“Uncharted” is in no way comparable to the video games


Via Sony Pictures

Sully (Mark Wahlberg) and Nathan (Tom Holland) talk. The movie keeps the viewers on their toes, but can in no way compare to the excitement in the video game.

As an “Uncharted” video game aficionado, I had high hopes for this movie — perhaps some references to familiar character quirks and relationships for the fans, but with new twists and refreshed stories. To my disappointment, “Uncharted” felt like eating an off-brand Girl Scout cookie: good, but it could never compare to the original.
Nathan, Sully and Chloe are all treasure hunters, who briefly meet each other to work together to find a missing treasure, but during their journey, they find that another group of people is trying to beat them to it.
The dynamics between the main characters Nathan, Sully and Chloe are immensely disappointing as they completely differ from how they were in the video game. I loved Nathan and Sully’s father-and-son relationship they had in the video games, as well as Chloe’s friendship with the both of them; in the movie, they lack trust in each other, which leads them to betraying one another. After a certain point, the constant secrecy and betrayal becomes repetitive and tiresome.
The story behind Nathan is colorless and bland, leaving his character to be incredibly dull. Although it includes an interesting bit about his long-lost brother who was looking for a hidden treasure, it fails to showcase the same level of storytelling and personality that the games displayed. The game showcased how Nathan moved on without his brother as a teenage orphan, and how he followed in his brother’s footsteps as a treasurer and kleptomaniac. It elaborates on how Sully — a treasure hunter himself — took notice of Nathan during his teenage years, and how Sully looked after him like a father. By getting a better idea of who Nathan was, we were able to understand Nathan’s character better, and without this explanation, Nathan’s character in the movie felt unfulfilling.
The casting of Tom Holland and Mark Wahlburg could not be more far off from their looks to their personalities. In the video game, Sully is an old, bulky man with gray hair, and with Mark Wahlburg’s dark brown hair and younger features, he isn’t the best person for the role. This took away from the core aspect of who Sully is: an out-of-touch old man. In the movie, we get a few moments in the movie where Mark Walhburg’s portrayal of Sully elaborates on how he doesn’t know how to work his phone or that he doesn’t seem to understand young people, but none of it is believable to the audience.
It is very clear that Tom Holland was likely cast because he is Tom Holland due to his large following would bring a lot of viewers in. He lacks Nathan from the video game’s looks and personality, their only similarities being that they are young, white males. Although Holland may have the good looks for the role, he lacks Nathan’s spark with his boring overconfidence, completely different than the original Nathan’s dorky personality. We get to see relatability within Nathan’s character in the game, but in the movie, we hardly get to know him.
I have no complaints with Sophia Taylor Ali’s casting as Chloe, as she is perfect for the role and a lot less sexualized in the movie than she is in the video game. Chloe and Nathan were briefly together in the second “Uncharted” video game, so I was surprised to see the absence of romance in the movie, which would have added depth that the movie was lacking. Romance would have also been a good segway to add a major character from the video games, Elena, who played important roles in the sequels. She is Nathan’s main love interest throughout the video games and helped Nathan on two of his treasure hunts. She would have added a whole new layer to the movie and more female representation, which is always a plus.
All the “Uncharted” video games are cinematic masterpieces as they contain elaborate and grand jungle and old city landscapes, which could not compare to the movie’s unsatisfactory cinematography. The movie relied heavily on CGI, making the graphics and scenery slightly disappointing. You can tell that it hindered them from focusing their time on creating exciting action scenes throughout the movie that can actually draw in the audience. In comparison to the grandiose temples and hidden gold cities of the video games, the movie’s climax — Nathan and Sully on top of a boat that is being carried over the ocean by helicopter — is even more disappointing than the characters.
The one redeeming factor of “Uncharted” was the storyline, which had plot twists aplenty and kept the movie from falling victim to the same predictability as in the video games. Quick, steady pacing left only a few dull moments that were easily redeemed by the ending, in which we see Nathan and Sully single-handedly defeat the bad guys — always satisfying.
The movie came to a close with a compelling end-credit scene, alluding to a second movie. Hopefully, we will get to see Nathan and Sully again on the screen together, this time with the family-like relationship like they had in the video games.
If you’ve never played the video games, “Uncharted” is a perfectly adequate adventure film as it is saved by its charismatic cast and its intriguing mystery. It has elements of humor and action, leaving the average viewer satisfied. If you have played them, however, be prepared to be disappointed as it simply does not do the characters or the scenery you know and love justice.