For Week 3 of The Inquirer’s new “One Movie, One Philadelphia” initiative, we invited readers to watch and weigh in on National Treasure, the 2004 Jerry Bruckheimer blockbuster about a historian who follows hidden clues in the Declaration of Independence as he looks for a priceless hoard.
Readers did not seem to treasure the family-oriented film as they had Rocky and Witness, our previous selections shot in Philly. Nor did they have much to say about eccentric star Nicolas Cage.
Cage’s Treasure co-star Diane Kruger has a constituency here, though — the online commentor “eaglesrobertmichael” among them. “I would watch Diane Kruger read the phone book," he said.
Overall, E.R.M. found the movie “highly enjoyable” and urged others to “watch it for fun ... the city looks great.”
Other folks liked the use of Philadelphia locations, and the way it invoked colonial history, including the genius (and eyewear) of Ben Franklin.
“Phillysubmac” thought National Treasure was “a great idea for those not stuck on Ozark or Tiger King, both of which I can recommend."
“Montani semper liberi” wasn’t a huge fan of the film, but made a game effort to find a positive spin:
Perhaps we can accept “National Treasure” as a grand metaphor for our true treasure, the words that open the Declaration — as invisible in our modern political discourse as the supposed ciphers that Ben illuminates from it.
That’s how I might sell it, if I had to.
Otherwise, he thought it was a pale imitation of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Reader “flick lives” noticed verisimilitude issues. “Cage’s character manages to run from Independence Hall to City Hall in about 20 seconds.”
“Juniata” spotted a phony Independence Hall. “When the characters are in Independence Hall, look carefully at the backgrounds. They filmed the sequence at the real Philadelphia Independence Hall and at a replica Independence Hall in Los Angeles.”
Other found their thoughts drifting toward other movies set in Philadelphia.
“I still get a kick out of watching The Sixth Sense," one reader noted. "Watching the Church of the Gesu slipping past as Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment are riding the bus out Ridge Avenue gets me every time, as does the scene in St. Augustine’s Church, and Delancey Street. … I need to revisit 12 Monkeys as well.