The elephant in the room regarding “Uncharted” is that despite the obvious caveats, this is everything I worry about regarding a video game movie: not being too detached from its source material but not being enamored by it either.
Heavy on spectacle but light on heart, I deadass got reminded of Red Notice a couple of times with a script that submits to a formulaic procedure that feels almost parodical. With a sheer lack of the organic humor and nail-biting streaks of suspense that the games are known for, the banter doesn’t feel nearly as natural while the flashy set-pieces betray a production design that’s strictly copy-and-paste. The well-choreographed stuntwork that follows is unfortunately marred by forgettable executions as a result. Any frenetic pacing that comes along to speed up proceedings does avoid bogging itself down in character introductions but every character here is largely forgettable even with context from the game, overabundance of CG is distracting and rips away any potential stakes and excitement and Ruben Fleischer’s directorial chops struggle to transcend format or not be predictable every step of the way.
Not to mention, everyone other than Tom Holland and Sophia Ali look a lot less committed. It’s not to say the casting they got isn’t fine on it’s own but it would’ve helped if this was meant to be a prequel to a series following the chronology of the games. As is on its own, I’m weirded out seeing Tom Holland as a pale imitation of Nathan feeling more like Spider-Man if anything else.
Considering Uncharted had been inspired by Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider, it’s impossible to have a story like this have any sort of nuance to really stand out, so I don’t mind the story being all that predictable. Some fun was definitely had with this but the problem is nothing else in this story even remotely tries to break apart the monotony of it’s narrative structure vaguely giving a shit and that, in my opinion, is the real tragedy behind Uncharted: compared to most of the video game films out there, it vaguely “gets” and understands what it’s supposed to be doing but it feels profoundly uninterested in living out the promise of ACTUALLY being that thing.
I’m familiar with the Uncharted series mostly on a second hand basis and even I’m aware that that this passionless passion project is not the treasure it could’ve been. I went into this expecting the end result to be something indifferent and indifferent is what I ended up getting: a pretty average outing serviceable enough for one walkthrough.