Story: Benjamin Gates (Nicolas Cage) has been searching for a treasure beyond imagining. It’s an ancient trove protected by the Knights Templar and later hidden by American Freemasons, which included some of the United States’s founding fathers, like George Washington and Paul Revere. In 1832, Ben’s family was given a clue to the treasure’s whereabouts. Having looked for it ever since, his family has become a laughing stock in the historical community, which considers the treasure to be nothing but a ludicrous myth. Ben is on to something however and is convinced a map leading to the treasure can be found on the back of the Declaration of Independence. It is up to him and a computer expert (played by Justin Bartha) to steal the declaration and, with the help of a historian at the National Archives (played by Diane Kruger), to read the map, solve various clues and riddles, and discover the treasure before a treacherous former friend of Ben, Ian (played by Sean Bean), uses his trigger happy henchman and limitless resources to find it first. Also along for the ride is Ben’s disappointed father (played by Jon Voight), who gave up on the treasure a long time ago, and a team of FBI agents (led by Harvey Keitel), who are determined to find man responsible for stealing one of the most important documents in history.
Thoughts: I’ve put off writing a review for this due to my concerns I didn’t have enough to say about it. The Fourth of July having just passed, I decided to give this film about the secrets of America’s founding fathers and the world’s greatest treasure a shot at a review.
This movie is very much like the musical drama 1776 (my review of which can be found here) in that it stimulates the American history nerd inside of me. It may not be as rich in history as 1776 and it may not get everything historical detail right, but it’s a great way for me to get in the mood to read up on the people who founded the country I’ve lived my whole life. On top of that, it’s perfect family fun with its humor, fun characters, and engaging storyline that makes history exciting for people of any age.