God knows how many tears were shed by geeks after the release of the next film adaptation of the cult video game, but Ancharted fans spent just as much on the nerves of the premiere on the eve of the premiere. Adaptation has been developed since the late 00s, but unsuccessfully. So much so that Mark Wahlberg, who was originally supposed to play Nathan Drake, managed to grow old and get the role of Victor Sullivan’s overage protégé (the actor does not yet have a characteristic mustache, but if the sequel does take place, then this is a matter of time). Ruben Fleischer from a provocative zombie action director turned into a Venom director, and the game itself moved from the shelf of the best-selling new products to a box with an ageless, but no longer the most relevant classic. It’s not even about some internal mechanics of Ancharted, but rather about the aesthetics of adventure action films a la Indiana Jones, which have given way to post-apocalyptic (“The Last of Us” from the same developers) or sci-fi.
And now the adaptation of “Uncharted” still gets to the big screens. Battered partly by time, and partly by studio bosses who held the film back until a better moment, the tape looks like an outsider even against the backdrop of Emmerich’s charmingly deranged Moonfall. This is also a treasure from the obsolete era of the 00s and early 10s, only everyone was waiting for it with undisguised caustic irony: failure cannot be avoided, but at least it will be possible to laugh at stupidity. Sally (Mark Wahlberg) and Drake (Tom Holland) go on a search for Magellan’s treasure while trying to outrun the villainous Moncada (Antonio Banderas). Secret passages in temples, ancient ships, traps and falls from a bird’s eye view – I want to talk about the plot, describing the action and vivid details, rather than scenario turns.
However, was Ancharted itself once the standard of writing? Within the genre and context – of course, but after all, the original adventures of Sally and Drake fell in love not for imitating “Indiana Jones” (more precisely, not only for him). Naughty Dog has fulfilled the desire of every adventure movie teen to be a part of the incredible action – an adorable treasure hunter with a stylish holster and sharp tongue. Fleischer’s Uncharted, oddly enough, successfully captures the spirit of the original. Here, even many scenes (falling from a cargo plane, solving mysteries in Spanish temples) migrated directly from the video game, and those that the scriptwriters themselves came up with look quite in the style of the original source.
The final – and craziest – episode here is completely original: the villains lift two giant ships into the air with the help of helicopters, so that the next 20 minutes the heroes will fight on flying ships – step aside, Pirates of the Caribbean. In the game, this scene would have felt completely different, without the proper scale, bewitching general plans, and even more proportionate suspense: if Drake falls, alas, it will not work from the same place. Actually, the whole denouement of “Uncharted” justifies the existence of this movie – devoid of a sense of proportion, spectacular and hilarious so much that for once you want not to be in the place of the characters, but simply to watch their adventures from the side.
“Uncharted” can hardly be called a conventional film adaptation of a video game: there is too little fan service, too many jokes that change the rules of the game on the go. Mark Wahlberg (the movie’s best) peeks out of hiding like a jack-in-the-box during all the action scenes. Antonio Banderas, it seems, without changing his costume from the shooting of a perfume advertisement, casually wandered into the Ancharteda site. Everything here is ridiculous, but amazingly alive: either Fleischer remembered his best years, or just covid taught us to appreciate studio cinema, in which there is some spark of extravagance.
And even the casting of Holland, at first frightening with its marketing accuracy and lack of character, turns out to be justified. He really isn’t a Drake – at least not at first. The new “Uncharted” does a clever trick and turns the typical idealist who wants to fix the world (Spider-Man: No Way Home) into a real scoundrel, thief and adventurer. Hollywood cinema has taught us that we must strive for the highest ideals. The Fleischer film, of course, agrees, but inserts one “but”: the main thing is to keep your eyes open, watch your partners and be prepared for the fact that everyone will sell you for a piece of gold.