This month I’m taking a break from sharing my top picks or recent watches to share a beautiful disaster of a film — “Uncharted.”
On Feb. 18, writers Art Marcum, Matt Holloway and Rafe Judkins released a film that would soon convince me to never watch a movie they scripted ever again.
I had been beyond excited to watch this new blockbuster starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg. The trailer was reminiscent of the 2004 movie, “National Treasure,” whose title self-describes not only the contents of the film but also what it has become to pop culture.
Unfortunately, that was the only similarity.
The film opens in a similar way to a YouTube video trying to capture your attention by playing the scene with the highest stakes at the very beginning, eliminating all suspense.
“Uncharted” is an action-packed treasure hunt film based on the video game with the same name released in 2007.
In an orphanage in Boston, Nate and Sam Drake have become obsessed with the lost treasure of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. However, Sam gets in trouble one too many times, leading him to make a daring escape from the orphanage and leaving Nate behind. Sam promises he is going to find Magellan’s treasure and reunite with Nate in the future.
For years, Nate (played by Holland) waits on his brother, going through his monotonous daily routine, looking for Sam whenever he’s in a familiar place. At least, I would think this is what happened. The movie doesn’t tell us.
Instead, we jump right into the action. Nate is working at a bar, which is just another problematic moment of this film found in the first 20 minutes. According to the video game, at this point in the story, Nate is supposedly 15 years old. How then, I wonder, is he working at a bar? How is he even in the workforce? Don’t worry, these questions are left unanswered.
Just a short moment later, Wahlberg strolls in playing Victor Sullivan, otherwise known as “Sully,” and just happens to have his eye on our friend Nate. With some sleight of hand, Sully manages to slide his business card into Nate’s pocket, and it only takes that one magic trick for Nate to go to this man’s house.
It turns out Sully has been looking for the Magellan treasure as well and needs Nate’s help. Nate is cautious for all of two minutes until Sully says that he knows Nate’s brother Sam. Then, he’s fully on board.
If I learned anything from this movie, it’s that if a complete stranger knows the name of my sibling, then they are completely trustworthy and definitely safe to go on a cross-country treasure hunt with that very same week.
All of this happens within the first half hour, leaving the rest of the film full of clues and narrow escapes. However, the characters solve every clue with little to no hesitation. There’s no ruminating or creative thinking; the characters simply read a clue and solve it the next minute. While it’s fun to follow a mysterious treasure along with characters on screen, there is no satisfaction when the clue is solved.
In the game, these puzzles require the player to solve them which creates suspense and excitement for what comes next. If they had added some of that deliberation into the film, I honestly might have enjoyed it a lot more.
What was truly the worst part of this film was the script. I hate characters that are witty every time they open their mouths. That’s just not realistic, and after the first quip, it just gets old.
What’s worse is that in an article for the Imagine Games Network (IGN), one of the largest video game journalism sources, Holland said, “I read the newest draft of the script on the way over here and it's one of the best scripts I've ever read. It really, really jumps off the page.”
For me, the script jumps off the page and then falls right into the trash can.
This is just the beginning of my qualms with this movie, but I’ve got to stop talking about this film now if I want to have a good rest of my day or even a good rest of my week.
Perhaps if I had played the video game, I might have liked this film more, but even then, I have a feeling I would still give it less than two stars. If you liked the film, please come find me and I’ll tell you more reasons why you’re wrong.
Next month, I promise to talk about some good films.