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Despite enticing action scenes, 'Uncharted' plot lacks direction

Film captures audience with heist scenes but needs deeper dialogue, character development

<p>The film is an adaptation of the video game “Uncharted” and follows a treasure hunter and pickpocket on their quest to recover the 500-year-old lost fortune accumulated by explorer Ferdinand Magellan during his 1519 Spanish expedition to the East Indies.</p><p>Courtesy of Sony Pictures</p>

The film is an adaptation of the video game “Uncharted” and follows a treasure hunter and pickpocket on their quest to recover the 500-year-old lost fortune accumulated by explorer Ferdinand Magellan during his 1519 Spanish expedition to the East Indies.

Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Through both the creativity of gameplay mechanics and their immersive decision making processes, video games have always been an exciting world to draw the latest blockbuster from. So it’s no surprise that one of last month’s most anticipated releases was an adaptation of a video game series created by Amy Hennig. “Uncharted,” directed by Ruben Fleischer and starring acclaimed names such as Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, gave new viewers an introduction to the world of the “Uncharted” series while simultaneously allowing veterans of the game to experience their beloved characters with a cinematic twist.

“Uncharted” follows infamous treasure hunter Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) and cunning pickpocket prodigy Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) as they work in cahoots on the heist of the century. In this “Ocean’s Eleven”-esque adventure, there is only one goal: recover the 500-year-old lost fortune accumulated by explorer Ferdinand Magellan during his 1519 Spanish expedition to the East Indies. While looking for this elusive treasure is a hard feat by itself, the two are also followed by billionaire Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas), who is under the assumption that the treasure belongs to his family, and his hired mercenary leader Jo Braddock (Tati Gabrielle). In addition, an ambiguous comradeship with another treasure hunter, Chloe Frazer (Sophia Taylor Ali), keeps the protagonists on their toes during the entirety of their hunt.

One aspect of the movie that has to be discussed is its cinematography. The filming of this movie is spectacular, with several scenes leaving viewers in awe. Shots of the various countries that Sully and Drake visit on their treasure hunt could by themselves be used as tourism advertisements. Moreover, action-packed scenes shot in high-risk situations leave the audience on the edge of their seats, rooting for their favorite duo to make it out of whatever pickle they find themselves in.

In combination with the shots, the speed at which the movie progresses is noteworthy. This film does not feel like a two-hour movie, but instead provides viewers with the minimum amount of information necessary and jumps right into the action. The duration of each fight is short, and the choreography is enthralling. The musical score also acts as a great accompaniment, increasing the intensity of whichever scene it supports.

While the shots are outstanding, the dialogue of this movie is contentious. A number of the one-liners fell flat or were cliched, breaking what immersion the cinematography created. While the writing shows weakness in various characters’ dialogues, it is most prominent in the antagonists’ monologues, such as those delivered by Moncada or Braddock. This weakness is also especially noticeable in the banter between Sully and Drake. After employing two actors known for their witty remarks, charming personalities and captivating chemistry in leading roles, the film failed to use both’s talents to their full potential.

Similarly, the movie’s characterisation is lacking. For viewers who are not familiar with the “Uncharted” series, the unfulfilled character development in the movie leaves viewers with a desire for more. This is especially problematic with the female characters in the movie. Braddock and Frazer receive brief background descriptions and costume changes, yet they seem extremely one-dimensional. Their action scenes are noteworthy, but giving female characters moments of strength does not absolve the movie from failing to implement any form of plot development for them.

Frazer acts as a character meant only to exemplify Drake’s abilities and internal development, whereas Braddock serves only as a foil for Sully while playing the generic heist movie antagonist. The character development that does occur — that of Sully and Drake — is shoved in the audience’s faces with overly obvious flashbacks and stereotypical dialogue.

“Uncharted” is a typical Fleischer movie, reminiscent of his previous works. It has notable similarities to “Zombieland” through the huge text plastered across various scenes. Holland and Wahlberg also do not stray too far from their typical roles. For example, Drake reminds viewers of a slightly aged-up and angstier version of the beloved Peter Parker that Holland is known for.

Overall, “Uncharted” knows what type of film it is and what its audience is looking for. Audiences that come to watch a Fleischer movie know not to expect in-depth characterisation and dialogue and instead expect to experience the adrenaline rush of thrilling action scenes without looking at the plot too intensely.



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