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All Pinzur, All The Time

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

National Crapulence

Going into National Treasure last night, I knew it wasn't going to be good. My friend Jason (aka Medium Ray) and I just felt like seeing a movie, and since one of us had seen everything else, we ended up with this one.

We assumed it was a sad Hollywood excuse to make a movie out of DaVinci Code without actually owning the rights to DaVinci Code, which is scheduled for a 2006 release.

The last time we had to settle on a movie under similar circumstances, it was League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and we got exactly what we expected: not very good, but amusing and distracting. We hoped National Treasure would be the same.

We ended up staying not only through the whole move, but also most of the credits: I needed to know who to blame.

Jon Turteltaub, Jim Kouf, Oren Aviv, Charles Segars, Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley: if I see you on the street, I will kick you vigorously.

As a former roommate to James, I've been subjected to some cinematic fecal matter before (Disco Godfather, Cool As Ice... do I really need a third example?) but this was absolutely the worst of the bunch.

First of all, it ran more than two-and-a-half hours without spending any time actually, y'know, developing characters. At one point, Nicolas Cage just grabs Diane Kruger and kisses her, as if to say, "Holy crap - we're 90 minutes into this movie and there's absolutely no plot-driven reason for us to get romantically involved. We'd better move this train down the tracks."

Second complaint: Diane Kruger has a pronounced German accent, which is addressed briefly in the movie by saying that she's an American citizen born in Germany. But it's so unusual to have the chief archivist at the National Archives played by a woman with an accent, I assumed it would be worked into the narrative with some kind of shocking revelation that her ancestors helped write the Declaration of Indepdence or something. I was wrong - my current assumption is that they simply couldn't find an actress without an accent who was willing to take such a mindless, vapid role. It's sort of like why Coca-Cola used Max Headroom as the spokesman for New Coke - no human willing to shill for the garbage.

I'll skip complaints three through 424 and go all the way to the end: there are lots of good treasure-hunt flicks, and they all require some suspension of disbelief as they pursue the Holy Grail or Ark of the Covenant or Blackbeard's Treasure or an original John-Holmes-Dick-Jello-Mold (hi, LiAps) or whatever...

But only in 2004 does the treasure have to be every freakin' antiquity in history. Because OF COURSE the American founding fathers were entrusted with trinkets from the Library at Alexandria, Pharoah-era Egypt, Ancient Rome and Greece, Medeival Europe. After all, THEY WERE AMERICANS - who else should be hoarding all that stuff?

If anyone is tempted to see this movie, please send me the money you would spend on the ticket, and I will gladly beat you over the head with a bronzed copy of the Indiana Jones trilogy - you'll enjoy it much more.

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