Uncharted Film Review – The furthering of movie adaptations from video games is something that clearly, platform holders, publishers, and any popular IP holder for that matter – alike, want.
Ever since people saw it could be done with Detective Pikachu and then, the first Sonic film. The race to create a great film franchise based off a video game was on.
SEGA has a bit of a head start, but PlayStation Productions is looking to catch up with Uncharted. A film adaptation of Naughty Dog’s classic series starring Nathan Drake and friends journeying across the world in search of treasure.
This adaptation stars Tom Holland in the shoes of Nate, while Mark Wahlberg takes on the role of Victor Sullivan, and Sophia Ali as everyone’s favourite, Chloe Frazer.
So as everyone seems to be rushing to create their own film franchises, how does Uncharted fair in its first outing? Is it as much fun as taruhan-olahraga.com/
Unfortunately, this adaptation is more “charted” territory than anything. Also, spoiler warning here, just so you’re aware.
Uncharted Film Review – Charted Territory
Well This Feels Familiar
Firstly, some background on my Uncharted history. I’ve been playing the games since their original PS3 launches, falling in love with the series first through Uncharted 2, then diving back into the first one, and then playing each subsequent release as they came out.
I’ve played each title multiple times, and have grown to appreciate and adore the memories, and adventures I cherish whenever I look back on them. Even now, playing Uncharted 4 through the latest PS5 update still brings back the same feelings I had when playing it for the first time.
All this to say that I have played the games a lot, and that I’m almost overly familiar with these characters, their issues, their quirks, and what makes them great.
I was excited at the prospect of an adaptation, because I thought it would fit the franchise well. These characters, the spectacle set-pieces, the adventure, all popped on screen at home, and it’d surely shine on the big screen.
Or so I thought.
Director Reuben Fleischer’s take on Uncharted along with writers Rafe Judkins and Matt Holloway presents itself as a new kind of origin story for Drake.
Beginning with Drake hanging off a cargo box that is flailing out of a plane thousands of meters above the ground is definitely charted territory for fans of the franchise, but it still works to set the stage well.
I’ll be upfront in that I don’t think this film succeeds in a lot of ways, but it does at least in moments. Taking the concept of Uncharted 2’s opening and applying it to Uncharted 3’s main spectacle scene does work as an exciting opening, that feels familiar in the best way for an Uncharted fan.
There are other moments like that scattered throughout the film, though they’re all just as fleeting and only come during heavy action sequences.
Where it felt devoid of not just any sort of Uncharted-ness, but of character, was in each scene between the action.
“Quite Good Lite Entertainment”
While the film lacked any originality that was cause for excitement, there is something to be said for what it did achieve. “Quite good lite entertainment” is the review my friend’s grandmother gave Uncharted after she spent her day at the cinema to watch it, and I find it difficult to disagree.
Going to see this film as an Uncharted fan put plenty of expectations and biases in me. Those like my friend’s grandmother, who has not played the Uncharted series, went in with none of that. So on the surface, I understand why she walked away feeling like she did.
She’s not alone in that, as I’ve heard from other people in the same boat of having not played the games, that they generally enjoy the film just as some lite entertainment.
Though action sequences don’t climb to the level of something akin to the amazement of Mad Max, they can be entertaining, and as previously mentioned it is in these moments where the film really captures the tone of Uncharted.
So in that case I guess, it does succeed. But the film still lacks a certain depth to the characters that the games have, which is still disappointing.
There just wasn’t any time to slowdown, and learn about these characters. The first part of the film feels like nothing more than a rush to get to the point where Drake says “So when do we start?” in order to kick the plot off.
It was also disappointing to see that Holland was right to warn us about this film. His performance actually does feel like he’s more concerned directly about how he looks in the shot than actually being in the scene.
The strong presence that he’s been able to bring to his work before simply wasn’t there. It can almost make you do a double take, as he’s able to make a teenager with super-human powers feel more relatable than just someone with a tough life who had a dream of doing something with his brother.
The pacing kept up until it felt like it felt like it didn’t know how to end, so it just did. There’s a predictable cliffhanger, a small attempt at fan service, and then that’s it.
Calling it anti-climactic even feels like an understatement, and that goes particularly for the films ending.
Familiar In A Good Way
Before jumping ahead to the ending however, I want to talk about one of the few things I did like about the film, those mainly being the two villains played by Antonio Banderas and Tati Gabrielle – but most importantly, is Sophia Ali’s excellent Chloe Frazer.
Whereas Wahlberg’s characterization of Sully felt like a shallow portrayal, Ali’s Chloe Frazer is straight into the deep end. She perfectly captured Chloe, and scenes like her conversation with Drake regarding her father made for one of the best emotional moments in the film.
The two villains, played by Banderas and Gabrielle, together, felt like a great pair of Uncharted villains. Though the ending does rather spoil that, they both had that element to them that made it enticing to see what they’d do next, no matter how dark.
In truth, having Gabrielle’s character kill Banderas is very in tune with the spirit of Uncharted. But I couldn’t help feel like the tension between the two added another layer of stakes, and it would have been interesting to see them both wind up comically dead, rather than only one funny death.
What is consistent however about my feelings for each of these characters, is that the performance given by each actor is to be commended. I’ve been watching Antonio Banderas for years, and he never fails to disappoint me.
Tati Gabrielle and Sophia Ali were just as fun and entertaining to watch. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say those three actors are where much of the “quite good” comes in when describing Uncharted.
Now to the ending, which I can only describe as painfully silly. It’s not particularly fun to watch, and any suspense or tension the final act meant to convey fell flat.
There’s just something so silly about two old, massive wooden ships filled with gold being flung through the air like a couple of wrecking balls.
The whole sequence was wrapped up in its silliness as we see the completion of Sully’s character arc – that he finally showed he cared about something other than money.
That’s not inherently a terrible arc, but it felt like the most shallow read of who Sully was in his life before meeting Nate.
Once the treasure they were searching for is found and then once again lost (at least lost to our heroes), that’s the film. Credits roll, and it couldn’t have felt more abrupt if it was just a cut to black.
As bad as this movie is, its frustratingly mediocre enough that it can get by, enough to warrant a sequel. And perhaps that will be better, because that’s certainly how it went for Naughty Dog.
While the first game wasn’t this bad, the second was a huge leap forward.
Perhaps that’ll happen with the films. Though it’s unfortunate to have to suffer through a weak origin story that lacks the depth of its source material, just to get to a potentially better sequel.
Still, as a fan of this franchise and these characters I can’t help but hope for the best. “Greatness from small beginnings”, and all that.