Just in time for the sequel, National Treasure is returning to the new DVD shelf with National Treasure: 2-Disc Collector’s Edition, which comes with a fair amount of special features – though probably not enough to warrant two discs.
First off, loyal readers of mine know that I was never a big fan of the original National Treasure movie; the film seemed bloated and never all that exciting, despite being a non-stop adventure story. Having watched the movie just this last weekend for a second time, I’ll admit I enjoyed it a bit more than before – things seemed a little more fast paced and a lot less boring than I remember. Still, National Treasure isn’t deserving of a sequel. Nicholas Cage is rather bland as the hero, and the whole plot is still a bit too ludicrous to fathom (how does a treasure hunter manage to steal the Declaration of Independence?). For a family adventure film it’s okay, but none of the adventures or clues really manage to exude much mystery, suspense or excitement. The ending is also rather disappointing, just as I remember it. You can read my original National Treasure movie review here.
As for the National Treasure DVD, the 2-Disc Collector’s Edition offers a mix of old and new features. Returning features are an array of deleted and extended scenes (including an alternate ending and opening sequence), none of which are particularly great, and a few featurettes that include “On Location”, “The Knights Templar”, “Treasure Hunters Revealed” and “Riley’s Decode This!”.
New features include a few more deleted scenes (interestingly, the deleted scenes are split among the two discs), which again aren’t very spectacular, and some new featurettes:
- Ciphers, Codes & Codebreakers
This one examines the use of codes in the movie and the history of code, including ancient codes from Roman times to World War II Enigmas and eventually to modern-day, computer-encrypted codes. Sort of interesting, though nothing particularly in depth.
- On the Set of American History
This one talks about how National Treasure was so special because it got to film a bunch of scenes at real locations. While I guess it’s sort of impressive that they were able to make a movie in certain spots, I wouldn’t say there’s anything too groundbreaking here. Having just watched The Bourne Ultimatum DVD, which shows the filmmakers shooting amongst crowds at real train stations, this one pales in comparison.
- To Steal a National Treasure
This featurette looks at how the filmmakers decided to hire someone who would have the expertise to recommend how they would actually steal the Declaration of Independence. Not nearly as interesting as one would imagine.
- Exploding Charlotte
This one is about blowing up the ship at the beginning of the movie. Too bad most of this footage is found in another featurette, and that there really isn’t much insight into the pyrotechnics, etc.
This 2-Disc DVD set isn’t all that bad at all, but National Treasure isn’t anything spectacular, and there isn’t enough here to warrant fans of the movie to buy another version of the DVD. Still, if you’ve been meaning to purchase National Treasure ahead of its sequel, National Treasure: Book of Secrets (which looks terrible, by the way), now’s the time to buy.