‘Uncharted’ Review — Lookin’ for Gold in All the Wrong Places

GameStop, Inc.

Uncharted Review

After years in Development Hell, the movie adaptation of the popular video game series Uncharted finally lands in theaters. Venom director Ruben Fleischer has seen Uncharted over the finish line with Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg headlining the adventure flick. But, as is the case with so many video game movies, Uncharted is an odd, disjointed film that features no shortage of big set pieces slathered in CGI, but what it really lacks is a personality. Is this to be the start of a new action franchise? I don’t see much of a future unless the hoards of devoted gamers turn out to the theater to passively watch characters they’re used to actively interacting with.

After a flashback to the time 15 years prior when his brother left in the middle of the night, we follow Nathan Drake (Holland) as he works as a bartender in New York City. He’s recruited by Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Wahlberg) to join him in the search for a golden cross that will lead them to lost gold hidden by Magellan that is worth billions today. They’re in competition with the ruthless Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas) and his lethal underling Braddock (Tati Gabrielle). Soon, Nate and Sully will be joined by Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali), who also has her own clues leading to the lost gold. However, there’s little trust between anyone in the search for a lost treasure.

The plot of Uncharted with Magellan’s lost treasure is notably absurd, yet the film’s ability to just along with it prevents you from giving too much thought to the silliness. But the ability to just kind of gloss over the plotting doesn’t work as well when it comes to character development. To call these characters paper-thin would be an understatement. The motivations of these characters are all but non-existent, and it becomes increasingly clear over the course of the film that the makers of Uncharted would much rather just lean into the movie star personas of Holland and Wahlberg than, you know, actually write some depth to these characters. It’s this shortcoming that makes it so difficult to become invested in any of the action that unfolds. The rest of the cast, with the notable exception of a sadly underutilized Antonio Banderas, can’t even lean into a well-established persona to make their characters the least bit interesting.

Uncharted’s lack of personality extends into its action sequences. There are a few moments that briefly work as visually compelling action, but there are not too many. Too often Uncharted is content to just let movie stars stand in front of green screens and let the unimpressive CGI paired with some generic quips do all the work. It really highlights the limitations of adapting a video game into a movie because this interactive adventure series with nods to Indiana Jones just translates into an unengaging Indiana Jones knock-off.

While Uncharted did nothing to impress me, there’s nothing about that I truly hated. It’s an entirely forgettable and inoffensive movie. You can’t blame Sony for trying to turn its vast library of video games into film franchises, but if this the plan going forward – after all, Uncharted is the first film produced under the Playstation Productions banner – they’re going to have to put in much more work to give these stories characters with depth and personalities, not merely personas. I can’t speak for how fans of the Uncharted series will feel about the movie as I’ve never played the games, but I can say that the feature film is wholly uninspired and will be gone from my memory in a matter of moments.

 

Uncharted
  • Overall Score
2.5

Summary

An inoffensive, completely forgettable video game adaptation, Uncharted leans heavily on its CGI set pieces and movie star personas to gloss over an absurd plot and paper-thin characters.

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