Edge of History Loses Itself on the Adventure
by Cailin Russell ‘23
The new series National Treasure: Edge of History, directed by Mira Nair, has launched to Disney+ with a total of five episodes its first season. The show tells the story of a young girl named Jess (Lisette Olivera), who discovers there is a lost Pan-American treasure and goes on an adventure with her friends to unlock clues to find it.
In the beginning of the series, the character Sandusky (Harvey Keitel) tells Jess what a symbol on her necklace represents. After learning about the symbol’s meaning, Jess goes searching for a treasure that supposedly her father and other men had been protecting, which gets the journey started. It is also mentioned in the beginning of the series that Jess is a Mexican immigrant and could be deported at any time, which helps create tension throughout the show.
The series references the original films by incorporating the same theme music while also some more modern music to keep with the present day, which is when the series is set. Additionally, the show includes some of the original National Treasure characters such as Riley Poole (Justin Bartha), Sandusky, and an FBI agent (Armando Riesco).
The similarities between the show and movies mostly end there, and the series ultimately is undermined by its flaws. The writers clearly want to appeal to the younger generation through the script, but like much of what’s on Disney Channel, this can be a turnoff for older audiences. Also, the acting throughout the whole show is not convincing or authentic at all, and it is disappointing that Nicholas Cage (the star in the original films) does not make an appearance in this series. Justin Bartha, who is an original cast member does appear in the series in Episode 4, but Bartha lacks a certain energy that he had in the original films. He is also given very few lines and is not portrayed as a primary character in the series as opposed to the films. His inclusion is more a painful distraction than an enhancement.
In Episode 5, there is a scene in which Riley and Jess are stuck in Sadusky’s secret room in his home, and the oxygen levels in the room are decreasing. While this aspect of the scene creates suspense, it takes away from Riley and Jess trying to figure out a numerical code to escape the room. Moreover, this scene has no correlation to finding the treasure, which seems like a waste of time during the final episode of the first season. People who want to enjoy a series that has the same authenticity and charisma as the original National Treasure films will be disappointed.