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Uncharted (2022)

There was a time when video games simply did not have enough about them to make a cinematic feature presentation a worthwhile proposition, and the curse of videogame-to-movie has been well documented over the years. As time has gone on and videogames became more sophisticated than merely shooting rows of aliens, featuring characters, plotlines, adventure and stunning visual thrills, a decent film-maker has been able to make much more of these stories, for that is all they are, like every other movie you watch.


In the same way that it is difficult to realistically recreate a good book into a movie, this is often not down to the makers themselves, but due to the very personal relationship the reader has to the characters. Well-rounded or not, a film of those same events will never be as satisfying one person's recollection and experience, just like an immersive game you love.


And it is here that Uncharted fails. If anything, this franchise of videogames can arguably be seen as the most beloved, exciting and immersive collection of adventures any self-respecting gamer could hope to come across in the modern era, along with the likes of The Last Of Us - rangy, globetrotting A-list games, with deep storytelling and rounded characters, produced by huge studios with mega-budgets. It shouldn't be too hard to recreate that on a screen, surely?


Casting is key and while Nolan North, the original Nathan Drake does get an ever-so-brief cameo, the choice of Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg certainly raised a few eyebrows from those in the know. Sully, played by Wahlberg is too young and by turns Tom Holland doesn't convince as Nathan Drake, who really should have been cast as older. And it is these fundamental choices that ruin the immersion for long time lovers of the franchise.


Holland and Wahlberg both provide good performances, even if they are not as rounded as the invented fictional characters that came before, which is a shame as these should have been a source of inspiration and not really optional. There are nods to the games, of course, and I was mostly reminded of A Thief's End, the fourth in the series, but the film is quite far removed from any canon further than Sully and the brothers Drake.


Imagine a discount Indiana Jones without the humour or neat flourishes, because the guts and soul not imbibed here is glaringly obvious. It's beautiful to look and occasionally thrilling, but this feels like exactly what it is - a shameless cash-grab.



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