The only thing I knew about the Uncharted games beforehand was that they are popular and there is something about a Nathan and a Drake. So don’t expect a detailed comparison with the new Sony film here. If I had seen National Treasure , I might compare Uncharted to that. Unfortunately, my only reference for a successful adventure is Dora The Explorer . So, three remaining readers, here we go!
I was kidding, of course. The film industry has no shortage of adventure films. However, there is a lack of really good ones. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade remains the gold standard, and only a few lucky few were able to make a big impression after that, like The Mummy (from 1999, not 2017 ). Adventures based on games are even less likely to yield something memorable. The Resident Evil movies may still be fun for a select audience, Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed were just a bland decoction of better games, Rampage was so cool that it got a bit good. I personally liked Tomb Raiderwith Alicia Vikander very amusing. But in addition, it is mainly films that borrow something from games and do their own thing with it that bring great results, such as the new Jumanji films and Free Guy .
So there is definitely a place for movies that draw inspiration from well-made games. And Uncharted also avoids the pitfalls of direct film adaptations by making a prequel. Here we see twenty-something Nathan Drake (Tom Holland, Spider-Man: No Way Home ) at work as a bartender. 15 years after his brother ran away from the orphanage, he’s on his own, so he picks up rich people to earn extra money.
One evening, Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) comes to recruit him for a treasure hunt. Sully and his Nathan brother Sam searched for the gold that the explorer Magellan would have found during his boat trip around the earth. But Sam has disappeared without a trace, so Sully hopes Nathan can help him. After all, the brothers have always been interested in the voyages of discovery, because their ancestor Sir Francis Drake was sailing the same route when his ship capsized.
Nathan is reluctant at first, but the legend of the gold and the connection with his brother convince him. Together, they search for and unravel clues around the gold’s location and how to get to it. Only they are not the only ones looking: the wealthy Armando Moncada (Antonio Banderas) also preys on the gold. So the treasure hunt can begin.
In the games Nathan Drake is a lot older and his age difference is less with Sully. So here we get a different dynamic, and both men joke a lot about the age of the other. Mark Wahlberg is still an underrated comedic actor ( The Other Guys !), and the witty mission leader really suits him. Tom Holland is as likeable as ever, but his Nathan Drake is certainly not as memorable as his Peter Parker. Nathan is not really alive and apparently has no friends or other family, but still hopes that his brother will show up.
An adventure film certainly doesn’t have to have very deep characters, but if you want to add a franchise to it, it is allowed. Both actors also contribute in terms of stunts, but in the more emotional scenes the chemistry between them is not quite right. There is still a sparkle missing that Wahlberg, for example, has with Will Ferrell and Holland with Robert Downey Jr. Still, I really want to see another movie with these two.
The puzzle and adventure aspect of the film is certainly entertaining enough. The makers (director Ruben Fleischer of Zombieland and Venom and the three screenwriters) wisely chose many real (Spanish) locations such as Barcelona. They also give you some time to think along with the clues and occasionally build in credible danger. That’s also thanks to the supporting cast, especially Tati Gabrielle ( The 100 ) as hitman Braddock, who is allowed to direct an action movie himself. Antonio Banderas can play the role of evil rich man in his sleep, and you can see that a little bit. He can speak a lot of Spanish, so we appreciate that.
You might like Uncharted even better if you haven’t seen any trailers or TV spots. In it they showed so many images of one particular stunt (in an airplane) that the most impressive setup completely loses its novelty. A marketing choice that unfortunately happens more and more. Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg and Uncharted might be reasons enough for most people to watch. We don’t have to see the full movie yet.
That aside, there’s still room for improvement if there’s a second film, but Uncharted is an amusing, two-star amusing film that takes you to the sun to seek what we all want to find: the gold at the end of the rainbow. . Or just a night out where you can forget everything for a while, that’s also possible.