Uncharted does anything but chart new territory.
Throughout Uncharted’s dreary two-hour runtime, the character of Nathan Drake, played by Tom Holland, has a postcard his brother left him years ago. To him, it’s a simple memento of his lost sibling and a metaphor for his obsession with the past; but to the viewers, it’s not only the sign of a better movie, it’s also symbolic of this movie’s worst flaw.
Though the movie was based on video games with elements from other famous adventure genre movies, such as “Indiana Jones” and “The Mummy,” the influences were not done in a way to fit in with the big crowd. Instead, they were intended to add a sense of escapism and fast-paced action for the player.
While “Uncharted” works pretty well in the escapism department, its reliance on the past works goes against the movie’s forced morals and proves lost potential in a film that doesn’t go to any uncharted places.
Casting can make or break a movie, and it depends heavily on how accurate the actor or actress looks and conveys the feel of the character they play. The stars cast as Nathan and his mentor Sully, Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg respectively, felt immediately random upon the day of their casting, but the creative intentions were there.
Holland’s casting plays into the idea of this film being considered a prequel to the games. He was intended to play the younger and snappier version of Nathan before the weight of all of his treasure hunts fell on his shoulders. The role for Holland works significantly better on paper.
In addition to his charisma and likability, Holland seemed like an okay choice after all, with him even mentioning in an interview with IGN that he was a major fan of the games’ exciting atmosphere. But after seeing him and Wahlberg give their efforts to find Magellan’s lost gold before some rich baddies get to it first, my fears have been realized.
This is nothing against Holland, but his new take on Nathan doesn’t really sit well, especially when he has to work with a script worse than a plane jump. The script wants him to emulate Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones for a newer audience while also giving him a serious past involving his disappeared brother that caused him to resent the past as an unhappy bartender.
Simply put, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. For a well-known video game character such as Nathan Drake, the direction one takes in building out his character must be consistent.
Wahlberg’s performance of Sully isn’t much better, as his character is underdeveloped and only exists there to either accompany Drake to the next clue or drop one-liners that barely work at all.
Described as a “watered down product” by Raindance, video game adaptations often prove how some things work more efficiently on a console than the silver screen.
“Uncharted” provides varying results.
On one hand, they let you escape the world you’re in and remind you of how fun the games were—with even Collider spotting references like Nathan saying, “This is gonna suck” while jumping from a balcony.
On the other hand, a lack of technical realism that helped the games utilize a grounded tone is very absent. Alongside the feeling of the adventure movies that came before, these particular moments mix themselves with a noticeable green screen and the clean palette of a Marvel movie.
In scenes where Nathan is searching an underground tomb or swimming in a cave, he does get drenched in water and dirty from cobwebs, but a couple of seconds later, he’s already back to his well-dressed attire. For a movie that tried to be just like other films in its genre, it couldn’t even fully commit to what made those films visually unique and centered in reality despite the globe-trotting escapades.
For the record, don’t expect high scores from “Uncharted.” Although everyone seems to be having a good time and the production values show their talent, it just feels like a clone of what came before.
It’s very ironic how Nathan learns to accept the past in the course of his quest, when the film hypocritically can’t do its own thing and resort to older tropes. It ultimately makes this movie feel like another distraction instead of a clever homage to the PlayStation games, thus making its reputation lean much closer to game over.