Films can be described as a true adventure when one undertakes a viewing.
By this statement, the adventure film genre is perfect for film as each film takes the viewer on a journey that makes them think, while also including relatable characters. It is usually incredibly fun to watch a film in this genre. However, if one is going for a predictable narrative formula with their film in this genre, they need to be as passionate as possible about the story. Otherwise, the film feels like a joyless repeat of other adventure films. The film “Uncharted” unfortunately feels like that: a film without passion, joyless repeat of other adventure films.
Released in 2022, “Uncharted” is directed by Ruben Fleischer and written by Rafe Lee Judkins, Art Mitchum and Matt Holloway with a story treatment by Judkins, Jon Hanley Rosenberg and Mark D. Walker. The film is based on the “Playstation” video game series by Naughty Dog. The film stars Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg in the lead roles.
Holland plays Nate Drake, a young bartender, history buff and former orphan. Nate’s life is calm and mostly devoid of adventure until he meets Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Wahlberg), a friend of his treasure hunter brother. When Nate is told his brother disappeared looking for Magellan’s lost treasure, he decides to help Sully to try and find the treasure in hopes of finding his brother.
I found this film to be very disappointing. However, there are a few good elements. The first positive is that Holland and Wahlberg are excellent. While neither actor matches their video game counterpart, both actors bring a lot of charisma to their characters. Unlike typical adventurers from the 1930s serials, Nate has a lot of sensitivity to him that Holland transfers into the character. Males are not devoid of fear and this film knows it.
The cinematography is also pretty impressive, particularly in the opening sequence when Nate is attached to plane cargo in mid-air, the close ups immerse people into the tense and entertaining scenario. Also the film can look like a video game at times. During many sequences, such as Nate scenes in the bar, the lighting can be dimmed so it will give off an almost animated look. At times, video games can receive a very nice tribute in this film.
If only the rest of the film was as great as the elements previously described. The biggest mistake “Uncharted” makes as a film is the changes it made to the original material. In the games, Sully was not Nate’s only adventure partner. He also had a female partner named Elena, who not only served as a love interest, but also an example of a strong, independent female lead. However, in the film the partners are only Sully and Nate. Nate has a love interest in the film but she keeps double crossing him, so the chemistry does not feel the same. This is not progressive, as in addition, nearly every female character in this film is an antagonist. Having Elena would have given this film the feminist character viewers deserve to see.
Another major issue with “Uncharted” is that it is too predictable. Having a predictable narrative is not always a bad factor of a film. Provided there is passion put into the narrative, the film can excel and give audience members a great experience. A good example of this is a film that was released this past summer called “Jungle Cruise.” This film had a predictable narrative of characters journeying to find a mystical object while encountering obstacles on the way and defeating enemies. However, the film had amazing set pieces, a fun, mystical feel and many homages to the ride the film was based on.
It is the subtle touches and passion that “Jungle Cruise” possessed that “Uncharted” as an adventure film does not. The banter between Holland and Wahlberg does not feel inspired and has been done with much better results in other films and television shows. The film also just feels like it is just going through the adventure film tropes without actual care to make the traits exciting. Double crosses frequently happen, villains are also chasing for the gold and the characters have to solve puzzles.
I would say skip this adventure and undertake a better one for viewing.
Jake Zamansky can be contacted at