Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) and his older brother Sam are raised in a Boston Catholic orphanage. They are both addicted to stories of treasure and consider themselves descendants of the captain and pirate Francis Drake. At some point, they enter the exhibition, where the map of the first circumnavigation of Magellan is kept, they are caught by the police, Sam is threatened with arrest, and he runs away from the orphanage to avoid prison.
Ten years later, Nathan works as a bartender, deftly stealing jewelry from visitors. One evening in a bar, he meets a certain Victor Sullivan, nicknamed “Sully” (Mark Wahlberg). Sully reveals that he is after Magellan’s treasure, which he believes is somewhere in the Philippines. And he invites Nathan to join him for a share in what he found. Sally explains that he chose Nathan because he knew his brother Sam, who gave him some clues.
To get the rest of the clues, you need two keys: Sally already owns one key, the other will be put up for auction. Sally knows he can’t buy this key because a very rich man named Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas) is also after the key, and then he devises a plan for him and Nathan to get hold of this second key during the auction.
Uncharted is a famous series of games by Naughty Dog studio, which was launched for the Sony PlayStation 3 console in 2007. It features a distant descendant of Francis Drake, adventurer Nathan Drake, whose character is clearly based on Indiana Jones: Nathan is both an archaeologist and an action hero, while he is very cheerful and loves to joke. The game requires you to solve simple puzzles, run through all sorts of ancient ruins, jump, fight and shoot.
To create a film based on this series of games, Sony conceived back in 2008: the development of the project was started by Columbia Pictures, the studio hired screenwriters Thomas Dean Donnelly (script for “Sugar”) and Joshua Oppenheimer, appointed producers and the project started. Actor Nathan Fillion immediately expressed his interest in playing the role of Drake, and in this he was supported by many fans of the game.
Here, look at Nathan Drake from the game – he even looks a bit like Fillion.
However, director David Russell, at that time assigned to the project, did not consider it a good idea to invite Drake Fillion to the role. In 2010, David Russell released a very worthy sports drama The Fighter with Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg, so it was Wahlberg who was planned by Russell for the role of Nathan. Also then, there were rumors, confirmed by Wahlberg, that in addition to him, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Scarlett Johansson and Amy Adams would play in the film.
But in May 2011, David Russell left the project due to “creative differences” with the studio, and he became the first of as many as six directors to be credited to the project and then leave.
In 2012, the studio hired Marianne and Cormac Wibberley to write the screenplay for National Treasure.
In 2013, the studio tried to offer Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg to work on the script, but they refused, because, in their opinion, it would just be an imitation of Indiana Jones, and they did not know how to do it without imitation.
In 2014, Seth Gordon was appointed as the director, and David Guggenheim, the author of the Bad Boys script, was appointed as the screenwriter. In November 2014, the role of Drake was offered to Chris Pratt, but he turned it down in favor of Guardians of the Galaxy.
In 2015, a Sony Pictures email hack revealed that management sees Uncharted as a kind of “Lara Croft” with a few Dan Brown additions. Mark Wahlberg was again named as Drake, and there was even a payment of $15 million.
In 2016, director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum) and writer for The A-Team were hired.
In 2017, it was announced that Tom Holland had been cast as Nathan Drake, and that the new film would be more of a prequel to the game series because Nathan is noticeably older in the games.
In 2018, a 14-minute fan film based on Uncharted by Canadian director Allagn Ungar was released, in which Nathan Fillion played Drake, Stephen Lang played Sally and Mirchi Monroe played Elena. (Here’s the version with United Statesn voice acting.) Fans of the game praised the short very much, it currently has more than 11 million views.
At the end of 2018, director Shawn Levy dropped out of the project, who went to stage a film about video games “Protagonist”.
In the spring of 2019, Dan Trachtenberg became the director: he is a big fan of this series of games, and the director of the Uncharted game said that he was delighted with this candidacy. At the same time, rumors spread that Chris Pine, Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey and Bryan Cranston were being considered for the role of Sally.
In the fall of 2019 – you will laugh – Dan Trachtenberg left and Travis Knight, who directed Bumblebee’s Transformers, became the director. At the same time, there were rumors that Mark Wahlberg would play Sally.
Well, in January 2020, Ruben Fleischer, who directed the film “Venom” for Sony, was appointed to the director’s post. Let me remind you that Fleischer also directed a very vague action movie “Gangster Busters” and a nice parody comedy “Welcome to Zombieland”.
They were supposed to start shooting the picture in March 2020 and … in general, the shooting was postponed, but after seven months they still started, and on February 18, 2022, the picture finally came out on the screens (two months after the release new Spider-Man with Holland), having gone through what is commonly referred to as “production hell” since 2008. The budget of the picture was not announced, but for such long-term construction projects, the budget is usually greatly inflated due to pre-production costs: all these script options and preliminary developments do not cost a penny at all, and they take specific millions, especially when it all drags on for 14 years.
Movies based on video games are rarely successful: there are many examples of concrete failures, and very high-profile ones. Nevertheless, studios continue to invest in such projects, because the temptation to attract the fan base of a popular game to cinemas is too high. And here’s the fan base – wow, what a fan base: over 30 million copies of this game have been sold in all time.
But at the same time, the fans of the corresponding game are also the most bitter critics of such films, because if the creators of the picture somehow go against the canon, the fans are ready to strangle them for it.
Here, in general, they immediately went against the canon, making Nathan Drake much younger than the character in the games, but this was announced as a prequel, and for fans, the creators of the picture included many episodes from the plots of various Uncharted releases: Sam’s story, escape from the plane, crosses – keys to the treasure, family ring engraved with Sic parvis magna. Also in a short and funny cameo in the film, actor Nolan North appeared, voicing Drake in all four parts of Uncharted.
So what did they get as a result? They ended up with a rather funny and dynamic adventure action movie with a clear comedic twist. No realism spent the night here, and we didn’t expect it in a picture based on a video game, at least by some laws of physics the filmmakers didn’t take a steam bath in the same way as in Fast and Furious, but Ancharted fulfills its task – it’s easy entertaining Adventure movie, quite well staged and played.
The main characters amusingly bicker with each other, periodically try to “throw” each other (each for himself, baby, each for himself), turn on a thinker, solve riddles, fight all sorts of bad men and women, well, and touchingly believe that when Someday they will definitely find this treasure, while trying not to think that the treasure still belongs to the government of the Philippines, so why are they, in fact, tearing themselves up like that, constantly risking various valuable body parts?
Tom Holland here, of course, is not “Indiana Jones” at all, he is just such a “guy next door” who has mastered all sorts of useful tricks, such as the ability to steal, run fast, parkour (the actor himself is a real parkourer), fight and shoot, and we let’s not ask where Nathan learned all this while working as a bartender in New York: you never know, maybe he went to some courses. Holland played well, showed excellent physical shape and, as a young hero of an adventure film, was quite in place.
The character of Mark Wahlberg was not very clearly developed: at first it seemed that it was most important for him to find the treasure and get out with it, but in the course of the film he proved that he was not a petty mercantile kyu, and that he actually had a big heart (cat Bublik immediately remembered “Boogie Nights”, where Wahlberg also had something very big), and Wahlberg Sally played quite decently, the on-screen couple with Holland turned out to be quite harmonious.
Here, Antonio Banderas had little chance to turn around, because Santiago Moncada is scripted – the character is somehow completely cardboard, plus he also selects staff poorly, and this is sometimes deadly. But Banderas did everything he could here, Bagel and I will not throw a stone at him for this film. However, we will not throw a gold bar either, no.
Loved Sophia Taylor Ali as Chloe Fraser, who is recruited by Sally to join their team. A spectacular actress, an excellent student in combat and physical training, so the group of swindlers with her appearance was replenished with a valuable shot. And that Chloe pursued her own interests here – well, they all pursued something here, but pursued, so what claims?
So Bublik and I liked it, even very much. However, this film is scolded by critics with might and main, and almost all Western criticism scolds, United Statesn-speaking – the middle half. Some United Statesn-speaking critics even write about the film’s obvious budget, with which I don’t agree at all: Ancharted, in terms of scenery and special effects, is one hundred percent like a full-fledged blockbuster – a solid budget is clearly visible in the picture, and it raised a lot of money not bad.
Stealing the key from the auction, running around Barcelona, the scene on the plane and especially outside it, well, the final ships and helicopters – this is done on a grand scale. Yes, there is enough cartoonishness in some places, but, excuse me, in the ninth afterburner there is even more cartoonishness, and it has a budget of $200 million. Maybe these critics were just watching the film on the screen? Because I watched it at the cinema, and it made an excellent impression there, everything is in order with its entertainment.
In the post-credits scene, an application for a sequel was made – we hope that it will follow, I would not refuse to look at the same group of swindlers in the sequel. Do you know how many treasures all over the world are buried? Shoot do not reshoot!
Uncharted: Not on the cards / Uncharted review
Director: Ruben Fleischer Cast: Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Antonio Banderas, Sophia Taylor Ali, Tati Gabriel, Stephen Waddington, Pingy Moli, Tiernan Jones, Rudy Pankow, Jesus Evita
Worldwide gross: $337 million
Action adventure, USA-Spain, 2022, 115 min.