Movie #16 2022: Uncharted (2022)

Critically, Uncharted‘s early reviews seem far from acclaimed. Interestingly though, Rotten Tomatoes‘ audience score sits at 89% at the time of writing, in comparison to its critical consensus of only 39%. You may be surprised (or you may not) to hear that I sit firmly in the middle of those two scores, but I have to say that this movie is not as bad as the critics want it to be.

Uncharted is based on PlayStation’s video game series of the same name, which – for those of you don’t know – is basically an action-adventure game that follows protagonist Nathan Drake (descendant of Sir Francis Drake) in his efforts to seek long lost treasures around the globe. As of now, there are four games in the franchise, plus a spin-off game that does not feature Drake, so it’s safe to say there was a lot of material to work with here. In this movie adaptation, we stick with Drake and his mentor, Sully, who join forces in order to search for riches that were lost during the Magellan expedition.

Indulge me a little here whilst I provide some context: this is the first movie I’ve ever seen in IMAX due to the fact that I’ve never lived close enough to one. Was it necessary to see this film in IMAX? Probably not. But I had a blast in my fancy leather sofa anyway 💅. Plus, it’s not like seeing something in IMAX ever actively makes it worse, right?

Perhaps becoming somewhat swayed by early reviews, I have to admit that I didn’t expect to enjoy this very much. With all the drama behind the scenes, several re-writes and the fact that game-to-film adaptations rarely go well, it had disaster written all over it. In reality, the majority of Uncharted ended up being extremely entertaining even though it felt like there was a lot to forcibly cram into two hours. 

At first, I really thought that Tom Holland was a little bit of a miscast for Nathan Drake; too young, too excitable… but then I realised that’s exactly what they were going for and actually there were very few Spidey-mannerisms leaking through. By the end, I was actually quite impressed by his performance. Antonio Banderas didn’t have near enough to do however, but at least Tati Gabrielle is starting to show the world how brilliant she is. Mark Wahlberg was… fine. That’s all I have to say about him. I’m going to assume that’s all anyone has to say about him, to be frank.

On the whole, the story was a whirlwind. If you have no context and no knowledge at all involving the Uncharted series of games, you may be a bit baffled for at least the first 30 minutes. It’s messy, action-packed and wildly chaotic… but that doesn’t mean it’s not still fun as shit. The conclusion with the ships? Maybe the most fun I’ve had in the cinema this year. Not to mention that the intricate, extravagant sets and the ballsy CGI were all excellent. Even the lighting was great, and that’s something I rarely spot in action adventure films. Did it need a bit of editing? Absolutely. Does that mean I wasn’t enthralled almost all the way through? Definitely not.

No, this is not the best movie I’ve ever seen, but it did remind me of National Treasure in parts, which can only be a good thing. Aside from the fact that the attempts at humour fell flat 95% of the time and most of the dialogue was underwhelming, this was a pleasant surprise! Maybe you shouldn’t just take the critics’ word for it, after all…

Uncharted is currently screening in most cinemas across the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

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