Fans of the “Uncharted” games are likely in for disappointment at the box office this weekend. The latest attempt at a video game to movie adaptation falls into the category of “just doesn’t quite capture the magic.” Tom Holland starring as Nathan Drake was a confusing casting decision to say the least. But the pairing of Mark Wahlberg as Victor “Sully” Sullivan with him is even more baffling.
We fully acknowledge that we are approaching this from the perspective of someone having played and loved the “Uncharted” series of games from Naughty Dog. We have a distinct and clear picture in our heads of who Nathan Drake should be. Nolan North’s in game performance is the source of one of the greatest game leads in recent memory.
Holland has shown he’s capable of carrying an action franchise with “Spider-Man.” Yet his is blessing / curse is a boyish visage. One that will keep him feeling effervescent for decades, but doesn’t exactly scream Indiana Jones-esque lead. He gets an “A” for effort but the film itself doesn’t play to his strengths and there’s only so much he can do in an ill fitting role.
Listen on Apple Podcasts.
The cast is rounded out with Sophia Ali and Tati Gabrielle as fellow treasure hunters. Antonio Banderas is phoning in his best bad guy (it’s in the trailers). It’s particularly disappointing watching the Oscar nominated actor be in back to back cartoonish villain roles (this and “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard”).
What Could Have Been?
A fan film from 2018 starring Nathan Fillion surfaced that felt like what we would have liked the vibe of the feature adaptation to be.
Casting aside, the film is overly action-heavy. Yes we know it’s based on an ACTION video game. However there’s such things as too much when it comes at the expense of the plot. Director Ruben Fleischer seems to be bogged down in trying to incorporate too many sequences inspired by actual gameplay. Sadly the results often look like they belong in the original game… which came out in 2007.
All that being said, we allow for the idea that if you aren’t bringing a cargo plane’s worth of game comparison baggage to the movie, there’s a chance you’ll enjoy it. However the overall lack of chemistry amongst the leads, the overly long action sequences, and the paper thin plot do not put this high on our recommendation list.
At best it will be a forgettable cinematic outing, but at worst it is a squandered opportunity to take a brilliantly storied game and bring it to the big screen.
“Uncharted” is currently in theaters.