REVIEW: Uncharted scratches an itch for nostalgia but lacks direction

Uncharted, based on the popular video game series of the same name, introduces a brand new adventure while staying true to its roots.

Uncharted is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed game series of all time, with every single game being a favourite for video game players and the main series having never scored below an eight out of ten in IGN game reviews.

The anticipation to see Uncharted on screen for the first time with a top-of-the-line cast featuring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg as Nathan Drake and Victor “Sully” Sullivan, respectively, made the film a hit as it exceeded box-office expectations. The film earned $44.1 million in the United States and $55.4 million internationally in the first four days, according to Variety.

The plot of the film covers the familiar story of Nathan Drake and his brother Sam being orphaned at a young age, and Sam having to abandon his little brother because he got into too much trouble while at St. Francis’ orphanage.

Then, a slightly older Nathan Drake bumps into Victor Sullivan a few years later while working as a bartender and they team up for a wild treasure hunt that intertwines with a historical conspiracy about Ferdinand Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe.

The film, while fun to watch, lacks direction and does not use its star-studded cast to its full potential.

Forced chemistry

Featuring Holland (Spiderman: No Way Home) and Wahlberg (The Departed and Ted), on paper, the cast should shine. However, this does not prove to be the case as the interactions between Drake and Sully feel forced a lot of the time, and Drake and Chloe Frazier (Sophia Ali) are put together for too long.

Throughout the film, Drake and Sully throw their usual quips and jokes at each other, but it is all hit or miss as it tries too hard to recreate the iconic relationship the duo has in the games. They have their moments where it feels like they are the iconic duo, but the reality is that they have more chemistry in all the video game cutscenes than they did throughout the whole film.

When it comes to Drake and Frazier, the writers are clearly trying to build on the attraction between them, but again they fell victim to trying too hard to make it work instead of allowing it to come about more naturally.

Lack of spotlight for Nathan Drake

As a result of the writers focusing too much on Drake’s relationships with Frazier and Sully, the film fails to highlight its main character.

Nathan Drake is one of the most beloved characters in video game history which makes it a real shame that the film does not give him a lot of time to shine. Most of the time Drake is on-screen he is alongside either Sully or Frazier and because of this, it takes away from what makes Uncharted so great in the first place: Nathan Drake’s charm.

Holland does play the character well, especially when it comes to the stunts as anyone can tell he does most of the stunts himself. His movements are fluid and do the character justice, and when he gets the chance, he does flash the iconic charisma Drake is so well-known for. However, those chances to shine are few and far between.

Pulling action scenes from the games was a good choice

The film pulls action scenes directly from the games which creates the feeling of nostalgia fans of the series expected to have.

One of the most thrilling scenes in the film comes directly from Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. In the scene, Drake is climbing up cargo boxes that are hanging out of the plane while fighting off bad guys. This scene is one of the most recognisable action bits in the Uncharted series and is one of the best moments the film had to offer.

Recycling from the games could surely be seen as the “safe” move, but it is also a great way to appeal to those who are fans of the series. Not only is it a great way to appeal to fans of the series, but it is also integrated seamlessly into the original plot made for the film. The scene is sure to be one of the most memorable scenes for those who had never played the games before as well.

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