NATIONAL TREASURE (2004)
National Treasure (2004)
The greatest adventure history has ever revealed
“We have to steal the declaration of independence.”
Cormack Wiberly (screenplay)
Historical adventure movie ‘National Treasure’ finds Benjamin Gates, descendent of a long line of Treasure hunters, hot on the pursuit of the treasure he was told about by his grandfather as a boy, a treasure so great that when discovered in Europe by the Knight’s Templar, it was smuggled into America and painstakingly hidden in clues by the Freemasons including Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. Young Benjamin’s ancestor Thomas Gates, a stable boy, became the confidente of Charles Caroll, the last remaining signer of The Declaration of Independence in 1832, about the closely guarded secret and the only remaining clue ‘The Secret Lies With Charlotte.’
The grown up Ben is accompanied on his quest by his friend and tech whizz Riley Poole and financial backer Ian Howe. Their first clue, an engraved pipe, is found in Antartica on the buried remains of a ship called ‘Charlotte’ which leads them to The Declaration of Independence. After a disagreement on methods, Ian wants to steal the Declaration to find the map to the treasure, he turns on Ben and Riley and from then on becomes the competition on the hunt for the treasure.
After being laughed at by both the FBI and the CIA, Ben and Riley visit Dr Abigail Chase, an expert in historical documents and in charge of the Declaration, to warn her about the danger that someone may attempt to steal it because of an invisible treasure map. She also does not believe them and Ben decides there is only one course of action, to steal the Declaration of Independence themselves.
Devising a cunning plan and with the aid of Riley’s technical wizardry, Ben manages to infiltrate security, gaining access to the preservation room where the Declaration is currently housed, only to come face to face with Ian an pals, forcing Ben to take the declaration still in it’s casing which comes in handy as a shield against the bullets fired by Ian’s crew. Removing the declaration from it’s holding, Ben also buys a duplicate Declaration in the souvenir shop which he throws at Abigail who confronts him once he is outside the building, leading to her being kidnapped by Ian and subsequently rescued by Ben and Riley, leaving Ian with the fake but what he thinks is the real declaration.
Abigail is furious to discover Ben had really stolen the original Declaration of Independence and hidden his true identity ( his family have a reputation as conspiracy theorists about the Founding Fathers ) until they together discover there is a lot more than meets the eye to the declaration when they examine it more closely at Ben’s father Patrick’s house, where Ben hopes to find some letters that will help them decode the map.
An adventure of epic proportions follows, involving all four of them and a series of clues that takes them across America, repeatedly crossing paths with Ian and the FBI, but will Abigail forgive Ben and will they ever find the mythical treasure and clear the Gates’ family name once and for all?
The names of the main characters in National Treasure are all linked to real historical figures, Ben (Nicolas Cage) Patrick, and John Gates were named after founding fathers Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, and John Adams. The name Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) is a combination of Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, and Samuel Chase, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.