MOVIE REVIEW: Uncharted

Synopsis: Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) has grown up his whole life fascinated by history and the treasures of the old world that have been lost to time. Nate is recruited by veteran treasure hunter Victor “Sully” Sullivan to find the lost treasure of Ferdinand Magellan, worth $5 billion, before it is found by the ruthless Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas), who believes the treasure belongs to him and his family. Sully and Nate have to figure out the clues that will lead them to the treasure while finding a way to trust each other and work together before time runs out.

Breakdown: I love the Uncharted games on the PlayStation. I remember the first time I saw Drake’s Fortune, I assumed it was a generic, gender-swapped Tomb Raider but thought I’d give it a try. Boy, was I wrong. The gameplay, acting, visuals, music, everything were so finely tuned that it came together in a game, and a franchise, that is one of my favorites of all time. The action sequences felt like I was watching a Hollywood blockbuster, so much so that it seemed the perfect fit to make the translation to the silver screen.

It’s unfortunate, then, that the first movie in what surely will be a franchise feels a lot like what my judgmental first impression of the first game was–a generic, gender-swapped Tomb Raider.

There is so much here that should work. Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg are terrific actors and the source material is ripe for edge-of-your-seat action thrills. And there are glimpses of this in the film, but they are few and far between. I really like Holland, and he did a fine job as Nate, differentiating this character more than I thought he would from his portrayal of Peter Parker. Here is a more streetwise and cocky character who is young, yes, but has been around for a while and knows how the world works. Wahlberg, on the other hand, though enjoyable in the film and shared good chemistry with Holland, was horribly miscast as Sully.

And here’s the thing–I think the reason why this movie doesn’t work for me is because I’m starting to realize that I’m older than the demographic this movie is intended. In my head, Mark Wahlberg should be Nathan Drake, not his wiser and older mentor Sully. But in my head, Wahlberg is still in his 20s, not in his 50s. Holland is part of a newer, younger generation and that is who this film is for, whether I like it or not.

Uncharted has languished in development hell for years, and I think at one point Wahlberg was intended to take on the role of Nathan Drake. But as production kept getting postponed, the studio needed a star who could grow with the franchise and help them put out 2, 3, or more films in the series. Holland, when you think about it, is perfect for that.

The rest of the cast is fine, but really everyone is fodder for the chemistry between Holland and Wahlberg and the action set-pieces, of which I wish there were a few more. The big action scene seen in trailers delivers and really feels like it was plucked right out of the games, but I wanted to see more of this. Maybe future films will give us more.

To be perfectly honest, a lot of the film is just forgettable. Exciting things happen, but I can’t quite tell you what they were, just that it was enjoyable to turn my brain off for a couple of hours and watch a loud dumb film. The issue is, this is not what the games deserve, and with a source material as rich as the Uncharted series, the movie really should have tried a lot harder.

Verdict: 2.5 out of 5

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Uncharted isn’t a bad film, it’s just a first film in a new franchise. There is a lot they can tweak to make the second one head and shoulders above this one, but there is promise here. A likeable cast and the intrigue of more globe-trotting adventures are enough to keep people coming back for more, but they really need to up the ante for future installments if they want the movie series to last as long as the games that inspired them has.

Mark Pereira is a senior writer for Boss Rush Network. He loves all video games, but his top three favorites are Skyward SwordSuper Mario 3D World and Batman: Arkham Asylum. You can find him on Twitter where he’s usually talking about Nintendo, video games, movies, and TV shows.

Featured Image Source: Sony Pictures

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