Note: This review does not contain spoilers for the movie ‘Uncharted’ beyond what is advanced in trailers and official synopses.

‘Uncharted’ is not just any saga in the history of video games. As her company partner, the always great Naughty Dog, The Last of Us (which will soon become a series), ‘Uncharted’ is one of those video games with such quality and narrative excellence that many big-budget movies don’t reach the cinematographic level of these video games. Both its gameplay scenes and its cinematics give, entertain and excite like the best adventure movies. That’s why jumping into the movies seemed like an obvious and risky step. Yes, because unlike, for example, ‘Arcane: League of Legends’ or ‘Sonic’, here, rather than adapting the universe of a video game to the screen, it is a leap similar to that of an animation tape to a live action. Nathan Drake or Victor Sullivan were already alive and kicking in the minds of millions of players.

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Consequently, the “Uncharted” directed by Ruben Fleischer and starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg was going to have to deal with an almost equal comparison. The challenge was twofold, to make ‘Uncharted’ work for those who have no idea about games, as a pure adventure story, and to win over fans of the saga with this rewriting of their favorite characters. In both, perhaps due to poetic justice with his character, the film succeeds Nathan Drake, he does not take all the treasure but at least he comes out alive, with the odd friend and enough trinkets to venture on a next adventure.

For those who have been oblivious to all the development or progress of the film, ‘Uncharted’ starts from a moment prior to the main timeline of the video game saga. As with Spider-Man, Tom Holland embodies a more youthful Nathan Drake than ever. Therefore, this ‘Uncharted’, more than an adventure on a par with the grandeur of those on the console, is a film of origins, of growth, one in which we see the characters, whether we already know them or not, form little little by little

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Sony, perhaps to repeat the formula of Tom Holland’s success with Spider-Man, deviates a bit from the Naughty Dog source to take advantage of the dynamics that have worked so well in its collaboration with Marvel and Holland. As Peter Parker, Nathan Drake is an orphan who will see his ordinary life turn upside down when he meets a mature man with much to teach him but very little desire to do so. Holland doesn’t have Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark here, but he does have Mark Wahlberg’s Victor Sullivan. Of course, ‘Uncharted’ is not Marvel or ‘Spider-Man’ but the similarities do not end there, and it is perhaps inevitable that having Tom Holland as the protagonist does not make Nathan Drake something more good and innocent than in video games. Yes, this is an origins movie, one in which we meet a youthful Drake, but the film is much more familiar and much less violent than the already fairly bland video games. Holland’s Nathan Drake doesn’t shoot and dodges before landing a punch whenever he can. When he does, he does not miss the apology with a joke on duty.

uncharted tom holland and mark wahlberg

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They are, however, necessary changes to reach the end that was intended, and that is that whoever wants to see the games on screen has only to put a cut with all the cinematics on YouTube and sit down to enjoy. The proposal here is more familiar and sympathetic than many will expect, but if you have Tom Holland, use him, and ‘Uncharted’ does it with pleasure. Ruben Fleischer’s film is a film of pure adventure, one that shines much brighter when it forgets logic in impressive and incredible set pieces of action than when he tries to give an emotional background to his characters, including an Antonio Banderas whose villain is too complex for the scant amount of screen time he gets. ‘Uncharted’ is spectacular, although sometimes it leaves you wondering if a shoot without the limitations of Covid-19 would have resulted in larger, more massive and more spectacular scenes.

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But if this adventure can succeed for something that, yes or yes, has to have a sequel, it is because of the chemistry of its two protagonists. ‘Uncharted’ or ‘The Last of Us’ have always stood out for their exceptional dialogue in-game, for those little pullitas between characters that make you stop playing to find out what they are saying, those exchanges full of wit and irony between its protagonists. Ruben Fleischer’s film, with a script by Rafe Judkins, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, makes Nate and Sully’s charisma live in every scene where Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg meet. Yes, ‘Uncharted’ is one of those films in which the protagonists have an ingenious phrase from a screenwriter even on the verge of death, but it is part of its best essence.

uncharted tom holland

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As the film progresses, little by little and in a beautifully progressive way, Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg’s Nate and Sully create their thug bond while transforming, in aesthetics and character, into the iconic characters of the console. For Sophia Ali’s Chloe Frazer, many fans will miss the spicy and sexual nature of her character in her relationship with Nate. But, again, we return to the familiar and universal tone of tape. After four adventures on console as Nathan Drake, his journey and his journey took on a dark, twilight feel. This Nathan Drake must, for his own good, retire in time. Here, and we accept it with enthusiasm, we have it more youthful and luminous than ever, with all that road ahead of us. To gain in complexity and emotions we will have to wait, we imagine, for the sequels. Now, however, what we have in hand is a film of explosive adventures and charismatic characters full of pure entertainment that counts a lot, well, and in a short time.

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In short, ‘Uncharted’ is not that triumph that we all expect to cry out to heaven that the video game is already masterfully jumping to the big screen, but it is a test that has been passed that promises to go further and better in the future.

uncharted tom holland and sophia ali

sony pictures

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