Uncharted Movie Review

By Ben Wright (@iamzavagno | www.xgeeks.co.uk)

This review is spoiler-free.

I’ve played most of the Uncharted games, and those games that I’ve missed, I have watched playthroughs on YouTube. So, I’d say I’ve got more than enough knowledge of the franchise to pull from, rather than going into this movie completely blind. When the casting of Tom Holland was first announced, it caused a bit of a reaction among video game fans, as many thought going down the ‘young Nate’ route was not the way to go. So, from the off, this movie has been up against it, especially considering it has been in development hell for over a decade! But now that Uncharted has finally hit the big screen, how does it perform?

I’ll be honest, I went into this movie with low expectations, and I think I enjoyed it more because of this! If I had gone into this as a die-hard Uncharted fan with all the expectations in the world then this movie could be easily picked apart. I enjoy treasure hunting/action-adventure movies, so throughout the movie, I was entertained multiple times and while some of the beats are very formulaic, they were enjoyable nonetheless!

The story takes from various plot points from a few different Uncharted games, and while the story may also feel familiar to the genre as well, it was still entertaining, and I think this movie is a perfect ‘Sunday afternoon movie’. It has action, adventure, and that feel-good factor you’d want from this type of film, so as I said previously, I had fun!

As for the casting, Tom Holland needs some major plaudits for the amount of stunt work he performs in this movie, as does his stunt double, and I feel his emotional story moments were also well performed. My issue with Tom Holland here is that sometimes he played this very much like Spider-Man. Now, I love his Spider-Man, but I don’t think bringing that to an established and unique character like Nathan Drake was the correct approach – although, for his army of fans and the popularity of said Spider-Man, I can see why they wanted to tap into that. Likewise, Mark Wahlberg is great in his performance and is genuinely funny at times with some great deadpan delivery, but he just doesn’t ‘feel’ like Sully. The two do have fun chemistry though, so if you don’t get caught up in what these characters are ‘supposed to be’ and treat them as their own thing, then you should have a fun time overall! Sophia Ali’s Chloe is another character from the games, and I really enjoyed what they did with her, although I’m not sure the romantic thread they tried to pull at with Holland was successful. As for the villains, Antonio Banderas is fun, if not super generic, although his story takes a very interesting turn and was a welcome addition! For me, however, it was Tati Gabrielle who really brings that menacing threat and I thought she was a very entertaining villain and Gabrielle really flourishes in the role.

In terms of the action sequences, I don’t think you could have really asked for more from an ‘Uncharted’ point of view! They were exciting, creative and some scenes especially felt huge in scale. The final action sequence of the movie was something that really shocked me, and I was glued to my seat throughout the whole scene. I don’t think you’ll have seen much like it before!

When it comes to the main negatives, the movie requires you to adjust and ease your way into it, but once it gets going the time will fly by! There is also the slight issue of the casting of Tiernan Jones as ‘Young Nathan’. Now, this is not a dig at Jones, who was fine, it was more down to the fact that he didn’t even resemble Tom Holland and the age difference wasn’t that much! I think you could just have had Tom Holland play his younger self here too as, let’s face it, he constantly looks about 15!

Finally, there is a brief cameo from Nolan North, who voices Drake in the games. It’s a lot of fun and I don’t care how ‘on the nose’ it was, it got a good reaction from pockets of the audience, myself included!

Despite some predictable and formulaic elements, Uncharted is, overall, a fun, action-adventure romp, with a killer final action sequence and some genuinely funny moments! It’s not as bad as some people are making out and I think this movie is perfectly fine, with enough appetite left in me for a second helping!

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