Spoiler Review of Uncharted

As someone who has never before played any of the Uncharted video games, I feel unqualified to review the film when compared to the video game. Saying that qualifier gives me some freedom in my review to make some mistakes, I might not have played any of the games, but I did read the plots for the five main games of the series. The story for the film was borrowed from the various while incorporating adjustments to make Holland and Wahlberg fit better into their respective roles. If this is the first film in a new franchise that will continue for years, then I think it does its job as a fun beginning to the brotherhood between Nate and Sully. This film has flaws, we never get a proper backstory for our heroes, and I wish we got a backstory on Braddock. The film gives a short backstory on Nate, but it left about his history blank; this could have been done to leave room for future films, but the lack of depth did not make me like his character better. Sully was given an even emptier backstory, we know he was a pilot he was dishonorably discharged, and nobody who knows him trusts him. That does not appear to make his character very likeable, I wish at some point in the film Sully opened up more. The film's two main protagonists are not introduced in a way that makes them appear as heroes; Nate robs an innocent young woman, while Sully keeps information about Nate's brother to himself. Neither character feels like a hero; I know over the course of the film both make decisions that are selfless, but the film does not give me any reason to like either of these characters until halfway through the film.

Both Sully and Nate are characters I enjoyed by the end of the film, which was mainly due to their charm and charisma. The character of Braddock though started out good for me, but by the end of the film I did not find her an interesting character. Uncharted, despite the flaws in the way the characters were developed was a very fun and entertaining adventure film. The action was good, the pace of the film never lagged, and the action always jolted the film with a burst of excitement. The story borrowed a lot from the various Uncharted games, while also creating new things for the movie. The film borrows heavily from Indiana Jones, but where the games would add an element of supernatural (like Indiana Jones did) the film played things straight. In future sequels I do not expect that the films will always shy away from the supernatural, but I think for the first film they wanted to keep things grounded. The film featured two helicopters carrying two very old pirate ships over the ocean, so grounded when compared to zombies and monsters. There was a large chunk of the movie where Chloe (played by Sophia Ali) and Nate spent a lot of time together, and I thought they were building towards something. The romance was definitely there, but they used our expectations of a romance to set us up for Chloe's betrayals (two of them). I thought Ali and Holland had good chemistry with each other, I do believe that Chloe will appear in the sequels. When I was researching the video game storylines, I realized that Chloe is not Nate's romantic interest. The character of Chloe was a good addition to the film, she brought energy and intrigue to the film. 


The film opens with Tom Holland (Nathan Drake) waking up with his foot stuck in the cargo netting of a container hanging out the back of a flying airplane. Nate starts climbing back to the plane while fighting off henchmen, he makes it back to the plane, and just as he is safe, he is hit by car driving out of the back of the plane. We go back to Nate's childhood, Nate and his older brother Sam are breaking into a museum, they are looking at a map showing the Magellan's voyage. The brothers are caught by museum security, and they are brought back to the orphanage where they live, Sam is being kicked out due to his repeated offences. Sam not wanting to be arrested escapes the orphanage after saying goodbye to Nate, Sam says he will come back for Nate, and he gives Nate a family heirloom ring. We jump forward to 15 years later and Nate is now a bartender in New York, he supplements his income by stealing from the rich patrons of the bar. Victor "Sully" Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) catches him committing a theft and offers him a job, Sully needs Nate skills for a job he is planning. Sully gives Nate his card and leaves, Nate then realizes that Sully stole what Nate had stolen from a young woman at the bar. Nate goes to Sully's apartment to steal back the bracelet, while looking around he sees the same map of Magellan's voyage now in Sully's possession. Sully was waiting for Nate; Sully says he is looking for the gold that Magellan's crew had taken during their voyage. Sully also says that he was working with Sam before Sam went missing which is why he found Nate. Nate believing that Sully's journey could lead to riches and his missing lost brother will help Sully.

The mission is to recover a golden cross that will help access the missing gold, but they are not the only ones after the cross. Santiago Moncada (played by Antonio Banderas) is after the cross too, Moncada's family had financed Magellan's journey and now Santiago wants the gold that was promised to his family by Magellan. Moncada has hired Braddock (played by Tati Gabrielle) to help him secure the cross; Braddock has a history with Sully that has left her bitter towards him. The plan is for Nate to cut the power and for Sully to steal the cross while the power is off. Braddock not trusting Sully sends one her henchmen to follow Nate, the henchman prevents Nate from cutting the power. Nate tries to escape the henchman which causes the distraction Sully needed to steal the cross. Sully escapes with the cross leaving Nate to find his own way out of trouble which he does. Nate and Sully head to Barcelona to meet with Chloe who has the other cross, Chloe steals the cross from them, but she is forced to work with them since she doesn't know where to go next. Santiago's father has decided to donate the family fortune to charity; Santiago then has Braddock kill his father so he can. Nate has figured out the location and he leads them to a church where they use the two crosses as keys to open a secret passage. Nate and Chloe take the passage while Sully follows from street level as per the instructions in a diary belonging to a member of the Magellan's crew.

Braddock has followed Nate, Sully and Chloe to the church; she sends henchmen to follow Nate and Chloe while she follows Sully. Nate and Chloe fight off the henchmen and escape, but they become trapped in a room filling with water. Sully needs to access a keyhole built into a wall to drain the water to save Chloe and Nate, but Braddock arrives, and Sully needs to fight her. Sully eventually defeats Braddock and uses the key to drain the water allowing Chloe and Nate to continue the quest. Nate and Chloe enter a room that contains four giant jars that apparently contain sand (no gold), but when a jar breaks it reveals a map that suggests the treasure is hidden in the Philippines. Chloe then betrays Nate and Sully taking the map for herself; she then tells Nate that Sully lied about Sam being missing, she then knocks out Nate. Nate is awakened by Sully and Nate presses for information about Sam; Sully reveals that Sam is dead, he was killed by Braddock while Sully and him were searching for the diary. Sully saw Sam get shot, instead of helping Sam, he left him for dead since he had the diary; Nate is furious, but Sully says he is sorry. Nate agrees that to help Sully finish the adventure thar Sam and Sully started, but they need to find Chloe to do that.

Chloe brings the map to Moncada revealing that she too was hired by Santiago; Braddock is furious to learn that Moncada hired both her and Chloe. Sully suspected as much as he found Chloe by following Moncada; Nate and Sully sneak onto Moncada's plane by stowing away in the trunk of his classic red Mercedes. Moncada is briefing his team on the plan when Braddock slits his throat, during the killing Chloe snuck away. Braddock and her men are searching for Chloe when Nate and Sully start offloading the cargo containers from the plane. Sully gets his hands on the map, so he grabs a parachute and jumps off the plane. Nate gets his foot on the netting of a container, and he is sent out the plane. Nate fights his way back on the plane until he is hit by the red Mercedes which Chloe was driving off the plane to escape Braddock's men. Chloe and Nate are freefalling trying to grab onto a cargo container which has a parachute attached to it. They grab onto the container and pull the chute open; they land in the ocean and only make it to land when they see a beach belonging to a resort. In the room at the resort, Chloe and Nate are trying to figure out where the treasure is. Chloe thinks that Sam might have left a clue for Nate in the postcards Sam had been sending Nate, Sully had believed the same thing, but Nate did notice anything with the cards. They try for hours and get nowhere; Chloe gets tired and goes to bed; while Chloe was sleeping Nate figured it out. Nate remembers that Sam used to hide messages that could only revealed by a flame, when Nate puts the cards over a candle a secret message is revealed. The secret message Sam left is that the crosses are to be used as markers which will reveal the location of the treasure. 

Braddock trusting Chloe's analysis of the map on Moncada's plane leads Braddock and her men to the wrong location. Nate goes to bed, but he leaves out a different set of coordinates in case Chloe decides to betray him again, which she does. Nate wakes up alone in the room with Chloe having taken the coordinates Nate left out. Nate takes a boat, and heads to the real coordinates; but on his way there Braddock sees him and realizes she is at the wrong place. Nate arrives at a cave which contains two large old ships, Sully arrives saying he was tracking Nate believing that Nate would figure things out. Nate and Sully find the gold on the ship, but Braddock and her men arrive forcing Sully and Nate to hide. Braddock intends to airlift the ships out of the cave using helicopters; Nate and Sully decide to take one of the ships. Sully will climb up to the helicopter and take over as the pilot while Nate will clear the ship of henchmen. Braddock realizes that Sully has taken one of the ships and she pursues him, they chase with ends with Braddock jumping onto to Sully and Nate's ship while her crashes. Nate and Braddock fight with Sully giving up his bag of gold to knock Braddock off the ship and into the ocean where the large ship crashes on top of her. Nate and Sully leave empty handed and see Chloe on their escape, Nate though did manage to fill his pockets with gold before he left the ship. There are two post credit scenes in the film. The first scene involves seeing a haggard looking Sam (he is still alive) writing Nate another post card while in some scummy looking prison. The second scene involves Nate doing a deal with an eye-patch wearing villainous looking character named Gage (played by Pilou Asbaek). Gage attempts to betray Nate, but Sully arrives (now sporting a mustache) to save Nate; they leave and when they get outside, they see something off screen that makes them nervous as the films ends.


The video game series fans might not be too thrilled with how faithful this adaption of the game was, but as a movie goer with no loyalty to the game thought the movie was good. If Uncharted is the first film in a series than I think it succeeded. The backstory for out heroes can wait to be explored in future sequels, I do get the feeling that Sony was intent on making more Uncharted films even before this film came out. They have to stars on the project, the film's two post credit scenes that set up sequels, and they left so much more to explored. It was a bold move to not introduce Nate's eventual romantic interest in this film, there is confidence when you don't need to rush to tell a story. I think Uncharted benefitted from keeping things simple, they did not try to introduce too many characters or backstories. Uncharted is a simple and fun adventure film that is easy to enjoy, it is not perfect but when compared to other video game adaptations it is quite good. The Uncharted games strike me as fun, and the movie I think more or less captured the tone (at least I think it based on my very limited experience with the franchise). There has been so many video game to film adaptations that maybe I am just grading Uncharted on a curve.

Not all movies made from video games are bad, there are some I will talk about shortly that I really enjoy, but a majority of them suck. I think more recently we have seen them start to get better at taking the heart of the game and basing the film around that. I think too much is made about how bad the adaptations are, I think they have been okay (though some really stink look up Uwe Boll's filmography). The Tomb Raider starring Alicia Vikander from 2018 is a recent example of something that did not work (at least not for me). I thought that Tomb Raider was too serious, it took its plot from the Tomb Raider video game reboot. I liked Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City film, it was entertaining as it captured the atmosphere of the game while also being entertaining to watch. I really liked Warcraft, I have never played the game; but I thought the movie was very entertaining, and it is a shame we will never get a sequel. Just for context I thought the first Resident Evil film from 2002 is good, and I also really liked Doom (I know it is bad). Uncharted is probably not the best video game movie, but it is in the upper echelon of the genre. I want to grade this film based on its own merits rather than grading it based on other vide game to film adaptations. 

The Uncharted franchise of games has long seemed a fit for making into a movie, it took a long time to get made, but I think it was worth the wait. The Uncharted games borrow heavily from Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider, but they also created their own characters and universe. I hope that one day I get a PlayStation just so I can play the exclusive games for that console which includes the Uncharted franchise. While I do not believe that Tom Holland is at the movie star level yet, I do think he is proving to be charismatic and likeable. Mark Wahlberg is a movie star, and he uses his charisma to full effect in the movie to make his very sleazy character likeable. The chemistry between Nate, Sully and Chloe was great, without the good chemistry the tone of the film would not have been as fun. All three of them at different points in the film will betray one another, which is not exactly the actions of heroes. Sully and Chloe seemed to be people that will betray you, and while Chloe fulfilled her destiny Sully was able to do the right thing. Sully and Chloe were in this for money, but Nate was more interested in the finding his brother and solving the mystery. 

I am going to give Uncharted a 7/10; it is a very fun and adventurous movie that was better than I expected. I wish the film not killed off Santiago so early, after his death the film struggled to find an interesting antagonist. The movie worked because of the fun tone of the film, the chemistry between the stars of the film made the movie incredibly entertaining. It was a good first film in what I hope will be a long-running franchise; there is so much room for the series to grow in future films. The end of credits scenes set up a couple of interesting plot points for the sequel to explore, it might be a few years before we see Sully and Nate again, but I am already excited. As far video game to film adaptations, I think Uncharted is easily one of the better films even though it is simple fun that does not make you think very hard. If you want to watch something that will keep you entertained and make you laugh than I feel that Uncharted will be a movie you will enjoy.

Thank you for reading my review of Uncharted; please tell me what you thought of the film, and what is your favourite video game to film adaptation.

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