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Disappointing Origin Story 3.5 Stars

Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg star in the movie adaptation of Sony’s popular video game franchise Uncharted.

Uncharted (2022)
Released: 18 Feb 2022
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 116 min
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Genre: Action, Adventure
Cast: Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Antonio Banderas
Writer(s): Rafe Judkins, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway
Plot: Street-smart Nathan Drake is recruited by seasoned treasure hunter Victor "Sully" Sullivan to recover a fortune amassed by Ferdinand Magellan, and lost 500 years ago by the House of Moncada.
IMDB rating: 6.6
MetaScore: 45

Disc Information
Studio: Sony
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DTS, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 1 Hr. 56 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: 2-disc UHD keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 05/10/2022
MSRP: $45.99

The Production: 2.5/5

As a fan of the first three entries in the video game franchise Uncharted for the Playstation 3 game console that were created by Naughty Dog, I had really wanted to like this movie adaptation starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, in the end having a rather mixed feeling about it. While the movie itself is a relatively entertaining piece of escapist fare, it basically jettisons the Nathan Drake origin subplot of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception in favor of a more original story of how a young Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) meets his eventual mentor and friend Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg). For anyone who has played any of the video games from the series, the first reaction would be that the two leads are completely miscast, and that is one of many problems I had with the film. Don’t get me wrong, these are both very fine actors, but they completely fail to capture the essence or nature of the original characters. Holland’s portrayal of Nathan Drake feels too much like Peter Parker portraying Nathan Drake, while Wahlberg is not only too young for Sully but also the wrong body type.

The film’s plot revolves around Sully recruiting bartender Drake to first steal an artifact at an auction before Santiago Moncada (Antonio Bandera) is able to place a winning bid on it. The artifact is needed to lead them on a quest for the lost gold treasure of explorer Magellan, which takes them to Spain and the Philippines. Sprinkled among their adventures are key iconic moments from the video games, such as the cargo plane sequence from Uncharted 3 (the main poster and artwork for this film even pay homage to that video game’s cover art). The film may work better for those unfamiliar with the video games, but for fans, there are just too many glaring holes and missteps in the script. And that is a real shame.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Uncharted was captured at 3.4K resolution on Arri Alexa Mini and SXT Plus cameras, likely completed as a 2K digital intermediate with an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 with Dolby Vision for its premium theatrical engagements. Sony’s upscaled 2160p HEVC-encoded transfer for this disc also includes both Dolby Vision and HDR10 flavors of high dynamic range. This is pretty much what one expects from a modern film and Sony, with exceptional fine detail, deep blacks, and naturally vivid colors. There really is nothing negative nor original to say about the transfer.

Audio: 4.5/5

The default Dolby Atmos track is active and engaging, but not exactly as aggressive as one would expect for an action film of this type. LFE is strong where needed but never overly boomy. Surrounds help create an immersive feel, with a sense of overhead extensions but nothing overly discrete. Dialogue remains clear and understandable throughout.

Special Features: 3/5

The UHD disc contains one special feature, an Audio Commentary, otherwise all of the video based features can be found on the included Blu-ray edition of the movie.

Audio Commentary with Director Ruben Fleischer: Fleisher is overly enthusiastic about being involved in this film, which he incorrectly credits as the first movie from Playstation Productions (it was the animated Ratchet & Clank from 2016).

Deleted and Extended Scenes (1080p; 10:23): A total of eight scenes are included – Museum Deleted Scene; Original Sully Intro (the intro used in the trailers); Private Plane Extended Cut; Alternate Barcelona Arrival; Extended Safe House & Balcony; Braddock Finds Sully Outside the Antechamber; Inside the Car Trunk; and Nate Finds Magellan’s Note.

Never a Dull Moment: Stunts & Action (1080p; 5:54): An EPK piece centered on the stunts from the film.

Becoming Nathan Drake (1080p; 3:59): Standard EPK fluff on Mark Wahlberg being originally attached as Nathan Drake (back when it was going to be based more directly on the video games), casting Tom Holland in the main role, and the homages to the video game.

Villains, Backstabbers & Accomplices (1080p; 4:20): A look at the various other characters from the film.

Charting the Course: On Set with Ruben Fleischer (1080p; 4:28): Typical EPK piece with cast and crew gushing over the film’s director, Ruben Fleischer.

The Buddy System (1080p; 3:49): A look at the chemistry between Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg.

Big Action Breakdown: C-17 Globemaster (1080p; 5:03): A look at the cargo plane sequence.

Music Video – No Mind by Milkblood (1080p; 2:38)

Theatrical Marketing (1080p; 4:12): Four EPK pieces likely shown as part of the pre-show in cinemas prior to the movie’s theatrical release – Just a Little Charted; Bromantic; Harry & Tom; and Stunts.

Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy in 4K on Movies Anywhere and points o Sony Rewards.

Overall: 3.5/5

Uncharted is one of many movie adaptations of video games that fails to translate the characters, excitement, and storyline from its source material, not to mention the miscasting of its two lead characters. While the presentation is up to the usual Sony standards, the movie itself is a bit of a disappointment.

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Published by

Todd Erwin

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Robert Harris

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Could not agree more.

My take is that -

A. The video games were better, with characters that worked as part of the storyline;

B. The game characters knew why they were there;

C. Someone decided to make live action sequences appear as if part of a video game. The chase across rooftops is a perfect example;

D. Makes me long for the screenplays of Robert Bolt.
 

Indy Guy

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After watching the 4K disc last night and agreeing with all the above comments, I decided to revamp a post left months ago on another Uncharted thread...

The Uncharted games were a huge success and had a major crossover following because of their cinematic style. The "cut scene" movies that gamers post on line by recording their game play, can be almost as engaging as many feature films!

As mentioned above, it's hard to get past the absolutely wrong casting of Tom Holland as Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as Sully...not because of acting, but because they cannot possibly fill the shoes of existing iconic characters.
This was an opportunity for Sony Playstation to create a new form of entertainment. Budgets could have exceeded the costs for either a top notch game or action film by combining efforts. Sony could have taken CG feature filmmaking several steps above the best cut scene quality of Uncharted 4, knowing that after a theatrical run, the digital film file would be re-formated for Playstation gaming in addition to streaming and physical media.
As such, the story could be enjoyed as a movie, or the entire plotline could be put up for grabs by experiencing Uncharted in gaming mode.

As for the use of CG art in telling stories, the emotionally charged moments between Nathan and Elena Drake in Uncharted 4 border on smoldering, and that's using 6 year old CG technology!
Photo-realistic CG personalities and character development is not so far fetched any more, and sooner or later it will happen, inviting audiences to explore areas only quickly brushed by in live action films.
Hit games like Uncharted make the same profit as high grossing action features, so profit potential on a new age double product could be huge as its target is two vast established audiences.
Also, unlike a certain action star going at it again at age 78, Nathan Drake would be digitally available to play future roles in prime condition.

If all this sounds crazy, or if you're not familiar with the cinematic look of the Uncharted "cut scenes", do look up one of the many on-line "Uncharted cut scene movies". (Especially from the technically advanced Uncharted 4.)
Versions range from an hour to over 6 hours based on the ingenuity of the gamers who post them.
Don't harshly judge the funky game action created by the players...focus on Sony's story driven animation and acting. Then imagine what it might look like if funding was enough to create a fully convincing adventure film co-existing along side the immersive and variable gaming world.
A true missed opportunity on Sony's part to bring iconic characters to life and perhaps start a new era of entertainment in a modern world shaking off old conventions!
 

Todd Erwin

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If all this sounds crazy, or if you're not familiar with the cinematic look of the Uncharted "cut scenes", do look up one of the many on-line "Uncharted cut scene movies". (Especially from the technically advanced Uncharted 4.)


 

Keith Cobby

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I had intended to buy the 4k disc but decided to stream it on Prime. Maybe it's me, but like other films I have seen lately (eg. Death on the Nile, Jungle Cruise) it seems underpowered. Until recently I hadn't realised it was based on a video game, I asked my son about it and he said it was on the Playstation whereas he (and his friends) are Xbox aficionados. I agree about the casting, and couldn't see past Tom's youthful Spiderman character, but the one instance that took me completely out of the film was lifting a several hundred year old ship by helicopter. I think my problem with these contemporary films is their utter reliance on (often bad) CGI. One of the (many) reasons I like Tenet is that it was real location stunt work. I know that these types of film are not made for me, but I couldn't persuade my teenage son to watch it. He was vindicated when I told him it was a 2 out of 5!