Nathan Drake and his wisecracking partner Victor “Sully” Sullivan embark on a dangerous quest to find the greatest treasure never found while also tracking clues that may lead to Nate’s long-lost brother.
Editing by: Chris Lebenzon, Richard Pearson
Music by: Ramin Djawadi
Cast: Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Sophia Ali, Tati Gabrielle, Antonio Banderas
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Screenplay by: Rafe Lee Judkins, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway
Story by: Rafe Lee Judkins, Jon Hanley Rosenberg, Mark D. Walker
Based on: Uncharted by Naughty Dog
Cinematography by: Chung-hoon Chung
Bringing the massive Playstation franchise Uncharted to the big screen has been a long-held ambition for Sony with development on the film starting in 2008. Almost 5 years after star Tom Holland was cast and with an impressive list of directors who have left the project, Reuben Fleischer has finally delivered Nathan Drake into cinemas.
Rather than adapting one of the games from the series, Uncharted acts as a prequel, introducing us to a younger Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) who is meeting Victor ‘Sully’ Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) for the first time. Sully recruits Nate to help him locate the fabled treasure of the Magellan expedition, due to his Sully knowing Nate’s brother Sam (Rudy Pankow) who has disappeared from both Nate and Sully. The duo soon find themselves at odds with Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas), a descendant of the financier of Magellan’s expedition who believes the missing treasure is rightfully his, and find themselves travelling the world in search of the lost gold with the assistance of Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali), another fortune hunter who possesses a key necessary for finding the treasure.
Those hoping to get an experience that ties directly into the games will leave this film disappointed. This film overall feels like it has taken the main ideas and formula of the games to create a similar experience and delivered a simplified and streamlined version. That being said, the climax of the film provided a set-piece worthy of the franchise and was easily the strongest part of the film. The road there is enjoyable if a bit forgettable, save for the well-advertised plane sequence. Turns out it is much more fun to solve the puzzles in a game yourself than to see people work it out on screen, especially with many answers telegraphed early in the film.
Neither Tom Holland nor Mark Wahlberg feel completely like the characters we’ve come to love over several games but they do have their own fun dynamic and the potential is there for them to grow into something closer to those characters. Watching Holland’s young far too trusting pickpocket deal with the twist, turns and betrayals of being a fortune hunter was enjoyable. The sincerity and charm he brings to the role make him very likable but it is difficult to not see Spider-Man, especially when he’s parkouring and flipping all over the place. Although the gratuitous amount of shirtlessness in the film helps separate them.
Wahlberg is fine in the role but comes off more paranoid of being betrayed that an experienced figure who has seen it all before like in the games. The rest of the supporting cast are solid, with Tati Gabrielle given the greatest opportunity to shine as the leader of the mercenaries working for Moncada and as a physical opponent for Drake and Sully. Sophia Ali gives a fine performance as the torn Chloe, although her accent is hard to nail down and could prove a distraction for some.
Going into this long-troubled project with low expectations, I came out pleasantly surprised. While Uncharted never reaches the action or emotional heights of the games, it serves as a fun adventure film that will please those unfamiliar with the franchise but leave fans a bit let down.
Ashley Hobley attended an advance screening of Uncharted thanks to Sony Pictures Australia and Event Cinemas.