National Treasure: Edge Of History – Episodes 1 and 2
Disney is once again reaching into its bag of established franchises for its next big Disney+ series, and this time it’s “National Treasure,” a film that starred Nicholas Cage as Benjamin Franklin Gates, who is obsessed with finding the legendary Knights Templar Treasure, greatest fortune known to man. The film spawned a sequel, and a third film is also in development.
But before the third film, we have a brand new series, called “Edge Of History”, which tells the story of Jess Valenzuela, whose life is turned upside down when an enigmatic stranger gives her a clue to a centuries-old treasure that may be related with her father, who died when she was a baby. Jess has a knack for solving puzzles, and her skills are put to the test as she and her friends follow a series of clues hidden in American artifacts and landmarks. But as Jess gets deeper and deeper into the hunt, she not only finds herself in a race with a wealthy and ruthless rival treasure hunter, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, but she’s also forced to question the loyalty of someone who is close to her. Will Jess find history’s greatest lost treasure and finally reveal the truth about her family’s past?
Each episode is around 50 minutes long, and it’s very clear that this is being made on a TV series budget, rather than a big blockbuster. There are some pretty weird special effects during the opening montage, but for a TV series it gets a pass.
This series is a follow-up to the original films, with Harvey Keitel returning in one of the opening scenes, playing the role of Peter Sadusky, who was the FBI special agent responsible for the theft of the Declaration of Independence in the films. There is a brief passing of the torch moment, to connect the movies to the series, but based on the first two episodes, there really isn’t that much connection to the movies. We know; eventually, Justin Bartha, who played one of the main characters, Riley Poole, will appear in the series, because Disney made a big point of highlighting the character in the trailers.
I enjoyed watching these first two episodes and will continue to watch the rest of the series. It’s a nice change of pace from all the Marvel and Star Wars shows we’ve seen on Disney+ so far. The series is something the whole family can enjoy, but it will probably appeal more to adults. The new characters are all in their twenties (thankfully Disney didn’t set this one in a high school or college). It’s a little cheesy in places and you can spot some of the twists from a mile away, but it’s still a lot of fun.
The first two episodes of “National Treasure” aren’t going to blow your mind, but they should keep you entertained. It certainly gave off the vibe of many previous adventure series like “The librarians” or “Hooten & the Lady”.
Lisette Olivera is interesting to watch as the main character, Jess, but that’s it Catherine Zeta-Jones, who steals any scene she’s in, with an over-the-top Bond-type villain, is going to make this show that much more fun to watch. There are a lot of other supporting characters involved, but I’m not entirely sure why there are so many, as it means we don’t really get to explore those characters, as the focus is on introducing Jess and the main plot of the show.
Will “National Treasure: Edge Of History” be the next big hit on Disney+? I’m not sure; it’s a fun adventure series with lots of puzzle solving and treasure hunting, but unfortunately it’s not an update on the original movies. If you took that one scene with Harvey Keitel out of it, the show could completely ditch the “National Treasure” brand.
Overall, the first two episodes of “National Treasure: Edge Of History” are a fun, lighthearted adventure show that I would recommend you check out, as I could see why some people find it a little lacking. It has a lot of potential, but it’s best going into this not thinking of it as a sequel to “National Treasure,” because it just doesn’t feel much like it. It has its own unique style and character, which is best approached without preconceived ideas so you can enjoy it for what the show really is, rather than what has come before it.
Rating – 4 out of 5
The first two episodes of “National Treasure: Edge Of History” will arrive on Disney+ on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, with new episodes weekly thereafter.