Even before I’ve typed a sentence of this review, there will already be Uncharted fans with pitchforks and lit torches at the ready to chase this film out of their existence. It’s not an acceptable action but it is a perfectly natural one, when someone comes with a new vision for something already established as near-perfect, there’s obviously going to be some strong retaliation. Uncharted fans in particular are incredibly passionate about the franchise’s icon Nathan Drake, and I’ll admit, seeing Tom Holland cast as the treasure hunter himself was odd to say the least, especially when you have Mark Wahlberg as Sully, who seems like a perfect Nathan Drake. Nevertheless, Uncharted may ruffle a few fans feathers, they shouldn’t be too disheartened over their beloved PlayStation icon, because Uncharted is still a fun film to watch in terms of presentability and can be very inventive at times.
Its inventiveness can be seen in the films action sequences which may leave some fans impressed, they may even find themselves considering them equal to the action seen in the video games. I was looking for big and bold action and that’s exactly what I was rewarded with, and the film takes little time to put you right into the thick of it. Some are taken straight from the games such as the plane scene from Uncharted 3, but some are entirely unique, such as the pirate ship battle in the sky scene. I was amazed by how creative this scene was, it even puts the pirate ship fights in Pirates of the Caribbean to shame with how much energy is put into these scenes to ensure there is never a dull moment.
Treasure hunting films are a small guilty pleasure of mine. If you want a guarantee that the narrative of a film is going to be adventurous, where better to look? With Uncharted you still have a good sense of adventure and I’m not ashamed to say that I found myself having fun watching it. Even when the film steps into the realm of cheesiness, it still manages to maintain the feel of a film you are meant to enjoy. Tom Holland’s performance is a major part of the film’s fun element. I still stand by my statement that this casting is a weird route, but the great thing about Tom Holland as an actor is that he is able to bring some chirpiness to his roles.
However, I can completely understand why fans would be annoyed by this film because, what fans want more than anything from not just Uncharted, but any video game adaptation, is a familiar connection between audience and filmmakers of admiration for what you are adapting. Unfortunately, Uncharted throws around memorable elements of the games to create an illusion that they understand what they are adapting. Being a fan of something is more than just recognising items that have become iconic to a series, or recreating memorable moments, it runs much deeper. It is about seeing a locked part of ourselves in someone else’s vision. When I talk fanatically about my love for something like Scream (just to pick a series out of a hat), I am talking about a series that identified people who love horror films and told them it was ok to express that love. Uncharted unlocked a love for adventure with a character that isn’t a “cardboard cutout” treasure hunter.
Although Tom Holland does well with the material he’s been given, the filmmakers could have given him more to work with to bring out the three-dimensional personality of Nathan Drake. Also, Nathan’s relationship with Sully, his treasure-hunting partner, is very confusing. The two seem to never stop going from trusted compatriots to being suspicious of one another. This concept of betrayal and double-crossing isn’t something new when it comes to treasure hunting in films, but when it is done so much, you struggle to keep up with who’s supposed to have good or bad intentions. As a double blow, it makes relationships between characters unclear for the rest of the film. Uncharted thinks it is being smart with its betrayals and characters outsmarting one another, but in reality, it is shooting itself in the foot.
Also, is it just me or was Antonio Banderas wasted in this film? The one actor I felt genuinely excited to be appearing in this film and it turns out his character is a waste of valuable screen time. He plays Santiago Moncada, a rival treasure hunter from a family who believe the treasure is rightfully theirs and that it will restore their wealth. There are obvious main villain vibes about his character, plus it’s a role that Banderas himself is no stranger to, however, he is dispatched at a very strange time in the story. it left me questioning just what exactly was the purpose of his character in the film?
Uncharted is unquestionably for a casual audience looking for something fun to watch, and they will be rewarded for their attendance. The action scenes are the biggest highlight of the film so this does appeal to those who crave creative action. I do not think that Uncharted is a bad film, it just doesn’t do much in the way of pleasing fans or changing the stereotype of a film based on a video game. There is an obvious set-up for future sequels, however, I think this film has already done the damage of alienating most of its fans. There will be some that stick around, but I believe that the reason for this, including my own, is whether or not the filmmakers will be able to wield the responsibility of Amy Hennig’s original vision. I’m still left pondering this thought.
Final Result: 5/10 – Average
Have you seen Uncharted? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
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