Starring Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Sophia Ali, Tati Gabrielle
From the director of “Venom” … need I say more. “Uncharted” is adapted from the Playstation video game of the same name. For those unfamiliar with the game, it’s just another modern day Indiana Jones. With the global success of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and a lack of film choices at the box office, “Uncharted” should quench the thirst for more Tom Holland.
However, don’t expect great writing, acting or anything beyond an overreliance on stunts and special effects. Holland and Mark Wahlberg have little chemistry on screen, with the rest of the cast inhabiting forgettable characters. Playing second fiddle to Spider-Man, Wahlberg gets dad jokes matching his bored expression throughout the film. For fans of the video game or children 10 and under, the cliches and tropes of the genre might not be so tiring as it is for adults.
Orphaned following the death of their parents, Sam (Rudy Pankow) abandons his 10-year-old brother for adventures, promising to return. Ten years later and on his own, Nate (Holland) has figured out his own path, a petty jewel thief disguised as a waiter. His luck changes when treasure hunter Victor Sullivan (Wahlberg) pays him a visit.
Claiming a connection to his brother, Sullivan presents evidence and clues to Ferdinand Magellan’s lost treasure that Sam talked about in their childhood. The two untrusting thieves set out on an adventure that begins at a prestigious art gallery and takes them through Spain and onto the Philippines. Nate must rely on postcards Sam sent over the years as clues leading to the next important location.
How many crash-and-burn video game adaptions do we have to watch fail before Hollywood realizes that video games should never be adapted into motion pictures?
The three screenwriters never find a way to rise above stereotypes that have been present for years. “Tomb Raider,” “National Treasure,” “The Thomas Crown Affair,” all are modern films about treasure and double-crossing that are referenced. In the script, Holland’s character mentions Indiana Jones by name, which is precisely why Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg turned down the offer to write the script on multiple occasions.
One of “Uncharted’s” most glaring obstacles is the lack of explanation in the puzzle the characters are trying to solve. Who is Magellan, why do we care, who had time to devise all these traps and keyholes back in the 1500s? The filmmakers seem to understand that children are going to be the only ones invested in this story and completely disregard logic in the plot.
Just when you think the ridiculous freefall (highly advertised in the trailer) is the lowest point in the film — not to mention the most questionable special effects — we get flying Spanish ships, intact from the 1500s if you can imagine that. Worse than the films lack of adventure, excitement or danger is its disinterest in creativity. Antonio Banderas’ character is thrown in the script for no real purpose, and while the female characters don’t serve as love interests, they are written as “eww, double-crossing girls”.
Little to learn from, even less to inspire, “Uncharted” sputters along on the fumes of Holland’s success with his other franchise, and would be well advised to let this one sink. How many crash-and-burn video game adaptions do we have to watch fail before Hollywood realizes that video games should never be adapted into motion pictures?
Uncharted is written with 10-year-olds in mind.