Nerdlocker Movie Review: Uncharted


“Sic Parvis Magna” – Francis Drake

Ah yes, the much maligned video game movie adaptation. The video game curse, arguably the as of yet broken tradition of releasing the worst possible excuse for a movie based on a beloved video game franchise. You can say that movies based on games came out long before this but I place the origins of this ugly ritual on the shoulders of Paul W.S. Anderson and his long, arduous insults he calls the Resident Evil movies. These in my opinion set the precedent for all movie studios that game fans don’t really care about quality, they just want content with a familiar game title slapped on for added defamation.

Even as these Evil movies started sliding out like freshly pissed on jellyfish and the fans of the games loudly and audaciously exclaimed this isn’t what we wanted, still the studios persisted and to this day we await that coveted film to break the curse once and for all.

Enter Uncharted.

I think we’ve gotten this kind of adaptation before. It’s not terrible by any means but to have to sit here and justify this and that and why the liberties taken are okay takes the movie and puts it in a place we’ve all seen before. We want the movie that should anyone argue against how fantastic it is we would all collectively laugh at and shun them for being so aggressively wrong.

Uncharted is not that movie. I enjoyed it quite a bit but I had to ask myself, how much of this movie do I really like and how much of it is me just being a fan of Tom Holland? He’s a charismatic leading man with a lot to show and a lot to do in the future. He’s an exciting actor to watch grow. And of course he’s endeared himself to us all as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. His stunt work in this movie is of particular note. In this regard he is quite exceptional doing most of his performance, the physical and beyond.

With the exception of a few instances in his career, how many of us can say we’re genuinely fans of Mark Wahlberg? He seems like a likable enough guy and his performances in movies like The Departed and The Fighter are standouts but has he ever really wowed anyone? He is the male equivalent to Melissa McCarthy, only able to do one thing and rarely ever does he deviate. His performance in Uncharted is no exception. He is Mark Wahlberg playing a character and he is Mark Wahlberg every step of the way. There are actors who can embody a character and make you forget it’s them for the next two hours. In my opinion Nicole Kidman did it best most recently in Being the Ricardos.

I never once lost the idea that I was watching a character being played by Tom Holland acting with a character being played by Mark Wahlberg. I never saw Nathan Drake and I certainly never saw Victor Sullivan. Tom Holland is fine and so is Wahlberg but there was never that connection I was hoping for to the video game characters that I’ve grown so fond of over the years. Tom Holland was cast in this movie for the same exact reason Wahlberg was, they are extremely marketable and profitable. So no concern was given to them being right for the characters and it couldn’t be more obvious.

Uncharted is a passable adventure flick that in no way stands out among the countless other similarly themed movies. Take away the elements of any Uncharted connection and you have the same movie we’ve seen a dozen times. The Uncharted games are exciting and visceral. They are fun and while this movie is a fair amount of these things it is never that memorable and rarely does it ever even resemble something new and fresh. It’s a two hour generic adventure flick where the creators are saying, “Remember this actor? Remember how much you like them?! How about the title of the movie?! It’s just like your video games you precious kids love so much.” It feels pandering in a way that someone who never listens to their children might cater to them to avoid a visit from child services. Basically they’re pretending they just listened instead of actually hearing anything we’ve said for, I don’t know, the last twenty god damn years. I can only hope Neil Druckmann has more control over the Last of Us series on HBO because it would seem here he had his opinion overlooked for, you guessed it, profit.

Ultimately when I left the theater I was entertained. I enjoyed it enough that I’m all for more adventures with these versions of the Uncharted characters. They won’t be anything I’m anticipating. I’ll think, “Oh cool, another Uncharted movie.” And that’s pretty much it. I’ll see where they go next and if it doesn’t end up as a franchise I won’t lose sleep over it. It never rises above mediocre and for that reason I can’t say the curse is over just yet. The Uncharted games acknowledge and pay homage to the classics like Indiana Jones but still manage their own identity. Uncharted the movie lives deep in the shadows of these movies and never once comes close to the sunlight.

Rated PG-13 For: violence/action and language
Runtime: 116 minutes
After Credits Scene: Yes. Two mid-credits.
Genre: Action, Adventure
Starring: Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Antonio Banderas, Sophia Ali
Directed By: Ruben Fleischer

Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 6/ Acting: 7.5/ Directing: 7.5/ Visuals: 8.5
OVERALL: 6.5 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: Take it or leave it. As a collector, yes.

Check out the trailer below:

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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard