Super Mario Bros in 1993 scored a 28% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Warcraft in 2016, this one also scored a 28% on the website. Assassin’s Creed also in 2016, an 18% rating. Movies based on video games haven’t done well with critics or fans. Now, Sony brings in Tom Holland, who’s riding high after the critically acclaimed Spider-Man No Way Home to make their video game Uncharted a commercially successful hit movie. Sony’s gamble pays off with a fun blockbuster adventure with fantastic acting and comedy.
Uncharted is based on a video game series that has released nine different games since 2007. I’ve never played any of these video games, so coming into the movie theater, I judged this film from that perspective.
Tom Holland plays the main character: Nathan Drake. Holland does a great job in this film and adds another chapter to his successful career. He worked hard for this film. He even worked undercover at a bar to practice his drink-making skills for this movie. Holland’s character progresses from an obsessive treasure thief to a young Indiana Jones.
Mark Wahlberg, known for films like The Departed and Ted, plays Victor Sullivan. Wahlberg’s character is intriguing as he first shows up on the screen as an untrustworthy, charming, and secretive treasure hunter. He compels Drake to go on an adventure with him. His character is explored much deeper throughout the film, and the ending is a payoff in his character arc that can’t be explained without spoilers.
Other characters in this movie include Chloe Frazer (played by Sophia Ali), who accompanies Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan. Braddock is a former companion of Sullivan who goes after our heroes and the treasure (played by Tati Gabrielle), and Santiago Moncada is the mustache-twirling villain in this movie that is going after the treasure for greed (played by Antonio Banderas).
Uncharted starts as Sullivan recruits Drake to find the long-lost treasure of Cortez. However, the wealthy Santiago Moncada is right behind them and will do whatever it takes to get the treasure, including hiring Sullivan’s old companion, Braddock, to chase after the duo. Drake and Sullivan learn to trust each other and work together and possibly find Drake’s older brother, who went missing looking for the same treasure.
Uncharted’s storyline is a little too fast-paced for my liking. In the beginning, we get straight into Drake being recruited by Sullivan. We get to know a couple of things about Drake mostly, not really Sullivan, as the action starts not too long after that. However, after that first action scene, the movie starts to find its natural pace as Holland and Wahlberg begin to find their chemistry. This great acting duo made me laugh and feel compelled to follow these characters. The late addition of Sophia Ali’s Chloe Frazer into the group adds more layers into both aforementioned characters and makes the movie more enjoyable.
I thought the humor was well done, which is an issue that I believe is popping up in more films. Not everything needs humor, and not every joke lands in movies. Take a look at some of the MCU and the DC movies, which sometimes become awkward with a dark, gritty tone or emotional moment just to have some joke ruin it like when Joss Wheadon’s Justice League has an uncomfortable joke with the Flash falling onto Wonder Woman awkwardly into her chest. Uncharted’s humor is well placed, timed, and actually made me laugh. There is a long-running joke that goes all the way into the end credits that was very enjoyable. Uncharted nailed the humor aspect of the movie.
There are a lot of twists in the movie. I won’t go into spoilers, but a couple are obvious. The major one in my eyes comes right before the popular scene in the trailer where Tom Holland is being sent flying out of an airplane. That twist was a bit weird and sudden. However, I personally believe it pays off to help better some of the major characters. It’s one I didn’t see coming, and I like it when movies pull twists that audiences would never see coming. I think Uncharted does a great job doing that.
The finale is something I have to talk about. Again, no spoilers, but there is footage of helicopters flying pirate ships out of a cave in the trailer, and yes, that is the finale. I thought that the whole final act of the showdown between Drake and Sullivan and the villains on the flying pirate ships was well filmed and entertaining. There is a major character-building moment for Sullivan during this scene, making all the action and fighting on flying pirate ships over the tropical ocean even more pleasing. I think it could be one of the most memorable action scenes of the year.
Uncharted is one of the first major blockbuster movies of the year behind Scream (which came out in January), and boy, does it ever pay off. While huge fans of the video game series might critique the film for not being like the video game, coming in as a movie fan or a person who just wants to have a fun time at the movies with friends, family, or significant others, this is a great film to go to. It has fantastic acting from Holland and Whalberg, who play characters that really draw viewers into the story. The epic story of the movie will keep the audience entertained, and the humor will have everyone laughing.
Overall Uncharted, although it starts kind of weird with its unusual pacing, it ends up being an excellent and humorous movie that is one to remember. This movie is a solid eight out of ten for me.