By Jasper Price, Third Year, Theatre & Performance
With Uncharted, Ruben Fleischer delivers a hollow reboot of a classic video game, one that should have stayed in the PlayStations of geeky teenagers. A heartless display of CGI spectacle, Tom Holland’s latest outing is lacking both artistic and emotional conviction. With mediocre acting and laughable set pieces, this adaptation is the latest disaster in the game-to-film trend.
As a kid, I was obsessed with Assassin’s creed. The free-roam nature of the game, amazing character development and beautiful graphics had me entertained for hours. When they announced Assassin’s Creed (2016) I was overcome with excitement. However, the finished product turned out to be a car crash of a film. Not even the short appearance from Jeremy Irons could save it. This is the sentiment that I’m sure Uncharted fans have felt with this new release.
A sort of coming-of-age prequel to the original game, Uncharted tells the tale of Nathan Drake’s first taste of high-octane antique theft. Since his brother’s departure, the orphan Nathan (Tom Holland) is working in a bar when he is approached by Victor Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) who convinces him to join his new venture.
After a brief run-in with the film’s villain, and Spanish equivalent to Don Corleone, Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas) the team set off on a quest for ancient gold. All of this amounts to a gallivanting globe trot that reminded me of both National Treasure (2004) and the Indiana Jones franchise, and had me wishing for both.
The central characters feel washed out and undefined, with Holland trying and often failing not to slip into a sort of pseudo-Peter Parker. Wahlberg on the other hand looks like he can’t decide who his character is and goes through various phases: badass criminal, sympathetic father figure and technologically incapable boomer.
Their relationship falls and soars through cliché after cliché and gives us nothing memorable, save a few one liners. Sophia Taylor Ali gets some enjoyable screen time as the double-crossing Chloe, however her performance also feels undeveloped and dull at times.
Special mention has to go to the film’s CGI team, who fill nearly every scene with an unrealistic death defying stunt, with the actor’s performances seeming even more hollow when placed on top of green screens. Now I understand that you don’t approach this kind of film looking for realism, but when I saw the Pirates of the Caribbean style mid-air ship battle at the end of the movie, I wanted to cry. Tom Holland managing to fire a five-hundred-year-old cannon like it was built yesterday was the last straw.
I admire this film for what it is trying to do. It must be a very difficult task, to take a beloved video game concept and put it up on the big screen. If you like big stunts and epic graphic drenched sequences, then you will not be disappointed.
To me though, this film feels like a last ditch attempt for a franchise to stay relevant, thus ruining what was a great piece of game design.
Featured Image: IMDB
Do you feel Uncharted breaks new ground?