It’s been ages since I regularly played video games, and it feels like it’s been even longer since talks of an “Uncharted” movie have been circulating. It seemed like it would never happen, but the delays, the revolving door of casting rumors, and everything else that hindered this film from moving forward, sort of gave me a glimmer of hope they were holding out to do the film right. Ruben Fleischer’s adaptation is here led by Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, and it could easily be classed as a tale of two films.
On the one side you have this adventure for audiences who have no idea what the video games are about. For them, there will easily be plenty of action-packed treasure hunting adventures with exotic locations, and larger than life set-pieces to be immersed in. It’s a popcorn blockbuster in February and a few years ago getting a movie of this scale, this early in the year, would be unheard of. The visual appeal is crisp and while there are some lapses in the special-effects, all the stunt-work and creativity put into the adventurous set-pieces does translate to a collection of joyful moments to have movie goers on the edges of their seats.
Admittedly these sequences are the few times the movie feels its closest to being inspired by the games. Holland jumping from buildings, falling out of planes, and solving puzzles are appealing reminders of how the games were able to capture the players imagination. Spots of Holland’s banter throughout, despite the perilous scenarios thrown at him are too a reminder of the spirited charisma found in Nathan Drake. But it also feels very much like his Peter Parker persona, which does overshadow the fresh nuances of this character he was playing.
Holland though was serviceable in the role. He’s a charming dude and he commands the screen in this character suited to be the new Indiana Jones. Wahlberg however was a misfire from the jump. I was not impressed with his casting, and I was even less impressed with his portrayal of Sully. He delivers what feels like an un-researched performance which results in the movie missing the debonair charm of Sully, and the multiple emotional dynamics in the friendship between Sully and Nate that can connect with fans.
So, for an adventure with Holland and Wahlberg driving, there is plenty of action, lighthearted humor, double crosses, and treasure searching to have you invested. However, for an “Uncharted” movie, outside of the nail-biting action and intensity, there is little here to remind fans of the game series they’ve spent hours playing. “Uncharted” has its spots of fun and it certainly is a fine film. I had a good time watching it and it kept me engaged. But it felt more like a “Tomb Raider” spin-off, it follows a formulaic progression, and in the end fails at being an “Uncharted” adaptation.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.