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Alex's Review of "Uncharted"


It isn’t just superheroes that get origin stories.


Uncharted sets the stage as the introduction of a possible new film series based on the PlayStation games of the same title and the first under its production studio banner. Mirroring the fourth game in the franchise, a young Nathan Drake (Tom Holland), working as a sticky-fingered bartender in New York, is recruited by seasoned thief Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) to help him hunt down Ferdinand Magellan’s lost gold somewhere along the path of his circumnavigation of the earth. Unfortunately, they are not alone in their search as the current heir for the family who funded Magellan’s trek believes the gold in Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas) to be his property and has a small army of mercenaries trying to get to the treasure first.


Preconceived expectation can be the enemy of shared source material, and this picture is no different. Fans of the games needing the Han Solo/Indiana Jones hybrid that the game’s protagonist is best described as will be disappointed as Holland is not that character. While being a highly talented actor and action megastar, he is still boyishly charming and ingenuous. My personal belief is that this was intentional for the first in what could be a franchise that sees Drake become the rogue known and loved in the games as it progresses. I would not use the word “miscast”; although Holland doesn’t fit the video game character, this is a different story illustrated in how Drake’s iconic wardrobe is acquired piece by piece and barely comes together during the climax of the film.


Completely contradicting the notion of this film being prior to the games, major scenes or plot points are directly lifted from each of its games. For instance, the scene that has become excessively familiar with in the trailers plays out like the opening of Uncharted 2, but with the cargo plane from Uncharted 3. While I am all for fan service that ties all four games to this film, there were a couple of “nods” to the game that felt a little clunky and shoehorned.

Given all of this, the question comes down to whether or not I would recommend “Uncharted, and that answer is a resounding yes. This is the first movie based on a video game I have seen that actually feels like a game. It may be the most ridiculous, over-the-top picture type of film of its genre, but that is what makes it work. Even some of the things spoiled in the trailers and television ads that seem the most outrageous contribute to the fun.

Will Uncharted win any awards? Probably not, but this was a ton of ridiculous fun and sometimes that is what is most important when choosing entertainment. Something you can shut the brain down and have a great time. Make sure to stick around for the after credits scenes as one ties to the first Uncharted game and appears to set up where the franchise is headed.

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