Uncharted Review: Tom Holland Stars In A Bland Video Game Movie

Video game movies used to be bad because games didn’t give enough movies to run – now they’re bad because movies can’t keep up.

It used to be that video game movies were bad because video games didn’t give enough movies to run; say what you want about “Super Mario Bros.” of Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton, but they had to do Something to flesh out a story that basically boiled down to “the Italian stereotype goes from left to right”. These days, in an age where interactive epics are so expansive and cinematic that Playstation characters are regularly played by movie stars (and sometimes even modeled to look like great filmmakers), it seems like video game movies be bad because video games make movies too much work with.

No big-screen adaptation of “Uncharted” could ever hope to match the globe-trotting, rope-swinging, plane-exploding excitement of Naughty Dog’s hugely popular action-adventure franchise, in which the professional treasure hunter Nathan Drake has traveled the world in search of priceless treasures. artifacts, searched every corner of the map for even more priceless information about his long-lost brother, and killed enough faceless henchmen along the way to make John Rambo look like John Oliver. Considering that a live-action remake of “Uncharted 4” would be so expensive that a movie studio probably wouldn’t even be able to fund it with all the loot from Libertalia’s legendary pirate utopia, that’s not a big deal. disappointment that Sony Pictures “Uncharted” – for all its copious, shitty CGI – is still bound by the confines of a paltry $120 million budget, and too small to even feel like a piece of free DLC. The games felt like adventure movies you could play, and so any “Uncharted” movie was always going to come with a sense of redundancy pre-installed.

Everything an ‘Uncharted’ Movie Had to Accomplish – Everything It Could could accomplish – was to capture the reflection and bravery that helped the series carry the spirit of Indiana Jones into the modern world. And while it’s true that the best moments of Ruben Fleischer’s utterly mediocre (if not unpleasant) adaptation manage to achieve that for three or four whole seconds at a time, this generic multiplex adventure is so far from its material source because it fails in areas where history says it should have been able to surpass it. Areas where movies have traditionally trumped video games: Characters. Personality. Humor. Humanity! You know, the things that movies get for free and video games have to be created by sorcery. The same things someone at the top of the ladder decided to leave behind when they took a solid gold brand like “Uncharted” and turned it into an IMAX-sized piece of cubic zirconia, which resulted in a movie that’s not only less playable than the game it’s based on, but less watchable as well.

Inasmuch as

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when in this film’s sordid development process that decision was made, but casting Mark Wahlberg as Victor “Sully” Sullivan is likely what set it in stone. . Bringing the same half-armed, eyebrow-raising energy, “Peter Berg probably thinks it’s funny” to the role of Nathan’s grizzled older partner that he has to a number of other roles over the past 15 years, Wahlberg bases “Uncharted” in a plug-and-play mode from which he has no hope of escaping. Not that credited screenwriters Rafe Lee Judkins and the team of Matt Holloway and Art Marcum — the same Matt Holloway and Art Marcum who penned the “Transformers” sequel in which Wahlberg learns the Autobots were once aided by Harriet Tubman. – give the actor a lot of help. For one thing, Sully gets the best line in the movie. On the other hand, this line is about Sully realizing he’s in a Papa John’s. Needless to say, the character’s relationship with Nathan never gets deeper than “the real the treasure was the father figures we made along the way,” and often strives to sell even that.

For his part, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” actor Tom Holland does a great job playing a brave young New Yorker who always does the right thing in the face of potentially corrupt opportunities, the only problem is that Peter Parker doesn’t belong in this story. The aging of Nathan Drake from the kind of flint Nathan Fillion he was in the games was always going to be a curveball in service of the movie’s timeline – that ‘Uncharted’ is an all-too-accessible origin story, and therefore a prequel to the games – but the good-natured arrogance and critical mass he brings to the role aren’t enough to compensate for the feeling that his version of the character is just too big a kid.

I had to suspend my disbelief to buy that Nathan is old enough for a job at the posh bar where he works at the start of the film, let alone ready to travel the world in search of Ferdinand Magellan’s lost gold and kill all the henchmen. in its own way; When Nathan meets Spanish billionaire villain Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas doing some very Antonio Banderas things) at a fancy auction for high-priced MacGuffins, I half-expected the villain to laugh at this Zooming in to the fresh face right out of the room. The unfortunate side effect of Holland’s casting is that it roots “Uncharted” into Marvel territory during the rare non-superhero tentpole that could offer multiplex audiences a reprieve from this world.

The mere sound of Holland apologizing to the first red shirt he takes off in the film’s wonderfully high cold open (a setting so amusing that Fleischer later revisits it) is enough to cement the Spider-Man of it all for the next two hours, and the film’s complete denial of blood and sex only deepens that bond. Although he’s half-naked when he’s not soaking in a shirt that must have been sewn with some sort of magical elven fabric that never dries out, Holland exudes all the danger and animalistic magnetism of Tin-Tin. Even when Nathan and his slippery rival Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali) are forced to share a hotel room together, they are obviously never seen in bed at the same time. No one was asking “Uncharted” to be some kind of uninhibited NC-17 fuck-fest – it’s not a Netflix movie about Marilyn Monroe or anything – but the sheer simplicity of its main performance reflects everything. tone of a film that aims to be as plastic as possible at all times.

Fleischer’s utterly anonymous direction contributes to the film’s overall lack of flavor, as Nathan and Sully search for new clues to the whereabouts of the treasure (and whereabouts of Nathan’s missing brother) from Barcelona to the Philippines with no feeling. urgency or purpose. The sets are so hectic and covered in CGI that you’ll end up swapping a Spanish galleon full of gold for a single clear wide shot, which is all the more frustrating considering the film’s small handful of action sequences are crafted with more imagination than any recent “Fast & Furious” movie was able to muster.

It doesn’t help that the entire third act is dulled by insufficiently thought out mini-bosses. Moncada’s henchmen include Steven Waddington as a henchman whose only trait is “to be Scottish”, as well as the overqualified Tati Gabrielle as a radiant femme fatale whose sole motivation is to get in the way. from Nathan. But the climactic centerpiece offers a high-flying sense of fun, even if Fleischer’s best efforts only serve to indicate how exciting it all could have been with more lucid staging and better visual effects.

Perhaps Walmart’s approach to acting would have been more forgivable if the “Uncharted” games weren’t so often imbued with Spielbergian flair, just as the film’s archetypal characters might have been less underwhelming if the games didn’t. had failed to settle 10 times. pathos without the same flesh and blood. Then again, anyone who still thinks a mega-budget movie will be as cinematic as the video game it’s based on has only to blame themselves.

Rating: C-

Sony Pictures will release “Uncharted” in US theaters on Friday, February 18.

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