Uncharted

Uncharted – A predictable movie that is far from being uncharted territory

Uncharted is playing now in theatres nationwide.


The road to 2022’s Uncharted has been far from smooth. Initially, Uncharted entered development back in 2008 under the helm of Avi Arad. But since then, its graveyard of potential directors have included David O. Russell, Neil Burger, Seth Gordon, Shawn Levy, and Dan Trachtenberg. A separate, arguably larger plot exists for the screenwriters who took a crack, only to have their ink fade from the page in favour of an umpteenth rewrite. The only creative to stay on-board throughout this development hell was Mark Wahlberg, initially cast in the role of Nathan Drake – but 12 years on, Wahlberg was looking much more like a Sully than a Nate and thus became the curmudgeonly elder foil. So after much delay, Uncharted has finally debuted to audiences worldwide; but were the twelve years of development hell worth the wait?

Stepping into the role of Nathan Drake is Hollywood’s favourite fresh-faced franchiser, Tom Holland, translating his rogue-ish Spider-Man charm into the confident, boisterous adventurer of Naughty Dog’s flagship title. Rather than directly adapting one of the games’ lauded adventure stories, Uncharted instead steals some of the franchise’s best hits and re-installs them within an origin story of Nate and Sully’s relationship, which is where things soon begin to go awry. There’s nothing to be found in Uncharted that you haven’t seen already in the trailers. Here the over-emphasis on the franchise’s most memorable spectacle, the plane ejection, demonstrates the insecurity of Uncharted being able to stand on its own feet, even before its release. The spectacle in question is even placed at the beginning to signal, ‘don’t worry, everyone, it’s coming, it’s in here!’


READ MORE: SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME


It doesn’t help that both Holland and Wahlberg simply aren’t the Nate and Sully we came to love in the games. The heart and soul of the Uncharted franchise were the characters deep familial-like relationships that implied a rich history between them. However, here Nate and Sully’s partnership forms in front of us, and as a result, we lose that old married-couple camaraderie they shared in the games. At the same time, while not devoid of attempted goofs and gags, they rarely land with the audience. Here the odd slapstick subversion and off-hand quip from a frustrated Wahlberg may do the job, but there’s a lot that isn’t funny beyond the slightest of exhales. However, at the very least, it’s great to see Tati Gabrielle getting more work. After all, her brilliantly conniving Jo Braddock devours every scene she’s in.


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Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the film itself as it strikes a baffling tension between surprisingly violent and childishly bloodless action. For example, despite the number of throats slit, there’s barely a drop of blood to be found. This blunted violence is synonymous with blockbuster franchises and only serves to expose the desperate need to please the four-quadrant audience this film was constructed for. Here the predictability is often absurd in a movie far from being uncharted territory. At times, it feels as though its script has been computer-generated to hit every heist and adventure film cliché. The promise of a wild, high-octane adventure caper, replaced by a dull exotic tour.

Somehow, Uncharted even manages to dull the vibrant and expressively creative cinematography of Chung-hoon Chung, with bland visuals that have the consistency of porridge. However, there were two moments where I found myself tricked into having fun, the nightclub fight and the film’s admittedly ridiculous final set-piece of a dual floating pirate ship battle. Here the spectacular silliness is worthy of a video game movie, so why isn’t there more of that? Uncharted was in development hell for a reason – and it doesn’t seem to have escaped that fate. 

  • Our Star Rating
2

Summary

At times, it feels as though its script has been computer-generated to hit every heist and adventure film cliché. The promise of a wild, high-octane adventure caper, replaced by a dull exotic tour.