I liked National Treasure. I said it. It was a fun popcorn movie. I can sense my e-mail box filling with yet more hate mail. With that out of the way, let me tell you that this isn't the most factual movie. Hell, there's A LOT of logic problems which I don't need to point out, as I'm sure you'll find them just fine (and if not there's always imdb).

It's a modern day Indiana Jones meets the DaVinci Code. Actually I've heard DaVinci Code writer Dan Brown's next book deals in the same arena of this movie, The Freemasons and Washington DC. Some may even call this a copy of the Dan Brown book series (hey, Roger Ebert did). But I still enjoyed it. This is a movie where you have to leave your brains at the door. Trust me, you'll have fun.

With all of that said.. Don't buy the DVD. Here's why...
The Tech stuff: The video quality was very lacking for a eye popping visual blockbuster like this. Very disappointed with Disney on the transfer. The 5.1 track is good but not great.

The Extras: This is where the disc falls flat. Sure it's not a stand alone movie release, but we are meant to expect a full dish but we only get a small side. The disc opens with eight minutes of trailers or sneak peaks (I hate Disney DVDs).

We have a ten minute "On Location" featurette which contains mostly fluff.

We have ten minutes of deleted content which includes deleted scenes (which are often deleted for a reason - ie: they're not worth watching), an alternative animatic of the opening sequence, and an alternative ending which was rewritten and shot due to test audience response. This may be worth watching as it hinted at a possible sequel. The director does optional commentary on the deleted material, but not the film itself.

In my opinion, unless you're Spielberg or Tarantino and you're still alive, you should have a commentary on your disc (and even if you're dead you could at least have an actor commentary or film historian commentary - Ebert does some great work here). Even Lucas gave in and did commentary for Star Wars. But here we get nothing. The director seemed so well spoken in the deleted material, it’s a shame he doesn’t have a commentary.

The disc also includes a text based trivia track (which to my discredit, I haven’t checked out but heard it’s just okay).

This disc features a "Multilevel Treasure Hunt" which may sound like a good idea, but is really a pain for the stand-alone DVD experience. What this means is that you must watch all four of the above features to get codes to unlock a second level of bonus features. This can be annoying and frustrating. I wonder if Disney’s rental version allows you to skip this feature?

So what do you get in the second level of special features? There's an eight minute Treasure Hunters Revealed feature which is an educational fluff piece on real, well, you know. “The Knights Templar” educational featurette which is about five minutes long. And a “Riley’s Decode This!” game which involves three puzzles. In all, the twenty minutes are probably not worth the effort of getting to the second level to view them.

I’m assuming that Disney is going for a Double Dip on this release, at least I hope so. I’m sure there’s a two disc special edition in the works with at least a director’s commentary, maybe a writers or cast commentary. I’m sure we’ll get a better high definition transfer, or at least hope so. We’ll probably get a couple hours of making-of documentaries on the second disc, bunched with some educational featurettes. This is just my speculation.

The Bottom Line: RENT IT. If you like the movie, wait for Disney to announce a two disc special edition.
tags disney
categories Dvds, Cinematical