Directed by Ruben Fleischer, Uncharted tells the story of young Nathan Drake and his first adventure with Sully trying to find a treasure Nate’s older brother was once looking for.
Treasure adventure movies are fun and always have been. You don’t necessarily need an amazing script to make a fun adventure movie. Rather, what you need more than an amazing script is fun characters and a good backstory to the treasure itself. Uncharted has one of those. But it’s enough to make it a fun watch and even though it’s nowhere close to the games, I couldn’t help but enjoy myself.
Peter and Mark
Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg have incredible chemistry. If not as Drake and Sully, then at least as characters that slightly resemble their video game counterparts. Tom Holland’s Drake has hints and traces of the Drake we know but it’s more of just being a mature version of Peter. And that’s fine. Mark Wahlberg’s Sully is in a similar boat. However, that never makes them less fun to watch. However, even though they’re not close to their video game characters, they don’t necessarily feel like their own either. Tom’s Drake feels slightly more realized than Wahlberg’s Sully, but both will need some work if this franchise hopes to continue (which it does). They have some great banter, some good emotional moments and complement each other well.
What is even better than these characters, are the stunts and visual effects. Tom Holland does a considerable number of stunts himself with long takes that make it impossible for him to not be in them. And even when it’s not Tom, it’s edited well enough for you to not notice. This goes for both his body and CG doubles. This movie has some great visual effects on both the full CG shots and partial green screen work. But what this movie gets right even more is the stunt choreography. There is such a satisfying weight and thump to every hit that makes it feel surprisingly brutal for a PG-13 movie. I guess that’s expected from the director of Zombieland. There were moments that genuinely had me excited and laughing at how brutally silly some stunts were and I’ll probably remember them the most fondly.
The script is undoubtedly the weakest link. I don’t think I still know where the treasure really came from and what it really meant. It’s addressed in exposition, but the movie never really makes us care about it apart from it being a bunch of gold. Besides that, characters just go from one place to the next because they need to, which is not entirely inappropriate for this movie. But unlike National Treasure or Tintin, I never really felt like I understood more about the lore or what they were looking for. I look forward to a more realized world and characters in the next installment.
Uncharted is just a lot of fun to be dismissed as another bad video game movie. Tom Holland’s chemistry with Mark Wahlberg is probably the highlight supported by some very good stunt work and visual effects.