Uncharted Goes Off Course from Goonies, Indiana Jones

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Uncharted Blu-ray

When I sat down to watch Uncharted, it was without any expectations set by the video game franchise upon which the film is based. That is because I was unaware of this game franchise until after I watched the film and got into the special features. Thus unencumbered, I perhaps enjoyed the film a bit more than established fans may have, adaptations seemingly falling victim to perennial disappointment.

Tom Holland (Spider-Man: No Way Home) plays the role of Nathan Drake, a pickpocket with bartending skills right out of Cocktail. He's also a bit of a history buff, believing himself to be a descendent of the great explorer, Sir Francis Drake. He was told this at a young age by his brother, who was raised with him in an orphanage before escaping a police charge for a museum theft he and Nathan pulled as juveniles.

Nathan has been looking for his brother ever since. And when another thief, Victor Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg, Infinite) approaches him with a deal to find -- and steal -- the lost gold of Magellan, Nathan accepts the offer largely based on Sullivan's claims that he had worked with his brother on this very treasure hunt. What ensues is a globe-trotting following of clues that borrows elements from Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Goonies, and The DaVinci Code, as the team races against a ruthless competitor, Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas), who has a family claim on the treasure. Moncada has hired a deadly assistant named Braddock (Tati Gabrielle), who has apparently worked with or against Sullivan on previous adventures, so we're left unsure for much of the movie how their relationship stands in regards to the current quest.

As far as quest devices go, Uncharted delivers on some interesting tropes involving puzzles, keys, and hidden maps. However, the closer the movie gets to the payoff, the less believable it becomes, and I couldn't decide whether I needed more from the story, or less.

The film does end with some dangling threads that could lead into sequel territory, as we are given some last-minute and post-credit clues as to the whereabouts of Nathan's brother. And for the fans of the game, there's a decent Easter egg scene that was so obviously an Easter egg that it prompted me to look up what I was missing about it: it's a cameo with Nolan North, who gives voice to the Nathan Drake character in the video games.

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3.5 / 5.0