Uncharted – a predictable movie that is far from uncharted territory


Uncharted is now playing in theatres nationwide.

The road to Uncharted has been far from smooth, it entered development back in 2008 under the helm of Avi Arad, but since then, it has created a graveyard of potential directors, including David O. Russell, Neil Burger, Seth Gordon, Shawn Levy, and Dan Trachtenberg. Meanwhile a plethora of screenwriters took a crack, only to have their ink fade from the page in favour of another 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 more like Sully than Nate and thus became the curmudgeonly elder foil. So was 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, who brings 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 mixes them with the origin story of Nate and Sully’s relationship, and it’s here where things quickly go awry. There’s nothing to be found in Uncharted that you haven’t already seen in the trailers. Here the over-emphasis on the franchise’s most memorable spectacle, the plane ejection, demonstrates the insecurity of Uncharted 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!”


It doesn’t help that 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 character’s deep familial-like relationships and rich history. 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. Meanwhile, while not devoid of attempted goofs and gags, the comedy rarely lands 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 exhale. However, at the very least, it’s great to see Tati Gabrielle as the brilliantly conniving Jo Braddock.


The film strikes a baffling tension between surprisingly violent and childishly bloodless action; for example, despite the number of throats slits, there’s barely a drop of blood to be found. This blunted violence is synonymous with many blockbuster franchises and only serves to expose the desperate need to please the four-quadrant audience this film was made for. At times, it feels as though the script has gone through some AI computer bot, with human instruction to ensure every possible heist and adventure film cliché is present. As a result, the promise of a wild, high-octane adventure caper is replaced by a dull exotic tour.

Somehow, Uncharted even manages to dull the vibrant and expressively creative cinematography of Chung-hoon Chung with a series of 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 its fate. 


  • Our Star Rating


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. 

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