We attended the press screening of the film Uncharted and were able to see what this adaptation had in store.
A big follower of the Naughty Dog franchise that I am, it’s not without a certain dose of apprehension and pride that I embarked on this adventure. Because we know very well that few, if any, are good big-screen video game adaptations…
Uncharted was made by the American Ruben Fleischerto whom we owe, among other things, the excellent Welcome to Zombieland and the highly questionable Venom. There is a cape, what am I saying, a peninsula between these two works.
Let’s go for the adventure!
“Obviously, I want to make it clear that this is my opinion on the film and that it engages only me.”
Sic forecourt magna
Let’s do a brief summary before getting to the heart of the matter. This adaptation of the video game serves as prequel and introduction to The Adventures of Nathan Drake (Tom Holland). While he’s just a simple bartender and pickpocket, Nathan will meet the one who will later become his mentor and best friend: Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg), marking his debut as a treasure hunter. Looking for the fortune of Fernand de Magellandisappeared for more than 500 years, Sully will recruit Nathan in order to get your hands on this incredible treasure estimated at more than $5 billion. Holy jackpot indeed! But they won’t be the only ones on this quest because Moncada (interpreted by Antonio Banderas), claiming to be the true heir of the family, will pursue them in order to steal this booty.
Of course, our two friends will have to follow many clues left by Samuel Drake, Nathan’s brother, in order to solve the enigmas surrounding this priceless treasure. The quest for Nathan will combine the search for lost treasure and investigations into the disappearance of his eldest.
After being pushed back from more than a year due to the pandemic, Uncharted finally revealed itself to me for 116 (long) minutes… Although the first part struggles to captivate us and does not move the film forward, I understand that it is the genesis of Nathan’s odyssey requiring this great introductory phase.
We all have in mind the settings of the games: snowy landscapes of the legendary city of Shamballa Passing by the exoticism of the island of Libertalia. And well, no! No! We just have two caravels at the bottom of a cave that we see in the trailer, that’s all. WhileUncharted is a call to travel, to discover places unexplored for centuries, from mysterious cultures, this film is almost the complete opposite.
The countries crossed during their journey make me think more of a road trip with friends from Barcelona to the Philippines. This evokes a postcard effect contrasting with the archeology side, lost cities and ancient myths that we find in games. We’re losing Uncharted DNAwhich is only related to the game by title and character names.
The motivations of the characters, well defined at the beginning of the film, tend to blend and diminish throughout the plot. Therefore, I had to trouble feeling empathy and sympathy for them while these two characters are much more endearing in their original version.
Go put on your mustache!
The film is obviously aimed at fans and does not hide it and the presence ofeaster eggs and references to games is well brought and will please players. Indeed, these won’t jump out at you if you’re not familiar with the titles of Naughty Dog.
The character of Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali) who returns regularly in the saga, will also make an appearance and will be one of Nathan’s traveling companions. It’s nice to see her and allows them to develop their respective backgrounds.
The cover of the game’s main musical theme managed to win me a smile, reminding me with nostalgia my hours spent on the console. Unfortunately, the rest of the soundtrack of Ramin Djawadi did not impress me at all except for its ease, not reproducing theepic aspect of the saga, composed by Greg Edmonson.
On the other hand, I found in this film a very good transcription of the action phases and cutscenes of the games, especially in the airplane scene. This kind of challenge, tried many times during the adaptations, often ended in pain and in the approximate, whereas here, it was a real pleasure for the eyes and for the fan that I am.
The main weak point for me is the lack of seriousness of the characters serving the purposes of the film. Indeed, when the very first sentence of the film is a humorous sentence in the heart of an action scene, we know that the next two hours are going to be difficult to bear. This film is overwhelmed with humor, breaking the few moments of tension, drama that does not facilitate the attachment to the characters. Admittedly, some valves work very well, but the film fails his “Marvel Syndrome» where the humor is sometimes found in excess, giving the impression of seeing Spider-Man in the role of Indiana Jones. I regret Sully’s gritty jokes that we sometimes find in the games, which correspond perfectly to his role as a fighter, although they lacked finesse.
The Uncharted movie has the flaws that we find in most current films. Indeed, the great importance given to jokes and catchphrases, the glaring lack of a solid script and so on, often result in an average film and Uncharted validates this shot. Adapting the saga is an excellent idea but should have been more carefully thought out so as not to fall into these pitfalls.
Of course, it is very difficult to adapt a video game to the screen. Indeed, while the life of a video game is about ten hours or more, the film is forced to be limited to about two hours, forcing to cut a lot of information, and intrigue. To add to this, the expectation that fans may have for this reinterpretation of the game.
If Uncharted pleases fans for the nods to the game and tries to put Nathan’s adventures on track, it remains a pale adaptation and a passable action / adventure film. Even though my heart swung between the deep desire to see him and the intuition that I was going to be disappointed, I wanted to give him a chance. Even if I didn’t have such a bad time, I find it hard to get good things out of it. However, it will allow neophyte spectators to discover the world of the game and become familiar with.
I think you will understand, Uncharted struggled to convince us and struggled to match the image we had of a video game film. If the Uncharted saga left its mark on the video game world, its cinematographic adaptation will leave few traces in the cinema world.
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