National Treasure

National Treasure (2005)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Jon Voight, Sean Bean, Diane Kruger, Harvey Keitel, Justin Bartha
Extras: Alternate Ending, Deleted Scenes, Opening Scene Animatib, Featurette

Judging from its trailers, ’National Treasure’ looked quite bit like and ’Indiana Jones’-style of film, but upon viewing Buena Vista Home Entertainment’s DVD of the film, it turned out that it has actually a lot more in common with ’The Goonies’ than with Dr. Jones. Thik of it as ’The Goonies’ for grown-ups, if you may. It is a treasure hunt with twists, puzzles and cool locations, spiced up with some mystery and action and a bunch of great bad guys providing the action moments in the film. All in all, it is an entertaining and enjoyable action adventure that is a lot of fun.

Nicolas Cage plays Benjamin Gates, who comes from a long family line of treasure hunters and he is dead-set upon solving the one riddle that has been in his family for generations. He wants to be the one to finally discover the legendary treasure of the Knights Templar. But like his forefathers, all he keeps finding are more clues to where it may be hidden, and the clues are getting increasingly difficult to follow, especially when one of them would require him to steal the original Declaration of Independence.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment is presenting ’National Treasue’ in its original widescreen aspect ratio on this DVD in a transfer that is enhanced for 16×9 television sets. The image is absolutely clean and clear and shows a very high level of detail. Color reproduction is rendering strong hues and faithful skin tones with deep, solid blacks. Some slight edge-enhancement and the resulting ringing artifacts are evident in the presentation in select scenes but it’s never overly distracting from the viewing experience. The compression is free of artifacts.

The audio on the release boasts a bombastic 5.1 channel Dolby Digital track that perfectly serves the film with its aggressive surround usage and the wide sound stage. Frequency response is immaculate and offers up deep basses and clean high ends without distortion. Dialogues are nicely integrated and never drowned out.

As extras the DVD contains an alternate ending of the movie as well as a selection of deleted scenes, all of them with option al commentary by director Jon Turtletaub. Turtletaub can also be heard on a commentary that accompanies an animatic version of the opening sequence of the film. Strangely enough, no commentary track is proved for the actual film, which is a disappointment considering that the director provided commentary for all these bonus features.

Also included on the DVD is an 11-minute featurette about the making of the movie but I was unable to locate any of the other featurettes mentioned on the packaging sleeve. Since the DVD contains a treasure hunting game itself, I would suspect these additional featurettes can be found by unlocking the secrets of the DVD, so keep your eyes open for our Hidden Feature section on the weeks to come.

’National Treasure’ is mindless popcorn entertainment – after all, it’s a movie produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. So get ready for 2 hours of fun, entertainment, action and a cool story as you enjoy ’National Treasure.’