+++ Opinion +++
Both the Disney group and successful producer Jerry Bruckheimer usually do not ignore any sequel that is offered. Yet although an ever-growing fan base has been demanding a second sequel to The Treasury, it has so far been left hanging. The adventure film starring Nicolas Cage was a hit in 2004 and got a second part in 2007. It ended with obvious breadcrumbs being thrown towards the sequel…
…but history expert Benjamin Franklin Gates hasn’t returned since then. If you want to sweeten the crushing wait for another “Legacy” adventure: On September 1, 2022, Disney Channel will show “The Legacy of the Knights Templar” on free TV from 8:15 p.m. Alternatively, you can find the blockbuster at Disney+, among others.
» “Legacy of the Knights Templar” on subscription to Disney+*
For those of you who are unfamiliar with “Treasure of the Knights Templar,” in the popcorn delight, Nicolas Cage plays Benjamin Franklin Gates, a cryptologist on a quest to find the Knights Templar’s hidden treasure. In order to avoid that his opaque enemy Ian Howe (Sean Bean) forestalls him and damages a valuable document while searching for clues, he has set himself a crazy coup in his head: He wants to steal the Declaration of Independence!
One of the top reasons why “The Legacy of the Knights Templar” did not just go down in film history as the small adventure flash in the pan that Disney and Bruckheimer ignited between two “Pirates of the Caribbean” films: Nicolas Cage! The Oscar winner fits perfectly into the role of a well-read, but at the same time obsessed with his knowledge adventurer.
Gates is unlikely to appear in any of the top 5 best Cage figures. The youngest scion of a family that fantasizes about secret codes does not challenge Cage as an actor enough for that. Conversely, however, it’s almost impossible to think of an actor who would have gotten more out of this character:
Cage effortlessly transitions from heroic action mode to the eccentric attitude Gates needs if we’re to buy his belief that he’s stealing the Declaration of Independence have to. And his reverential monologues about historical knowledge not only sound genuinely enthusiastic from Cage’s mouth, but also surprisingly entertaining.
Still, “Treasure of the Knights Templar” is by no means a Nicolas Cage one-man show, which helps explain the blockbuster’s wide and enduring popularity. After all, not all film fans are always willing and able to appreciate the full cage.
Such is the adventure film an extremely enjoyable journey through multiple genres of action cinema, which director Jon Turteltaub (“Meg”) competently brings together. Without a notable tonal or aesthetic break, he jets from the adventurous “Indiana Jones” understanding of archeology, through fast-paced chases and shootouts reminiscent of Bruckheimer’s 90s blockbuster, to modern Disney bombast.
All this while “Armageddon” composer Trevor Rabin contributes a playfully fast-paced score that could have cheered on various popcorn actioners in the 80s. Also Justin Bartha as Gates’ spell-tapping sidekick Riley Poole and Diane Kruger as Gates’ opponent/reluctant sidekick/Love interest dr Abigail Chase add to the entertainment factor of the film as they match Cage’s energy and the film’s quirky, whimsical tone. No wonder Gates/Poole/Chase is so often asked for more!
Although the sequel “The Legacy of the Secret Book”, released in 2007, not only took in more worldwide than its predecessor, but also built a ramp in terms of content for the third part, this has still not become reality. The reasons given for this are manifold. Among other things, the married couple Cormac and Marianne Wibberley, who worked on the scripts for the first two parts, repeatedly announced that it simply takes time to construct an entertaining and exciting treasure hunt that is still based on historical facts.
Since then, however, other people responsible for further script drafts have been hired. And yet Turteltaub, Bruckheimer and Cage had to continue to put off and comfort the fans in interviews. In a detailed GQportrait, Cage only hinted a few months ago what could be the real reason for the long wait: In it, he described those responsible at the Disney Group as “fair weather friends” who, after a series of flops in the late 2000s and 2010s, suddenly distanced themselves from him.
Cage also emphasized that he would not put Bruckheimer in this category. And that’s exactly what recently raised hopes that part 3 could finally move forward – and of course with Cage in the lead role. Before that, however, there is a spin-off series to be seen on Disney+, which is about a new squad of curious treasure hunters and a few well-known characters from the films drop by…
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