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National Treasure: Romancing the Stone Redux

National_treasureAmericans have always been suckers for a good treasure hunt, but in the movies we’ve "been-there, done-that" so many times that a new twist on the tradition will delight us no matter how implausible. The unlikely success of National Treasure: Book of Secrets , which baffled reviewers then boomed at the box office, is the latest example of the collective hunger for something familiar made new.

Despite its swashbuckling ambitions, this Nicholas Cage vehicle bears less resemblance to 1984’s Indiana Jones than it does to the same year’s Romancing the Stone .  Back then, even cranky reviewers had to admit that the story—about a romance novelist (Kathleen Turner) whose attempt to rescue her sister from Colombian kidnappers entangles her with a ne’er-do-well (Michael Douglas) hunting for a jawbreaker-sized emerald—was better onscreen than it had any business being. And just like The Jewel of the Nile which plays tomorrow afternoon on AMC at 1:15 p.m.

So while National Treasure may defy logic with its crypto-Masonic conspiracy theories, it’s no mystery why audiences poured into theaters and turned this film into a hit.  Every now and then, we all feel the need to sit back and absorb an adventure reduced to its basic elements: a man, a woman, a villain, and a treasure.

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