Uncharted Review: Video Game Film Uncovers a Fitting Adventure

While video games have had a troubled history when being adapted to film, it seems that the subgenre has found its grove with blockbusters like Sonic the Hedgehog and Mortal Kombat have shown that this transition can effective. With so many video games becoming successful blockbusters, Sony decided to bring one of their most iconic franchise to the big screen: the action-adventure series known as Uncharted. The tales of Nathan Drake have entertained gamers for years with its challenging gameplay and cinematic aspects. Now the series takes the step to a celluloid format with a live action adaptation directed by Reuben Fleischer.

The story centers on a young Nate Drake (Tom Holland) who teams with up treasure hunter/conman Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) to find the long-lost treasure of the Magellan Expedition. A film based on Uncharted has been in consideration for quite some time with several filmmakers being considered to take up the project. There was even a point where Wahlberg was up for the role of Drake, but by 2017 development went into a different direction leading Holland to taking up the role. Being a fan of adventures, as well as being familiar with the video games, the new blockbuster looked to be a good time, and after seeing it I can say that Uncharted was an adventurous, albeit flawed, experience.

When it came down to it, Uncharted was an origin story. The movie retold Nate’s start as a treasure hunter as well as his first meeting with Sully. While thoughts may differ on this decision I for one think this retelling worked as film. Along with being a fun adventure the plot captured the game's elements such as the use of history and grandiose moments. There were even some aspects that, arguably, were better than the source material not to mention a few surprises that I did not see coming. While the plot was fun it was not without its flaws as it could be too straightforward in its direction, and though its structure was fitting for the video game series it gave a typical feel to this adventure movie.

Seeing that this film was an origin story for Nathan Drake, it only made sense that the movie would cast a younger Nathan Drake. While Tom Holland was not my first choice for the role, I cannot deny that Holland was impressive as the young adventurer. Holland captured the charm of the character, not to mention his sense of wit, and even though the movie focused on a younger Nathan it still felt like an appropriate rendition to the video game icon. Much like how Holland was not my first choice to play Drake, the same thing could be said to Mark Wahlberg as Sully. However, Wahlberg was more than fitting to play this veteran conman. Wahlberg captured the sarcastic nature of Sully and when paired with Holland’s Nathan the two made an enjoyable duo. When it came to the rest of the cast there were some decent characters to be found. Sophia Ali provided a good performance as fellow treasure hunter Chloe Frazer while Tati Gabrielle made for an ok antagonist as the mercenary Jo Braddock. Rounding things out for the cast was none other than Antonio Banderas as Santiago Moncada. Banderas brought his usual energy to the role; but the character Santiago did not leave the biggest of impression especially when compared to rest of the cast.

Uncharted is an adventure film so it only made for the film to feature an action scene or two. The series is known for having major action sequences, and the movie did not disappoint. The action was exhilarating with some of the scenes being not just innovative, but felt like it was the video game come to life. The movie’s effects, on the other hand, were little inconsistent. The visuals were decent enough, but some spots felt like I was looking at a video game-and not in a good way. Fortunately, the movie was stellar in areas like music. The score by Ramin Djawadi may not have been among his best compositions but it did have the energy that felt fitting to the adventurous nature of this adaptation.

When it comes to video games movies, Uncharted is a fair addition to the genre. While the movie could be fairly standard in aspects like storytelling, it did have its merits such as solid lead characters and action packed moments. With elements like that, this adaptions felt like a fitting adaption to its respective series and gave a little more longevity to video game genre; and if nothing else, Uncharted was a fun blockbuster with a good sense of adventure to it.

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