The first time I saw National Treasure I was 12 years old and sick with the flu. To my adolescent, fever-addled brain this was the greatest film ever created, and I proceeded to watch it twice a day for the next two weeks. In the decade since, I have watched National Treasure at least once a year (and saw National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets in theaters, twice, but that's another article.) It is still a masterpiece of modern cinema, but I have started to notice some glaring plot holes that keep me from so innocently enjoying it like that sick little girl once did.
1. What was Charles Carroll's end game?
Was he just gonna tell the president about the treasure? Why did he have to wait til he was dying, then? And if his original plan was to tell the President, why even bother with the secrecy? If it's supposed to be a secret, why didn't he just let it die with him? Jackson for sure would not have kept that to himself. Also, there are other important people at the White House. He could have told the Vice President, for example. Or the first lady. Anyone but the fucking stable boy.
2. How did Ben know EXACTLY where the words on the hull were?
In the opening arctic adventure, that presumably was just included because Nic Cage looks amazing in a parka, Ben and his team are trying to find a lost ship called Charlotte. So when they start digging and hit metal, naturally the first thing Ben does is take out his water bottle that somehow isn't frozen and pours water on the snow covered hull- that conveniently happens to be the exact place that the word Charlotte is stamped. Did he just know it was there? Otherwise, why would he do that? It's a great dramatic moment, but there's no way he's that lucky.
3. Sean Bean turns on Nic Cage SO quickly.
National Treasure is the one movie where Sean Bean doesn't die, and that's probably because he plays a straight up asshole. These guys have been working together for over a year. They have a great rapport. Ben mentions that they play poker together. But when Ian doesn't get exactly what he wants from him, he turns on him in 0.5 seconds. Like, I understand that he's the villain, but as we know from the rest of the movie, Ben was at least a little bit open to stealing the Declaration ANYWAY. A real man-to-man conversation could have saved them so many explosions.
4. Why wasn't Abigail more suspicious when the heat sensor went off?
A crazy-eyed man comes into her office, telling her that someone is going to try to steal the Declaration of Independence, then an alarm goes off in the Declaration's case what seems like literally an hour later. Then she gets a package from crazy-eyed man with a super rare and valuable artifact that she really wants. Then crazy-eyed man shows up at a party at the building where the Declaration is held. This is straight up stalker/criminal mastermind shit. She starts to get a little wary when she sees Ben at the gala, but still allows him to get her a drink and flirt instead of, say, making sure that the priceless artifact he warned her someone was gonna steal had at least ONE security guard protecting it.
5. WOW that plan to get Abigail's password was risky.
Speaking of that artifact, Ben's plan to get into the preservation room needed so many variables to fall into place that it's a miracle it worked out. He had to be sure that Abigail would even open a mysterious package from the aforementioned crazy-eyed-man AND that she'd rub her fingers all over it like a fucking toddler AND that she wouldn't wash her hands before going to the National Archives building AND that she would actually accept a drink from him AND that they'd be able to figure out her password from the letters on a keyboard.That's a lot of stars aligning for this insane plan that they have only one shot to pull off.