or, “Hey, isn’t this just The Goonies but with adults instead of kids?”
Grandpa Gates – So here’s the story about how the Knights Templar saved all the great treasures of the world and smuggled them to the New World, but called themselves Masons. The Founding Fathers were Masons and they protected the treasure, but now all knowledge is lost except for a clue given to our ancestor.
Young Ben – That’s totally cool!
Patrick Gates – And total nonsense. Don’t listen to your grandpa, son. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Grandpa – Gee, thanks, son.
Young Ben – I believe Grandpa!
Ben – Ok, so if I’m right, the ship called the Charlotte should be under the ice.
Riley – So we can get the heck out of here soon?
Ian – Sure, as long as we find that treasure.
Ben – Um, yeah, so let’s get into that ship!
–Ian’s crew manages to bust into the ship and Ben finds the remains of the captain with a pipe–
Ian – So, where’s the treasure then?
Ben – –Using the pipe to find a new clue– I never said the treasure was here. I just said the secret was with Charlotte.
Ian – Excuse me? You mean there’s no treasure here? Two years of funding this expedition and there’s nothing to show for it?
Riley – There are skeletons.
Ben – The treasure is real. Just give me a minute to figure out this clue. –Engages in history and puzzle-solving– Ok, so the map to the treasure is the Declaration of Independance. Well, that really throws a wrench in the works.
Riley – Ya think?
Ian – Actually, I’m pretty sure I could arrange to have that stolen, if you’re sure it’s the map.
Ben – Wow, that’s hilarious…wait, you’re serious? You can’t do that! I mean, maybe you can, but I’m not going to do that. And I really should have asked more questions about where you got your money.
Ian – Well, I guess I’m going to have to kill you now and steal the Declaration myself.
Riley – Wait, how are you going to decipher the map without a professional historian to help you if there are any more clues?
Ian – Um, I’ll figure out something. –proceeds to try to kill them but instead the ship gets blown up and Riley and Ben are safe–
Riley – We’re stuck in the middle of the Arctic Circle without vehicles or supplies. Obviously this is some strange usage of the word ‘safe’ I was previously unaware of.
Ben – We’ll be fine. We’re the heroes.
Ben – Ok, so we’re going to sound crazy, but we think someone’s going to steal the Declaration of Independance.
Abigail – That is crazy, but don’t worry, it can’t be done.
Riley – And that’s what everyone else has said that we talked to.
Abigail – Then I think we’re done here.
Washington, DC, later:
Ben – So we’ll just have to steal the Declaration.
Riley – The nice lady said it can’t be stolen.
Ben – I’m going to show you how it can be and we’ll do it tonight.
Riley – You are crazy and this cannot possibly work.
Washington, DC, later still:
Riley – So, I was wrong. This is working surprisingly well as long as you don’t say anything that might tip off anyone to our plan.
Ben – I’m sorry, I was talking to Abigail here about traitors.
Riley – *facepalm* Oh, no that’s not suspicious at all. Get down to the vault already.
–Ben does so while the film switches to Ian and Co., who have also chosen the same night to try to steal the DoI–
Ian – Hey!
Ben – Oh, hey, look at the time, gotta go! –cleverly uses the DoI’s bulletproof glass to avoid getting shot and escapes to the elevator–
Riley – Ben, tell me that wasn’t a gunshot.
Ben – That was two gunshots. Ian’s here.
Riley – What a startling coincidence!
Ben – Get the damn car.
Abigail – Hey, alarms are going off. I think that crazy Gates guy did something! I’m going to find him!
Riley – So, we’re free and clear, right?
Ben – Er, funny story. I had to buy a fake DoI from the gift shop with my credit card so the FBI might learn I’m here. Oh, also that appears to be Abigail running to the car to confront me about the theft.
Abigail – Give me that! –takes the DoI–
Riley – Wow, all that jail time we’re going to serve for nothing.
Ben – Relax. I just gave her the fake. Oh, but it looks like Ian doesn’t know she has the fake… Ok, we have to go rescue her.
Riley – I’m pretty sure we don’t, actually… –Ben starts a wild car chase– Or, fine, we can rescue her. It’s not like she won’t be trouble or anything. –they successfully rescue Abigail while Ian and Co. drive off–
Ian – –sees the fake DoI– Can anyone explain to me why a crazy historian and some ex-cubicle dweller just did a better job of stealing a highly protected government document than my crew of highly trained and experienced thieves? Anyone???
Co. – Well, you tell us why you, who is clearly practiced at high-stakes larceny, are willing to risk the notice of every intelligence agency in the US in order to go after some crazy hidden treasure that probably doesn’t even exist and that you probably don’t even need due to the aforementioned high-stakes larceny?
Ian – …Fine, fine, let’s just keep this movie rolling along.
Ben’s Father’s House:
Abigail – Ok, so you’re still crazy, but once I prove to you there’s no map, I’m assuming you’ll give me this highly valuable document to return and we’ll never speak of this again.
Ben – Fine. Deal. Except here’s the map in invisible ink!
Abigail – That’s unbelievable.
Riley – Seriously, but you’re way too far into the movie now to worry about believability.
Patrick – Hey, what are you guys working on? –picks up the DoI– AAAGGH!! Ben, tell me this is not what I think it is.
Ben – Ok, I won’t tell you. But there are more clues.
Patrick – And prison!
Ben – Just give me the Benjamin Franklin letters and I’ll get out of here.
Patrick – Um, I gave them away.
Riley – Yeah, this is going well…
FBI – So, Mr. Gates, please tell us what you know.
Patrick – My son is crazy and stole my car.
–Riley is smart enough to pay a kid to help him figure out the next set of clues while Ben lays low; however, Ian, despite his lack of US history knowledge, is savvy enough to figure out where to be and happens to figure out what the kid is doing; fortunately Riley escapes but Ian gets the next clue anyway–
Philadelphia, Store that in No Way Paid for Product Placement:
Riley – Hey guys I got the clue!
Ben – This clearly refers to a time on a hundred dollar bill, which we just missed. Of course, that’s assuming we’re looking for the clue at the same time of year this clock time was chosen for the money.
Riley – Yeah, and even more unbelievable than that, I know something you don’t know about history!
Ben – That is unbelieveable!
Philadelphia, Independence Hall:
Riley – So all the clues lead us to the roof of an old building. I’m sure there’s treasure here.
Ben – No treasure here, but there are magic glasses that allow me to see holographic images on the back of the DoI.
Abigail – Sure, Ben Franklin invented bifocals so why the heck not?
Riley – Um, Ian’s found us…
–They give a merry chase through Philly which ends up with Abigail and Riley losing the DoI to Ian and Ben getting arrested by the FBI–
Agent Sadusky – So where’s DoI?
Ben – It was stolen.
Sadusky – Yeah, you stole it.
Ben – No, a guy named Ian stole it from me. I stole it from the Archives so Ian couldn’t steal it.
Sadusky – Uh huh.
Ben – I am so going to prison, aren’t I?
Sadusky – Yeppers.
Ben – Too bad. I just realized the next clue by you fidgeting with those antique glasses. –his cell phone starts ringing and Sadusky indicates he can answer it– So, what’s up?
Ian – Your girlfriend asked me to bust you out. In retrospect, I’m not sure why I gave you a legitimate phone number to contact me at. Anyway, do exactly what I say.
Sadusky – Hey, two thieves for the price of one.
–of course, Ian’s near infinite resources allow him to help Ben escape the custody of the FBI and rejoin Abigail and Riley–
Ben – Well, it was nice of you to spring me, but I’m not working with you anymore.
Ian – I kidnapped your dad.
Ben – Ok, so these glasses allow me to see a hologram on the back of the DoI and we need to go bust in that historical church there.
–They bust through a grave to find a secret passage and despite having access to flashlights (presumably they could have picked some up at some point, they choose to use the ancient wooden torches that still light up)–
Riley – Oh good, a rickety wooden staircase of doom. –one of Ian’s Co. falls through the rotten wood and into the darkness– Yeah, see, that’s what I’m talking about.
–Despite one death and the near death of Ben and Abigail and the almost loss of the DoI, they all make it to a stone chamber that’s absolutely empty–
Ian – So where’s the treasure?
Ben – Um, it should be here.
Ian – Seriously, where’s the treasure?
Ben – It’s not here!
Ian – I will kill you if you don’t tell me where the treasure is.
Riley – I don’t see how killing us helps you find the treasure.
Patrick – Fine, fine, the next clue is Boston. Two if by land, one if by sea, so you go to the lighthouse in Boston.
Ian – Sounds good. It’s clear I won’t need you for any more clue-finding, so I’ll just leave you here to die. –leaves–
Riley – I don’t see how leaving us to die helps you find the treasure you jerk!
Ben – Well, that was a fake clue, so you think there may actually be treasure here, Dad?
Patrick – I don’t know, but lying was better than him shooting us.
Riley – True.
Ben – Well, luckily I still have this pipe and a really straightforward clue that leads me to… –finds another secret door that leads to another empty room but then leads to another secret door that actually leads…– the treasure!
Riley – Is it a good idea to use these oil troughs to burn away what might be the last of our oxygen and potentially set these valuable antiques on fire just so you can see everything illuminated in a dramatic fashion?
Ben – Totally. –lights up the room– That is a lot of history.
Abigail – Yes, to denote how important and historical this is, I’m going to identify scrolls from the library of Alexandria without even opening one up to verify it.
Patrick – Well, son, I guess you were right after all.
Riley – It’s so beautiful.
Ben – Oh, which part of the treasure specifically?
Riley – Treasure nothing. I can see a way out!
–They escape the treasure vault to run right back into the FBI–
Ben – So, we’re back with the wanting to avoid prison thing.
Sadusky – Yeah. But since it turns out I’m a Mason, I’ll hear you out. What’s your deal?
Ben – We’re cleared of all charges and if you hurry you can catch Ian in Boston.
Sadusky – Good deal.
–Ian is captured, and they all live happily ever after–
Ben – Yep, I get the girl and a house owned by Thomas Jefferson.
Riley – I get a car. I’m okay with that considering I’m pretty sure I didn’t even get a last name in this movie.