At least Disney’s National Treasure TV show gets escape rooms right

Let’s get this out of the way: a new Disney Plus series National Treasure: The Edge of History not a successor to national treasure Anyone hope. He doesn’t really get involved National Treasure: Book of Secretsthe sequel does not involve theft of historical documents (but Do involving some light abduction of the chief).

While that, the edge of history It resets as a “Request”, with new character Jess (Lizette Alexis) as she struggles to uncover the treasure hunting legacy left by her father (also a new character). Shining in on her heels is Billy Pierce (Catherine Zeta-Jones), the most outrageous treasure hunter who’s eager to find Aztec relics and more than willing to use underhanded techniques to outsmart Jace there. Unfortunately for her, Jess is an expert puzzle-solver and lover of history, something we learn about very early on, when she confidently deconstructs Freemason’s history down to her boss, or the most simple or elaborate escape room solution. all times.

Creators Cormac and Marianne Wibberley make some obvious moves to update the National Treasure franchise in real time here, with Jess being a DREAMer and rooting National Treasure concretely in Native American history. The relic you’re looking for is just one of three, the product of the network of Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans that worked together to hide Montezuma’s gold. It’s also the most difficult part of swallowing.

No one is here to hammer the pieces of history on a national treasure. This is a neatly rendered film series based on Nicolas Cage’s calm and confident reading of the “I’m going to steal the Declaration of Independence” line. The original movie was a certified goofy gem with some historical funny bones in its flesh and that was it He. She.

Photo: Brian Roedel/Disney

the edge of history It calls for more scrutiny: By updating the trope of treasure hunters to make it more progressive, it paints with a broad brush, whitewashing the indigenous communities ostensibly at the heart of the story. It’s a Disney Channel Prestige, taking its suave provenance seriously while accidentally homogenizing Latin American indigenous cultures at the same time. Check it out attempt, but in execution, it’s a rapid cultural erasure that seizes the moment. It might be a little easier if the rest of the show wasn’t so caught up in the uncanny valley between cynicism and sincerity, but this is a franchise built on small grants. The simple suspense of a treasure map on the back of one of the nation’s founding documents now feels like a big swipe and, by extension, a slightly bigger mistake.

So assuming National Treasure doesn’t often try to delve into its history too closely, we can focus on the important parts: the escape room and all the puzzles.

the edge of history It joins a series of modern entertainment that makes escape rooms seem like the most intricate and intricate puzzles ever. From Escape Room movies to TV plots to one-offs from this or Brooklyn Nine-NineEscape rooms on TV tend to rely on as much outside knowledge in the way that real-life escape rooms only do no.

In the pilot episode, Jess and her friends are locked in two prison cells, with fake prison uniforms to complete the aesthetic. The room they’re in has never been beaten, making Jess’s MacGyver-like ingenuity the key to their escape. To be clear, this involves bringing in a screwdriver hidden in a tube and tying the bedsheets together to make a rope with a screwdriver on the end, all so they can swing to pull a lever to let them out. Incredible Design Perhaps a lawsuit waiting to happen depending on how that swing goes. Certainly a series of angry Yelp reviews when the solution was revealed.

Jess (Lizette Alexis) and her friend Tasha (Zuri Reid) are sitting in the back of a van

Photo: Brian Roedel/Disney

It’s remarkably intricate, and, of course, almost exclusively to show off Jess’ abilities and set the stage for her effortlessly solving the Masons’ hundreds of years old mysteries. This is the fact that National Treasure: The Edge of History Most often: a puzzle lover’s dream of forging the perfect way to slash interlocking puzzles that will astound everyone around you. Add in the swashbuckling exploits of a Disney treasure hunt and it’s pretty easy to see the attraction. the edge of historyThe problem is that these puzzles often seem designed exclusively for Jess, and her knowledge base is almost inversely designed for this perfect adventure, making it less of a puzzle to take on and more of a dragline of narrative.

the edge of history It would be much more fun if it always felt like this escape room: Byzantine weird and silly on purpose, giving the audience a bit of a laugh or an engaging reality. Too often, the show is rooting against itself by trying to be more progressive without actually acknowledging what that means, in the story or in the wider world. That’s a tough line to walk in the world of National Treasure, with all its hidden spring-loaded drawers, cryptic messages, and yes, “I’m going to steal the Declaration of Independence.” Like fantasy escape rooms, they (Likely) Fabricating a story needs to jump from puzzle to puzzle.

maybe the edge of history It continues to pull off a story that’s sleeker in the moment and still has a gritty take on the historical treasure-hunt genre. But in its early episodes, that was one puzzle that the Disney Plus remake couldn’t solve.

National Treasure: The Edge of HistoryThe first two episodes are now streaming on Disney Plus. New episodes air every Wednesday.

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