Uncharted Movie

Video-game-to-movie adaptations are a longstanding Hollywood tradition, from Street Fighter to Tomb Raider, from Resident Evil to Prince of Persia, from Assassin’s Creed to now Uncharted. The trend of bringing fan-favorite video-game characters to the big screen is here to stay.

Replicating a video game’s greatness in a non-interactive medium can’t be an easy task, especially when you’re met with monumental expectations from audiences around the globe. And video-game adaptations have had their fair share of highs and lows in terms of meeting those expectations.

When it comes to the recent Uncharted film, the pressure was really on for Hollywood to do right by Nathan Drake. We’re talking about a video game series that has not only won several Game of the Year Awards, but also has redefined the archeological action-adventure genre. And personally, the Uncharted series means a lot to me.

So does the feature film compare to the video game series? Does it live up to my monumental expectations? Allow me to pen down my thoughts.

Uncharted Movie

The Uncharted video game series banks on two leading and iconic characters, Nathan Drake and his old buddy Victor Sullivan (A.K.A. Sully). The movie stars Tom Holland (who you probably recognize as Spider-Man in the MCU) as Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as Sullivan. Chloe Frazer is also in the movie, played by Sophia Ali. Moreover, a very interesting character, Drake’s brother Sam (who appeared in Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy), makes a small appearance. It was a huge surprise for me that the movie does not feature Drake’s true love, Elena Fisher.

Uncharted has always been about finding long-lost historical artifacts and treasure. This is a modern-day take on the Indiana Jones movies that explores exotic and mysterious locations around the globe. The movie continues the trend. Sully hires a teenage Nathan Drake to hunt for the lost treasure of Ferdinand Magellan, with an emotional incentive to find his brother Sam (who had to leave Nate when they were children in an orphanage). The antagonists Santiago Moncada and Jo Braddock are also after this valuable treasure.

Uncharted Movie

The filmmakers had four games before them (from Drake’s Fortune to A Thief’s End, and a fifth if you count The Lost Legacy) to take inspiration from. In an ideal situation, the narrative style and overall filming should have reflected each game in bits and pieces, keeping intact its own identity as well, but the movie is more inspired by Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and, to a lesser extent, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, rather than leaning into Nathan Drake’s first two outings.

Some scenes of the movie are identical to the games to the point that any Uncharted fan can predict what will happen next. One example is a scene where where a cross is being auctioned off and Moncada and Sully are competing with the bidding process. Drake is in background looking to find a way to snatch it, while Jo Braddock (probably inspired by Nadine Ross) is looking to teach him a lesson. The sequence was filmed well, but it’s not as well-executed as it is in the video game. It’s not a frame-to-frame clone, but it was highly inspired by that very scene from Uncharted 4.

The major parts of the film were faithful to their video-game roots. This includes the exploration of the environments, the witty banter between the leading characters, and the over-the-top action sequences. However, the film lacks some of the thrill of the video games. The film is less action-packed and leans more toward conversations and stealth, and I think this is where it falls short. We all know that Nate is used to killing 1,000 people in 15 minutes in action sequences, but there were barely any shooting scenes in the movie. The action scenes involve more hand-to-hand combat, where Nate is clever enough to survive in a tough battle of fists.

Uncharted Movie

The introduction scenes for the major characters — like Nate, Sully, and Chloe — take up too much precious screen time. The opening sequences and build-up feel slow, but as the film progresses, it picks up the pace and gets better as it goes. By the time you reach the film’s climax, you’ll probably be looking for a sequel to how things unfold in the next adventure.

Now, the chemistry between Nate and Sully is one of the core strengths of the game series. In the beginning of the movie, Mark Wahlberg seems a bit miscast as a young sully. However, interestingly enough, as the film progresses, the relationship between Nate and Sully grows, and the sweet-and-sour chemistry kind of wins you over to Wahlberg’s side.

To me, there were no moments as such, except the extended conversations between the characters in the earlier part of the movie. The script could have been a little better, of course, but it’s serviceable. Because I am such a huge fan of the video game series, I found the movie to be worth watching, but I think that even someone with little familiarity with the games could find something to enjoy. This has all the ingredients to make for a decent one-time watch at least.

Uncharted Movie

The film did not go over well with the critics and has been received with mixed reviews. The IMDB score is 6.3/10. With audiences, I think the movie went over a little better, though. If I were to give the Uncharted movie a number ranking, I think it probably deserves a 7 out of 10 — but the real deciding factor for me is the climax, which made me anxious for a sequel. It would have been great if the entire movie could have been as good as these late scenes.

To the core fanbase’s delight, the film did recover its budget, so maybe in a few years’ time, we’ll see a sequel. I think too many video-game adaptations are made as a tribute to the source material rather than with an original storyline and sequences in mind. I think this needs to change in the future, though.

Uncharted Movie

Ultimately, I enjoyed watching Uncharted, and my gut feeling is that if this team develops a sequel and pays attention to the genuine feedback of true fans, the next outing could be a blockbuster. Who knows? Maybe we’ll even get to see Elena Fisher the next time around?

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