Without the game developer Naughty Dog, the PlayStation systems would not have been as successful as are. Starting back with the original PlayStation, they created everyone's favourite - 'Crash Bandicoot' - and he became a mascot for Sony for the 90s and early 2000s. Then they released 'Jac and Daxter' for the PlayStation 2 and then with the massive upgrade to the PlayStation 3, they developed two new action-adventure IPs: the critically acclaimed 'The Last of Us' and 'Uncharted', both of which became system best-sellers. Both franchises are finally getting live-action adaptions - 'The Last of Us' in series form later this year, but first up from the newly formed PlayStation Productions is a cinematic adaption of Nathan Drake's story.
'Uncharted' follows bartender and wannabe adventurer Nathan Drake (Tom Holland, 'Spider-Man: No Way Home', 'Chaos Walking'), whose brother Sam (Rudy Pankow, Netflix's 'Outer Banks') left when he was 15. Sam inspired Nathans's passion for history and adventuring, working with Sully (Mark Wahlberg, 'Instant Family', 'Ted') who has now recruited Nathan to help him find the first map made after the Magellan expedition which will lead them to gold. Of course, they aren't the only ones looking for the treasure, with Santiago Moncada (Antonia Banderas, 'Spy Kids', 'The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard') hot on their tails with henchwoman Jo Braddock (Tati Gabrielle, Netflix's 'You' and 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina'). They also cross paths with Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali, 'India Sweets and Spices', 'Truth. orDare'), who assists them on their journey.
SWITCH: 'UNCHARTED' TRAILER
You can't have heard of the 'Uncharted' film without hearing about the casting issues. In the video games, Nathan is in his mid-30s while Sully is around 65 years old, ages Holland and Wahlberg are both a good 15 years away from. Of course, this is made even stranger by the fact that Holland plays the most famous teenager in pop culture, and doing his American access again only makes the character feel more like Peter Parker. They try to remind you he is older by having him work at a bar and drinking, but Sully then also constantly refers to him as kid; it only makes him feel more like a teenager. The film kind of wants to act as a prequel to the game while also doing a mix of stories from the games, making it conflicting for fans of the games. If you're like me and have a basic knowledge of the games, the film is a generic action film that fails to live up to the system selling game franchise. This isn't a Ben Platt and 'Dear Evan Hansen' casting disaster, but it just makes it clear that commercial success was more important than a faithful adaption.
Hollands's casting feels like a strategic one. They make sure to get all those shirtless shots in so teenage girls have new footage to make fan edits, and releasing two months - almost to the day - after 'Spider-Man: No Way Home', where the actor is at his peak. He is on this massive press tour, going on about how 'Uncharted' is going to change the game and is breaking the mould... but it's just Peter Parker in an action adventure.
It's not downright offensive like many other video game adaptions, and there are some cute references to the games that fans will get a kick out of, and I wish the film lent more into those video game aspects. It's a by-the-numbers action adventure and nothing more.
There isn't much to say about it as a film. It's not downright offensive like many other video game adaptions, and there are some cute references to the games that fans will get a kick out of, and I wish the film lent more into those video game aspects. It's a by-the-numbers action adventure and nothing more. When the film gets to the third act it really picks up but it's a case of too little too late - the final confrontation and action sequence are a blast, but as for the hour and a half that proceeds it, it's nothing new. It's riddled with clichés, like one of my least favourite ways to open a film: with an action sequence, only to cut on a cliff-hanger and jump forward. I think studios think this is a way to make us instantly invested, but it only makes the film drag more as you know that moment is coming and are just waiting to get there.
As for Holland and Wahlberg who is meant to have a father and son relationship, they barely have any screen time together. It seems they had fun on set, but little of that translates in their chemistry. The supporting cast is also forgettable with little to do, particularly Banderas who is extremely underused.
'Uncharted' could have ended up a lot worse than it is, but from its odd casting choices to basic narrative, the film just falls flat. It has some fun winks for fans of the game, but it's just a forgettable popcorn film aiming to make a quick buck and not a proper introduction for audiences to the classic video game characters.
Sadly, no 'Crash Bandicoot' references in sight.