Monday, February 21, 2022


I am not a modern gamer so I always wonder how these game to film adaptations will play with people who have actually played the games the movie is based on. To me there would be so many high expectations that a film can't possibly uphold, especially with a fan who has spent days if not weeks in that game world. Game playing is active and watching a movie is a passive activity and that must be frustrating also to just sit with your hands in your lap. It's like me watching DUNE. I know the property so well that it's a really high bar for any creators to overcome to keep me from being disappointed in any adaptation.

That leads us to UNCHARTED, the latest Tom Holland movie that is getting killed on Rotten Tomatoes for many of the same reasons I just mentioned. Check out the trailer and tell me that huge set pieces alone wouldn't make you interested. It's why I am watching the film now. I am interested to see what went wrong here. The game is over a decade old and was widely praised at the time for it's beautiful settings and challenging game play and the film has been in development for nearly as long. Success seemed like a no-brainer.

Street-smart thief Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) is recruited by seasoned treasure hunter Victor "Sully" Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) to recover a fortune lost by Ferdinand Magellan 500 years ago. What starts as a heist job for the duo becomes a globe-trotting, white-knuckle race to reach the prize before the ruthless Moncada (Antonio Banderas), who believes he and his family are the rightful heirs. If Nate and Sully can decipher the clues and solve one of the world's oldest mysteries, they stand to find $5 billion in treasure and perhaps even Nate's long-lost brother...but only if they can learn to work together. 

After being separated from his older brother, Holland's character grows up to be a bartender, a parkour expert and petty thief and that is when he is recruited by Marc Wahlberg to seek out an ancient treasure of gold once sought by Magellan and Holland's own brother.

Holland is a genius on ancient treasures and solving the clues necessary to find them. Call him Indiana Jones Lite. It's those scenes that take the viewer into the video game elements of the property. The good part for me is that the clues are all solved by someone else and don't require me to do anything but watch all the pieces to the puzzle fall into place just at the point they need to advance the story.

Of course the main heroes are being pursued by evil treasure hunters like Antonio Bandaris doing his mustache twirling best bad guy.

The action is fantastic but the dialogue is horrendous most times. The two main actors do not have good banter between them and the non-action parts are almost all lame banter. The characters also have an answer to ever question, every mystery and they are NEVER wrong. Anything to move the adventure forward. There are no plans B or C here. One path and that's it. That means we all know they cannot fail and there goes all the dramatic tension. Every death trap has a last minute way to escape it.

The actors would never be friends or work together in real life unless they were being paired and that really shows. There is zero chemistry here. Partners who can't trust each other does not a fun adventure movie make. The spectacular set pieces are all that is keeping my attention right now because I know how dangerous things get, no one will get so much of a scratch if they are a main actor.

It's unfortunate that the film doesn't try to do anything that gamer or adventure movie fans haven't seen before, albeit on an often larger scale. But in this case more turns out to be less when looked at the over all film experience. I hope these don't spin this into another weak franchise just because it made some good money for a video game movie...for once. The last franchise to make the jump was Pirates of the Caribbean and Pirates this is not.

Wait until this one comes on TV or if you played the game and want to see with what they did with the property, go see it and let me know your impression.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

It's about time Tom Holland had a bomb. Keep him humble.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I agree. He's too good as Spidey and is dating Zendaya. YEH, knock him down a little that pretty boy superhero.