It’s not the best video game movie out there, but it’s good to see that gamers are finally getting average adaptations for their beloved franchises.
Loosely (and I mean loosely) based on the Playstation video game series of the same name, Uncharted follows protagonist Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) and his partner in crime Victor Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) as they set off on a globe-spanning adventure in search of the lost treasure of Magellan. Pursued by an evil businessman named Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas) who also happens to be looking for the treasure, Nathan and Sully must contend with continued plays on their lives as they dodge a ruthless group of mercenaries hellbent on taking them down. And as the pair get closer and closer to their goal, their mission gets more and more dangerous, leading them on an adventure they won’t soon forget.
I have to say, this movie could have been an absolute train wreck, but as it is, it’s more of a bumpy ride than anything else. And while this is most definitely one of the better video game adaptations around, there’s still a lot to be desired, but at least we’re on the right track!
Full of action, adventure, and a much-needed sense of humor, Uncharted cherry-picks elements from the popular game series to help it soar, but at the same time, makes some head-scratching changes to what made these games so great, to begin with. Giving audiences a bevy of big set pieces to enjoy (specifically one that’s been ripped straight from the third game of the series) yet fudging the characterization of the main leads more than what’s necessary for the transition to the silver screen, Uncharted does more good than bad, but can never truly shake itself from the “play it safe” feeling of most of what we see onscreen.
Fitting their roles fairly well despite the aforementioned characterization problems, Holland and Wahlberg play off each other better than expected, with their relationship acting as the beating heart of a story that’s serviceable at best, yet still fun enough to enjoy when it comes down to it. Mixing in some real stunt work with enough of a blockbuster mentality to entertain, Uncharted does its best not to phone everything in, but the overall lack of a truly consequential story, the looseness of the adaptation as a whole, and a filmmaking vision that seems to be a bit held back at times ensure that this film never rises above an average level, yet also never falls below it.
So while we still aren’t at a point where I can call this or any other video game adaptation released in recent memory a full-blown success, Uncharted tries to at least buck the mediocrity of the genre in ways that I can only hope will become the norm for these types of films moving forward. Uncharted does enough right to warrant a sequel, but it still needs to iron out more than a few problems to ensure that this franchise doesn’t become a forgettable adventure series.