Uncharted’s First Film Adaptation is Here, But is it on Par With the Video Games?
The Uncharted movie has been a project in the works for some time. After years of changes, rewrites and edits, it’s now been released to mixed reviews and opinions. Those opinions can vary depending on if you are a die-hard fan of the video games and if you take this as it’s own franchise separately from the games. The Uncharted video games are some of the most praised games and stories in gaming. Let’s get into breaking this movie down to see how it holds up.
Plot, Story & Message
The overall plot of the movie follows Nathan Drake who is a bartender moonlighting as a pickpocket. During this time is when Victor Sullivan, a friend of Nate’s brother, comes to him for a chance to find gold and maybe even his missing brother. This varies slightly from the video games and could possibly be a retcon if this movie is indeed supposed to be a prequel.
In search of Magellan’s gold, the two are constantly slowed by Moncada and his goons while constantly dealing with trust issues among one another and others along the way.
Overall, the story and plot revolve around the typical exploration and adventure. Think Pirates of the Caribbean mixed with National Treasure and Tomb Raider if you haven’t played the video games. The story won’t break any boundaries and there’s the mythical/paranormal plot twist missing from the games, but it’s nice not have to worry much about wokeness. You’ll have fun escaping for a couple hours, at least.
Patriotism & Wokeness
Obviously, patriotism doesn’t really have a rating in this kind of film.
Now that that is out of the way, you probably want to know how woke this movie is. You’ll be happy to know that besides a few decisions and situations, there isn’t much of a woke factor. The now typical backstory-less female character having a surge in power and strength exists, and it’s possible Cloe’s character was added to this early story of Nathan to check off boxes, however nothing outside of that really exists. If there are small details of wokeness beyond this, the movie does a good job of keeping your attention from it.
The acting in Uncharted is actually pretty good unless you are looking for spot-on portrayals of the original characters. This is where many viewers will be split between die-hard fans of the video games and those just there to watch a movie (which could include those who just dabbled in the games). This is also where I, myself, am split. As an avid Uncharted video game fan, I have an issue with the portrayal of both Nathan and Sully.
The original worries I had before seeing the movie ended up not being as warranted, but the issues with Tom Holland playing Nathan are still pretty apparent. Even as a 21-ish year old Nathan Drake, it’s just tough to really fully like Tom Holland as the character. The wise cracks are there (mostly), but the delivery isn’t always pulled off correctly and occasionally the timing isn’t there. The same could be said about Wahlberg’s Sully, but it’s definitely better than I’d thought it’d be. Funny enough, Sophia Taylor Ali’s Chloe is actually pretty good. We don’t have as much to go by from the video games, but as a younger Chloe, Sophia does it justice.
All of this could be easily made bunk depending on if the movie is REALLY supposed to be a prequel to the games or not. I’ve seen many announce this as a prequel to the video games, but all I can find from Sony and Naughty Dog on the subject is that it’s “based on the video game by Naughty Dog.” I’m thinking this may just be the start to a movie franchise that’s separate from the video games. This could, ultimately, help with the character issues and the story retconning.
Music & Sound
The music and sound was one of the most disappointing parts of this movie. If you haven’t played the video games, do yourself a favor and watch this video to get a good feel for the main theme of Uncharted. Got a good feel for it? Did you hear how epic it is? Yeah… forget about it. This theme is never even played until the credits, and even then it’s not given justice. That’s very disheartening as this is one of the most cinematic and epic themes in gaming.
The rest of the sounds, sound effects and tracks are typical and nothing really special. Which, again, is disheartening. This movie should have been filled with the epic soundtracks from the games, except maybe even BIGGER since this is a “blockbuster” movie.
What a shame.
Directing, Editing & Visuals
The directing is done as good as it probably could be considering this movie has been through so many changes (including at least 6 directors) and edits. The film seems to be edited pretty well as there are no crazy jump cuts to different scenes except when a transition like that is part of the design. However, the visuals and set pieces actually surprised me and really picked this movie up from being boring. Not only do you get the iconic set pieces from the games, which some may complain that they were simply copied from, but you also get some new set pieces I would have never even thought of. The final chase scene is one of those new set pieces, but I won’t spoil it for you.
Overall, the directing and editing are just ‘good,’ but the visuals and set pieces are all done very well. The CG is also never really noticeable or takes away from the movie and the explosions, though done well, are never Michael Bay’d to death.
Now we get into the adaptation of the movie from the video game series. Again, this could also really lean on whether or not the movie is supposed to be a prequel or it’s own entity. The characters aren’t perfect to the games, but they are close, and the story details taken from the game are pretty spot on. The way they try to make it seem like Sam never showed up again to the orphanage to get Nate out is different from the video games and so is the original meeting of Nate and Sully. The video games have the two meet when Nate is 15 in Columbia, not when he’s 21-ish in New York. Again, if we aren’t looking at this as a prequel, these details don’t matter and then we look more so to the characters, which aren’t as good as they could be. The characters are missing some of the charisma and style they deserve. We also never once see Nathan’s iconic jump into the air and land a punch down onto an unaware enemy.
It is nice to see Nolan North, Nathan Drake’s voice in the games, get a cameo in the movie.
If you’d like to see a VERY well done adaptation, check out Nathan Fillion’s fan film. Yes, a well-known actor made a fan film and WOW is it good. The characters are as perfect as you could ask for. The only thing missing are the big set pieces. You can watch the fan film below.
Finally, the movie is a good watch if just looking for an escape and a popcorn flick. It isn’t amazing and it’s a bit off from the games if that’s what you are looking for, but it’s “okay.”
Like our review? Seen the movie? Let us know in the comments below or start a conversation in the forums.