FILM REVIEW - Uncharted
By The Masked Medic
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve actually really been enjoying ‘Cinema Club’ with my siblings, but occasionally I just want to sit down and watch something mediocre that I have no expectations of. Since my watchlist is getting ever longer, I thought I’d cross something off the list. I initially thought about watching a Superhero film, but there’s lots more comic book stuff coming soon, so I decided to watch ‘Uncharted’!
‘Uncharted’ tells the story of Nathan ‘Nate’ Drake, an orphan separated from his older brother during childhood. Now a grown man, he’s clearly taken up his brother’s antics and spends his time stealing from wealthy customers at the bar where he works. His life is about to change when an enigmatic customer called Victor ‘Sully’ Sullivan offers him a job and the chance to make a lot of money. Initially hesitant, Nate agrees when he finds out that Sully knew his brother. The score is a lost treasure buried by Spanish pirates. In order to get to it, however, the pair will need two keys, one of which is being auctioned in the city. This brings the two face-to-face with their competition; a rich man named Santiago Moncada and Jo Braddock, a mercenary that he’s hired to find the fortune. Whilst Nate provides distraction, Sully manages to get the key and they head to Barcelona where the treasure is thought to be buried. There they rendezvous with Chloe Frazer, another fortune hunter. There’s clearly a distrust between the group, but Nate using his charm convinces them to work together. Moncada and Braddock are hot on their tails though. Nate, Sully and Chloe collectively put their brains together and find a vault that contains a map to where the treasure really is. What a classic move from a treasure hunter story. Chloe betrays the two and gives the map to Moncada believing he’ll have a better chance of finding the treasure. The only thing stopping Braddock, Moncada and Chloe from getting the treasure is the knowledge that Nate and Sully have. Can the pair get to the treasure before their competitors? And just who is pulling the strings in Moncada’s operation?
So I knew this film was based on the video game series, and despite not having played it, I heard rumours about who the fancasts were for Nate and Sully. The majority of them had actors who were much older than the characters respectively. Tom Holland, high on his Spider-Man success plays Nate. Now, this character is clearly more mature and serious than Peter Parker but I found a lot of Holland’s performance to be akin to his portrayal of the teenager. Perhaps it was the accent and the skills displayed, but I feel like I was left wanting more. That’s in no way a criticism of Holland himself, I just feel like I need to see him diversify his roles. Opposite him, playing Sully is action hero Mark Wahlberg. Now, this is a generalization I know, but in 90% of the films I’ve seen Mark Wahlberg in, he plays the same character; some hard man who likes cracking jokes but lacks depth. Now that comment might be mean and if by any chance Mark, if you read these reviews, I’d ask you to not beat me up, but the point remains. Rounding off the supporting cast is Sophia Ali who plays Chloe. She’s of Pakistani origin, so big shout out for representation and all that. Tati Gabrielle plays Jo Braddock and she does well to play the villain, however, unfortunately for her, she is completely outshone, as are they all by Antonio Banderas who plays Santiago Moncada. Banderas has one of the best voices in the business and despite me not having ever seen him play the villain, I have to say, it suited him. More villain roles for Antonio please, Hollywood!
You guys know how I feel about video game adaptations. They can go one of two ways. Either they’re fantastic and open up a whole bunch of viewers to the possibility of wanting to play the source material, or they make viewers yawn and complain that two mediums have been ruined with one film. ‘Uncharted’ for me, seems to go into the latter category. Now, hear me out. I’m not saying it was a bad film, because it wasn’t. My issue is that the entire plot seemed to be a hijacking of many different things I’ve seen before, including Indiana Jones, National Treasure and if we’re going to speak about video games, even Tomb Raider. I understand that the film has been greenlit for a sequel because it made a lot of money, but I struggled to see the allure of watching another film in the series. The acting is average, the plot is average, the characters a little boring. The only positive I can give this film is that I think the stunt work was quite good and the actors did push themselves to create scenes where the fights looked realistic.
Let’s talk about cinematography. Now there have been lots of stories swirling about that during the COVID pandemic a lot of corners were cut and CGI staff certainly felt overworked and underpaid. I’m not sure if that applied to this film, but there were some scenes which were shot excellently and others where the CGI for the stunts looked clunky. Naturally, if a film has been greenly for a sequel, then clearly more money may be given to improve these aspects in future outings. The music was prominent throughout the film, but never interesting enough to be at the forefront of my mind. Overall, this was another attempt at creating a franchise like Indiana Jones, but one that falls a little flat on its face!