This adaptation of the video game never intended to take any risks or reinvent the wheel, but instead sets out to provide entertainment for cinemagoers in general, with an added wink to gaming fans
Before ever adapting a title like Uncharted, showrunners were already dealt a losing hand as this saga from the good folk at Naughty Dog has played a pivotal role in consecrating videogaming narrative, feeding off the player’s ability to be gobsmacked and has pulled this off by recreating the cathartic effect of classic adventure cinema, that unique feeling of finding a treasure after a long and arduous hunt. In other words, the reason the game has become so popular is that from the moment you enter, you feel as if you’re starring in a film where you determine whether the heroes come away with the spoils, or not. As such, the inevitable comparison with any big screen spin-off bearing the game’s hallmark was always doomed to come a cropper, both in relation to the video game and the adventure genre itself, what with Indiana Jones permanently lurking in the shadows to remind you that you missed a spot.
Now, this isn’t to say that the movie Uncharted doesn’t work, especially when we consider how it manages to give a nod and a wink to gaming fans, without losing sight of its target general public audience. As to the former and without giving too much away, it’s a genuine festival, boasting some truly applaudable cameos, an intelligent use of the main Uncharted theme, composed by Greg Edmonson (hugely underrated talent by the way) and in a second post-credits scene where the panicked reaction of players is a direct tribute to their loyalty.
As for the movie’s strictly cinematic value, Uncharted never intended to take any risks or reinvent the wheel, mindful that it had to appeal to audiences who may never have even played a console, and as such opts for a light-hearted tale without much ado or hang-ups and reminiscent of those early afternoon B movies that stuck in your mind but that you’d never remember the titles of, like Treasure of the Yankee Zephyr or Biggles: Adventures in Time. So, in this sense it does miss the opportunity to break the mold and forge a fresh path forward when it comes to certain genre-specific clichés (especially in terms of structure, which sticks to the manual like a fly on Pence), but is however a dynamic and self-aware tale, a call to uninhibited entertainment, proudly sporting its references and adept at taking full advantage of our wanderlust, Barcelona included.
Other virtues worth highlighting include its casual air, and we were long overdue for a dose of entertaining cinema devoid of operatic reflections that had us in and out in under two hours; or the on-screen chemistry between Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, appealing to the good ol’ adventure subgenre ‘buddy movies’ and which will leave you wanting more, something that’s always of great merit. Into the bag we could also add the ingenious climax, almost an alternative and hyperbolic version of the final scene of The Goonies. Ruben Fleischer’s film, like the video game it is adapted from, manages to evoke in audiences the children we once were who dreamed of traveling to the far corners of the globe in search of lost treasures, more than sufficient reason in itself to make this film one worth watching.