The Corner

Indiana Jones and the National Treasure

The new Indiana Jones movie opens tomorrow, and I guess I’m as interested in seeing it as the next overgrown kid. When I was a boy, Raiders of the Lost Ark fired my imagination like no other film. I think I saw it five times in the theater, mostly at the Old Orchard Theater in Farmington Hills, Mich. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it since then. The John Williams theme song is my ringtone.

For my own kids — or at least their senior member, a 10-year-old boy — I wonder if the two National Treasure movies aren’t having the same effect. (National Treasure 2 just came out on DVD.) For movies full of high-spirited adventure and without a moment of vulgarity, they’re tough to beat. Their plots are of course ridiculous, but they’re also ridiculous fun and they’ve prompted my kids to ask serious questions about, among other things, the Library of Congress. The movies are also fundamentally patriotic.

So if you want to avoid crowds in the movie theaters this weekend, think about National Treasure. You could do a lot worse.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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