Why The Uncharted Movie Is The Treasure I Was Looking For – Eurogamer.net
The new Uncharted movie takes viewers on a globe-trotting adventure with a young and somewhat innocent Nathan Drake. Unlike the Drake from the Naughty Dog games, Tom Holland’s version of the treasure hunter makes his way through the world working in a bar and pickpocketing his customers. However, everything changes when he meets Mark Wahlberg’s Victor “Sully” Sullivan, who reveals he knows Nate’s older brother, Sam. from Magellan. But this being Uncharted, there are of course others who are also after the treasure, and what ensues is a frantic race for gold.
So, before getting to the heart of the matter, let’s quickly touch on the elephant in the room: Uncharted is a video game adaptation. These have always been a bit of a weak point in the history of cinema. They never quite manage to hit the sweet spot that their in-game counterparts do so well. Whether it’s poor pacing, clunky dialogue, or a director’s desire for a sudden massive U-turn from the source material, they just never seem to deliver the goods.
And many of those points hold true with Sony’s recent reimagining of Uncharted. Several outlets lamented that Tom Holland’s charm-soaked talents were wasted on a “tedious” video game adaptation, with Empire saying, “the scenes are starting to look like cutscenes you wish you could skip.”
I understand all that. I do. But you know what? This time, for me anyway, it didn’t really matter. I really enjoyed Uncharted, and not just because I’m a huge fan of the games. I really enjoyed the movie for what it was.
And what is it exactly?
Well, it’s simple. While Uncharted won’t win any Oscars outside of hair and makeup – and those Oscars do matter and should be included in the main ceremony! – one thing it is for sure? Uncharted is fun.
It’s good, old fashioned and fun. And that’s exactly what I needed.
Throughout Uncharted’s not-quite-two-hour running time, there are over-the-top set pieces, physics-defying stunts, corny one-liners (including a homage to the pun “Well, well , good” from Uncharted 3) and beautiful sunny settings. I found a story of humor, friendship and family. But that’s not all. On the other hand, there is deception, there is peril and there is suspense.
All in all a package deal and a great easy escape for a cold, dreary night.
Seeing Uncharted heroes soar through the skies, fly over waves, and crawl through underground tunnels gave me a sense of adventure. And, let’s be honest, after the years we’ve all been through lately, the sense of adventure is something that I’m sure many others miss as well.
All of this means that when Nathan Drake finally stumbled upon Magellan’s missing treasure, I felt very moved. But I was emotional in the best way possible.
With the tumultuous times we are currently living in, seeing Drake achieve his goal has given me a much-needed sense of hope and optimism. I found myself smiling on screen, even though it was already pretty clear what was about to happen (I mean, they even showed it in the movie trailers, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise ).
None of this is to say that I don’t see the issues with the film that many others have.
The father/son relationship between Drake and Sully that was so endearing in the games is a bit awkward in the movie. Wahlberg’s version of the character may be a little more “bullish” than Naughty Dog’s cigar-loving ladies’ man. There’s also an obvious lack of Richard McGonagale’s booming Sully voice, but I don’t think anyone would manage to get those other than McGonagale himself, so I guess that can be allowed to slip.
Also, there’s no real sexual chemistry between Holland’s Drake and Sophia Ali’s Chloe Frazer when, let’s be honest, in games it was off the charts. Those hoping to see that fire and passion translated to the big screen will be disappointed (it should be noted that Sony tried to hint that Drake had a bit of a crush on Chloe, but she just seemed to think of him as the ‘nice guy’). ‘ in his world full of treachery).
But I didn’t really find it all bothered me as much as I thought it would. There’s still a fun dynamic between the trio, though they can never be completely sure they can trust each other. Chloe’s last word (no spoilers), and the way she delivers it, perfectly sums up the relationship the trio will have going forward.
Then, away from our heroes, there are the villains. Or more specifically, there’s Tati Gabrielle’s Braddock, which is roughly based on Uncharted 4’s formidable Nadine Ross.
Braddock is mean with a capital M most certainly, but in a slightly more “Disney mean” way that keeps the threat light enough that you never feel out of place. We’re never given his story, and to be honest, we don’t need it for this movie. It’s oddly freeing to see a villain who is evil for evil’s sake, without heavy past trauma energizing his actions.
Inevitably for 2022, Uncharted ends with not one, but two mid-credit scenes, setting the film up for a sequel. For my part, I really hope that this hypothetical sequel will come to fruition. Sony Pictures boss Tom Rothman has praised the film, saying it’s a “successful new franchise for the company,” so it certainly looks promising.
As a fan, however, I have a small wish list. In any future installments, it would be great to see Elena Fisher head to the big screen. With Uncharted serving as the prequel to the games (although, yes, the film reconstructs some of the characters‘ backstories from the games’ narratives), it was understandable that it wasn’t present this time around. But next time, and may there be a next time, more Elena will please Sony.
Either way, if you’re looking to find an emotional “port in the storm,” drop your pirate ship’s anchors with Uncharted. Although I’m (clearly) not a film critic, I found this to be a very enjoyable caper that didn’t take itself too seriously. Uncharted never demands too much of its viewers, which in itself makes it a welcome tonic for the mind, body, and soul when real life feels a little too heavy.