‘Uncharted’ ventures into the box office, but will it find its treasure?

Ryan Ranc, Life and Arts reporter

This article contains spoilers for “Uncharted.”

Movies based on video games tend to do fans a disservice by ignoring their source material. “Uncharted” is no exception. The “Uncharted” video game series contains rich storytelling, deep character relationships and dark subject material, all of which appear absent in the movie. As a self-contained, treasure-hunting adventure movie, however, “Uncharted” is surprisingly entertaining, with a phenomenal cast, beautiful set pieces and witty comedy. Fans of the video game franchise will dislike this movie unless they detach it from the context of the original story. The stand-alone movie shines as an enjoyable adventure movie because of Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg’s chemistry. Clearly, there are plans for more; an end credit scene sets the audience up for a sequel.

Holland plays a younger version of the game’s main protagonist, Nathan Drake. Unlike the games, where Nate behaves in a mature fashion with the occasional quip, in the movie, Holland constantly cracks jokes and puts himself into dangerous situations. That being said, Holland takes on the most enjoyable character in the movie. Meticulously using his charm and acting skills, Holland creates a version of Nate that remains his own. Holland gives one of his best performances, even rivaling a handful of his moments playing Spider-Man.

Wahlberg plays the younger version of Victor Sullivan. In the games, Sully acts as a father figure to Nate, who grew up without a parental presence. However, Wahlberg’s Sully is portrayed as a greedy treasure hunter who betrays all the people in his life just to aid him in his endless search for lost gold. His relationship with Nate in the movie felt more along the lines of buddy cops than a mentorship. In the movie’s conclusion, Nate and Sully have their moment to make up and become a duo, but the writers play it off as a joke, making their relationship feel spurious and purposeless. Even with these critiques, Wahlberg naturally gives a good performance, once again proving “Uncharted” should be enjoyed as a simple adventure movie rather than a dedicated recreation of the source material.

Though the movie ignores the game’s storyline, it had plenty of moments that worked as fan service to die-hard “Uncharted” fans. The scene that shows Holland falling from an airplane and clinging to supply crates comes directly from “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.” Nolan North, the voice of Nate in the games, has a brief cameo on the beach, where he interacts with Holland’s version of Nate. Fans can find comfort in these additions, knowing their beloved game did not go totally forgotten. 

The action scenes were mediocre but created a heavy amount of suspense. The quips used in these scenes were also well-placed. The best action scenes were in the third act, where characters clash on two pirate ships getting lifted from a cave by helicopters.

“Uncharted” ignores the majority of the source material it was founded on, making this adventure a bad video game movie. However, it manages to remain entertaining as an Indiana Jones-esque adventure comedy that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. Fans of the game franchise will only love this movie if they learn to accept that “Uncharted” plays out nothing like the gaming phenomenon they’ve grown to love.


3 Sully ‘staches out of 5