“Uncharted” in the Eyes of a Video Game Fan


Courtesy of Sony

Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland star in Sony’s “Uncharted.”

Grant Soedler, Herald Reporter

When one thinks of Sony, there are probably many different things that spring to mind. One might immediately associate them with the Spider-Man films, or maybe their extremely hit-or-miss animated movies. For others, it might be their series of Playstation gaming consoles. It is honestly quite impressive the amount of varying media and technology Sony has been able to produce. Recently, however, the company has been making strides to incorporate its film and gaming branches into one. This effort has finally bore fruit with the release of the movie “Uncharted.”
The original “Uncharted,” known officially as “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune,” was an action-adventure video game released for the Playstation 3 in 2007. The game’s story was heavily inspired by films like National Treasure and Indiana Jones, and saw treasure hunter Nathan Drake (voiced by Nolan North), the supposed descendant of the explorer Sir Francis Drake, searching for the lost treasure of El Dorado alongside fiery journalist Elena Fisher and his old, grizzled, cigar-smoking mentor Victor Sullivan. The game was a big hit, selling one million copies in its first 10 weeks of release, and was followed by multiple sequels.
The film “Uncharted” is directly based on these games, creating an ironic loop of inspiration. The film is directed by Ruben Fleischer and stars Tom Holland as Nathan Drake, Mark Wahlberg as Victor Sullivan, and Sophia Ali, Tati Gabrielle and Antonio Banderas in supporting roles. The character of Elena is absent, instead replaced by Chloe Frazer (played by Ali), a character from the second game. The film sees Nate roped into searching for the lost treasure of the Magellan expedition by Sullivan (Sully), who claims that he had been searching for it with Nate’s missing older brother, Sam, whom Nate hopes he may find along the way.
The film had a complicated development, known to have been in the works since 2008 and undergoing many huge recasts and script rewrites, including changing directors a number of times. After finally nearing completion and obtaining a release date of December 2020, the film was delayed multiple times due to the pandemic, finally releasing in February 2022.
“Uncharted” does not directly adapt any of the games, instead taking elements from across the entire series and telling its own version of how Nate and Sully first met. Elements from the games that are used include the main characters of the second game, some action sequences ripped directly from the third, and a finale heavily reminiscent of the fourth. The character of Sam is also a welcome addition from the games, as he was completely absent for the first three before being retconned into existing in the fourth. His inclusion from the beginning here lends some much-welcome depth to Nate’s character.
On the topic of Nate, Tom Holland does a great job of bringing the character to life on the big screen. He’s not perfect, but he works very well as a new incarnation of the character. All of the actors do an excellent job, with the only true exception being Wahlberg. Many times other characters will say something like “Don’t trust him, everything out of his mouth is a lie” and “He’d rather take gold over friendship any day,” but Wahlberg simply plays Scully as a happy-go-lucky treasure hunter with a soft spot for cats.
Other flaws include many elements of the story that feel incredibly cliche, such as the main character being betrayed by his allies multiple times, the villains stabbing each other in the back for extremely weak reasons, and the supposed end destination simply leading to another clue. The script is also rather weak, with lots of ham-fisted dialogue. Despite the flaws, though, “Uncharted” is a fun movie, one that can be enjoyed regardless of whether or not one is familiar with the source material.