncover history to find the treasure. THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR look into the history of the Templar Knights. Riley's Decode This is one part featurette on ancient languages and codes with games to demonstrate some of them. After the cracking the Master Code, you are treated to an extended list of the Bonus features or a menu showing a Trivia Track for the movie you can turn on.

FINAL ANALYSIS: This fun adventure film will thrill many. NATIONAL TREASURE will give others a challenge as they navigate the bonus features. I wonder if they will do an audio commentary for the Special Edition version whenever they put one together.

this DVD Review is (c)5-18-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia