Who doesn’t want to find buried or hidden treasures? I’ve never played the Naughty Dog action-adventure experience, but if it is as fun as watching the Sony Picture action-adventure film “Uncharted,” I’d be willing to give it a whirl. Seen in 4DX at the LA Live Regal in downtown Los Angeles, this film was good clean fun with a little bit of history and sightseeing added to the mix.
In the beginning, we meet Nathan (Tom Holland) who is curiously floating in the air, but it turns out he’s falling along with massive loads that have parachutes. There’s also a lovely red sports car involved. Then we flashback to Nathan (Tiernan Jones) ten years ago, when he was a young kid breaking into a museum with his older brother Sam (Rudy Pankow). Their plan is to steal the original map made recording the Magellan expedition. They’ve heard a legend about lost gold from the expedition.
When they get caught, Sam is destined for juvenile delinquency custody, but young Sam is going back to the orphanage. Sam escapes, but swears he will return for Nathan, giving Nathan a ring which once belonged to their ancestor, Sir Francis Drake, on a leather string. Yet Nathan ends up working as a bartender and pickpocketing valuables on the side. Into his bar comes an old friend of Sam’s, Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg).
Sully recruits Nathan to help him acquire one of the two golden crosses connected to the Magellan expedition. The item is up for auction and the last descendant of the Moncada family who backed Magellan’s journey, Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas), is bidding on the cross as well. Santiago doesn’t have the approval of his father who believes the hunt for Magellan’s gold is a folly, but he does have an old foe of Sully’s on his team: Jo Braddock (Tati Gabrielle).
Sully hasn’t told Nathan the whole truth about Sam nor the other golden cross. And that brings fellow fortune hunter Chloe Frazer (Pakistani American Sophia Ali) into the hunt.
People will be double-crossed on the way to finding what is not lost, but just needs to be found. There will be a mid-credit scene dealing with a prison. Be sure to stay for that.
History: Francis Drake
Francis Drake (1540-1595) was an English explorer, naval officer, politician, privateer, slave trader and pirate. Elizabeth I knighted him in 1581 and he lead the English into a victorious battle against the Spanish Armada in 1588. While he was a hero to the English, he was considered a private to the Spanish and the Spanish King Phillip II put a bounty on his head.
He was married twice. The first time to Mary Newman, from 1569 to 1581 (her death). He married Elizabeth Sydenham in 1585. There is no record of him having children by either wife.
Drake died of dysentery in what is now Panama (Portobelo, Colón, Panama) while at war with the Spanish in the New World. He was looking for the western route to the Spice Islands (modern Indonesia). Cloves was a valuable spice during that time period. According to History.com, this was because it was believed to improve vision, reliever fevers and…enhance sexual intercourse. I’m guessing that the latter is the reason why it was considered so precious. Other spices widely used were cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper.
History: Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521) was born in Portugal, but stalled from Spain in 1519 with a fleet of five ships and 270 men. Magellan initially sought the support of King Manuel of Portugal, but was refused. Magellan then renounced his Portuguese citizenship and moved to Spain. In Seville, he met another Portuguese transplant, Diogo Barbosa, and eventually married Barbosa’s daughter. The Barbosa family helped Magellan secure an appointment with the king of Spain, King Charles I. The king gave Magellan his support. At the time, Portugal and Spain were the leading competing interests in the spice trade.
Magellan left on 10 August 1519, leaving his wife and young son behind. Of the five ships–Trinidad, San Antonio, the Conception, the Victoria and Santiago–only the Victoria would return three years later with only 18 of the original crew. The Santiago was shipwrecked in a storm. The San Antonio would turn back.
Magellan traveled from Spain to South America, traversing what is now called the Strait of Magellan, crossed the Pacific Ocean to Guam (March 1521). The fleet then continued on to the Philippines, landing on Cebu. He was asked to aid in inter-island warfare and agreed, leading the attack. He was shot with a poisoned arrow and died 27 April 1521.
The Victoria continued on to the Moluccas (5 November 1521) and in September 1522 returned to Spain. Magellan’s voyage showed that the western route was too long to be practical for trade with the so-called Spice Islands. The voyage further discredited the flat earth theory and indicated the world was much larger than had been previously thought.
There was an actual House of Montcada or Moncada.
The Golden Question
In “Uncharted,” the question of what is treasure is more complex than one assumes. Ultimately, in the 21st century, our treasure hunters, Sully and Nathan, are after gold. But as noted above Magellan actually under took his voyage for spices. Nathan notes that cloves were important, but not that so was salt. According to History.com, Roman soldiers were often paid in salt, in Ancient Greece, slaves were were traded for salt (“worth his salt”) and during the 16th century, London dockworkers were given their bonuses in cloves. Keep this in mind, while watching “Uncharted.”
In the US, the California gold rush (1848-1855) is well-known. But gold is found elsewhere, including the Philippines.
- Philippines: Gold
However, gold is soft and heavy. It was not really used to make shields and according to MedievalChronicles.com, shields became obsolete due to guns. A modern gun should be more than a match for a shield. Materials like bronze, brass and steal would tarnish.
Holland and Wahlberg have good chemistry–not exactly buddies, but close to mentor and student. The student still has a few tricks up his sleeves. Banderas oozes slippery morals. Frazer and Gabrielle have strong presence although Gabrielle’s Braddock doesn’t always dress in the most practical way.
Overall, this was a fun film, made even better by experiencing it in 4DX. There is gruesome murder, but the cinematography doesn’t go in to glory in the grossness. I could have used a lot more water, in the 4DX experience, but that’s a minor quibble.