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Uncharted: New Territory for Video Games

Posted by September 3rd, 2022 No Comments »

Uncharted (2022)
Directed by Ruben Fleischer
Starring Tom Holland, Mark Whalberg, Antonio Banderas & Sophia Ali
By Tim Basaraba

Video game movies… Ugh. Am I right?    

With terrible films like Sonic (2020), Warcraft (2016) and even Prince of Persia (2010) — all of which were financial successes (thanks, primarily, to non-domestic film goers) — films based on video game IP are here to stay. Every few years, the same studios roll the dice and give it another go; the result is rarely a financial and critical success. Could Tom Holland, (hot off one of the biggest films ever, Spider-Man No Way Home), carry Uncharted to this rarified promise land?

Casting the baby-faced Holland as Nathan Drake was an ambitious choice. Would the internet trolls allow a character they grew up playing on their Playstation consoles to be portrayed by such a scrawny little wimp? Who cares! The angry minority on Twitter had something else to be angry about a few days later. By the time the film finally came out, it seems like everyone was impressed with Mr. Holland’s physique anyway. After seeing him as Spider-Man and in the Netflix feature, The Devil All the Time (2020), it is clear the young British actor also has range and gravitas. But could he break the Curse of the Joystick Flick?!!

Helping Holland try is Mark Wahlberg as Sully, our tour guide into treasure hunting intrigue. Soon they are joined by Sophia Ali as Chloe Frazer and the thrio traverses the globe in search of… of…. well, it doesn’t really matter, does it? These globetrotting, treasure hunting adventures always focus on the journey, not the McGuffin at the end.

And what a journey it is! Full of unbelievable yet fun action, quippy dialogue and everything that gamers would remember about playing Uncharted from their couches over a decade ago.

Ruben Fleischer was a great choice to direct the film based on his sensibilities in regards to action, comedy and creating relatable characters. Much like in the ridiculous worlds Fleischer created for ZombieLand (2009), its sequel (2019) and Venom (2018), the ridiculous world of Uncharted is just plain fun to occupy.

Coming in at just under two hours, Uncharted delivers what most video game movies don’t: solid acting, great action and a bit of a wink and nod to all the people that played the games. Looks like the curse is broken. I can’t wait for the sequel.

If recent video game movies Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) and Mortal Kombat (2021) are both F’s, then this video game adaptation with no hedgehogs or ninja’s is a B.


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