Actually, it wasn't that hard. I love National Treasure. Moreover, I love Nicolas Cage as treasure hunter Ben Gates. Somehow, someway, a little action-adventure that I didn't see in the theater slowly grew on me over a solid year of every-other-day showings on one of the Encore movie channels. The end result: me sitting in the theater at an opening weekend showing of National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets.
Between the witty, strong-willed woman (Diane Kruger), the sarcastically hilarious sidekick (Justin Bartha), and the deliciously deviant villain (Sean Bean), National Treasure almost plays like a second generation version of an Indiana Jones movie. And although Ben Gates is no Indy, he has his own charming personality quirks, like knowing archaic colonial ciphers and codes and playing a brilliant game of show-and-tell with the original Declaration of Independence. Best of all, Cage attempts no accent and only has a couple of spaz attacks. The fact is, Indy is the spoiled, handsome action star while Gates is the nerdy underdog hero with the superstitious father (Jon Voight). Who would you rather root for?
If the stereotypical characters and the cheesy dialogue don't satisfy your need for a guilty pleasure, watch National Treasure for some decent action sequences and an insanely elaborate conspiracy theory. Who can't appreciate the entertainment value in that? Also, I haven't even mentioned yet that the National Treasure franchise is one of the few action-adventure series being produced these days that's appropriate for the whole family: no profanity, sex, gory violence, or otherwise inappropriate content, and no dark themes that can misinterpreted as subliminally evil. It's just honest-to-goodness silliness that you can watch with your kids on movie night.
There you go: Nicolas Cage, against all odds, as a provider of fun, wholesome cinematic entertainment.
Now don't anyone dare use that sentence outside of the context of this movie.