Recent debates over proposed amendments have provoked concern the U.S. Constitution should be preserved. The premise of a new action film suggests, however, that it's the Declaration of Independence might be in more serious danger.

Nicolas Cage won an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas, opening up opportunities to a wide range of high-profile roles—and he chose to do comic book spin-offs and action movies. While his attempts to get his own comic book franchise have fallen short (Ghost Rider never happened, and rumors of Cage as Superman fizzled), he's flexed his muscles and machismo in adrenalin-rush action flicks like The Rock, Con Air, Face/Off, and Gone in 60 Seconds. He's won some good box office totals, but his reputation as an actor has suffered. So, occasionally, he reminds us of his award-caliber potential, as in the case of Adaptation and Matchstick Men. Now he's trying something new—a "family-friendly" cliffhanger adventure—and he's a box office champion once again.

National Treasure could be called Cage's Indiana Jones film. Almost every review compares his treasure-hunting hero, Benjamin Franklin Gates, to the heroic, whip-wielding archaeologist, but only in the way that a feeble imitator is compared to a classic. Some note a similarity to The Da Vinci Code, in that the hero has discovered a conspiracy related to a secret message that is attached to a historical document. But instead of finding scandalous revelations about religion, Gates finds a treasure map. And instead of finding it in a painting, he finds it in the founding fathers' Declaration.

He's not alone in his discovery. Another hunter and the FBI are on the case. So he decides the only way to protect the document's secrets is to steal it himself. ...

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