Does Uncharted break the video game adaptation curse?
As a huge fan of the Uncharted games series I went in to seeing the movie adaptation with skepticism. But first a brief history lesson on the long wait to see Nathan Drake in live action.
The first Uncharted game, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was released in 2007 on the PlayStation 3 and was followed by its sequels Among Thieves (2009), Drake’s Deception (2011), A Thief’s End (2016), the spinoff Lost Legacy (2017), and a prequel PS Vista game Golden Abyss in (2011). The popularity of the games made by NaughtyDog was enough to get a film version in 2009. But the film will go on to be stuck in development hell for years. Losing directors and screenwriters left and wrote and even had Mark Wahlberg himself attached to play Nathan Drake at the time. So when 2017 rolled around and Tom Holland’s popularity skyrocketed after joining the MCU as Spider-Man, Sony saw that popularity and decided he would be the actor to take on Nathan Drake. But the film still had its troubles with switching directors and screenwriters again until the film finally got out of development hell and into production in 2020.
2022’s Uncharted Starring Tom Holland as Nathan Drake and Mark Walhberg as a mustacheless Victor “Sully” Sulivan tells the origin of Nathan Drake by combining aspects from all the games and creates a more original yet unneeded origin story about the popular treasure hunter, as both the third and fourth game providing a more compelling backstory.
We find Nate working as a bartender in New York when he first meets Sully who recruits him for a Job, where Sully was originally working with Nate’s long lost brother Sam Drake. The relationship between Nate and Sully didn’t have that same father son feeling from the games and more of a I will double cross you if I get the chance. The Villain of the film played by Antiono Barndarias didn’t give off as much of a threat as the villains from the games have. But Sophia Ali as fan favorite character Chloe Frazer was the most accurate to her video game counterpart.
Tom Holland as Nate was good but if Sony would’ve waited five more years to make Uncharted movie Holland would’ve been the right age to play Drake’s Fortune Nate, which by the looks of the mid-credit scene that is the direction they are going for a possible sequel, even though that should’ve been the plot for this fim.
Although Uncharted is known for its jokes and quick whips, the film seems to rely on humor too much at times. The games are known for their intriguing and even challenging puzzles. And the movie decided not to really utilize that which was disappointing.
Uncharted didn’t start to feel like Uncharted until the third act of the film and started when Nate was hanging out of a cargo plane (a reference to Uncharted: Drake’s Deception) and the climactic fight scene on Magellan’s ships.
Uncharted sadly didn’t live up to its name but works as a stereotypical action movie. Those unfamiliar with game history might find Uncharted as decent. But sadly those familiar with the games will see this as a miss. If the film stuck closer to the first game rather than a straight forward origin story I think this would’ve worked a lot better.
UNCHARTED playing in theaters now.