Review: ‘Uncharted’ Explores New Territory but Reinvents too Much

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Despite the campaign carried out at the time by Nathan Fillion who actually would have the closest physical resemblance to Nathan Drake, Uncharted preferred to rely on Tom Holland. The video game-based adventure film stars Holland, who is currently breaking box office records with Spider-Man: No Way Home, alongside Mark Wahlberg in the role of Victor “Sully” Sullivan, and Antonio Banderas as a forgettable and one-dimensional villain, Santiago Moncada. 

In line with the casting choices, this cinematic Uncharted doesn’t rely strictly on the videogames but prefers to use them as a starting point to do their own thing. The film rewrites the formation of young Nathan Drake, from his first explorations in the company of his brother Sam, up to meeting with Sully and Chloe. Consequently, there is no El Dorado, Śambhala, or Ubar, but instead a completely new adventure in the footsteps of Magellan and a mysterious lost treasure.

Vaguely similar on plot and environments to End of a Thief, but full of elements and situations are taken from the whole saga and reworked as necessary. For instance, the sequence of the plane is similar to that of Drake’s Deception, with a twist that seems straight out of Drake’s Fortune

As Sully seems to be engaged in a sort of redemption arc, Nathan, in line with the classic story of his origins, gradually gains the “heroic” attributes of his digital counterpart. (Such as the seraph, the cargo pants, and up to the shoulder holster!) Tom Holland rides as best he can the “Parker coefficient,” but he can’t work miracles.

At the same time, the choice to entrust Sully with both the role of mentor and some typical traits of the adult Nathan from the games only ends up undermining his consistency. Especially in relation to the topic of trust. This is a theme around which all the characters move, including Chloe and the bad guys. 

Even as I try to approach it without paying attention to the video games and view it as a generic adventure film, Uncharted has very little to offer. Half of the plot seems to be the “for dummies” version of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Steven Spielberg’s work comes openly mentioned through the cruciform artifact, mostly during the sequence set in Santa Maria del Pi, which refers to the Venetian library desecrated by Indy and his companions.

In addition, the intended desire to encapture the spirit of the videogames is reduced to a series of quotes and visual ideas. Artificial as they are, the action sequences fail to trigger any tension. Apart from a couple of skirmishes between Nathan and Sully, unfortunately, I found that the film doesn’t have much to offer.

My rating for this film:

★★½/ ♥♥

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