The popular video game series Uncharted has been stuck in development hell since 2008, when a film adaptation was first announced. After years of false starts—including David O. Russell being attached to direct for a while in the early 2010s—Uncharted finally got off the ground, only to get delayed by COVID just weeks before it was set to start filming last year. But production eventually began, and now there is, at long last, a trailer for Uncharted starring Tom Holland as adventurer Nathan Drake. It looks… Well, it’s definitely a series of moving images with accompanying sound!
In the games, Nathan Drake is a fully grown man with beard stubble and an age somewhere around forty. In the movie, Nathan Drake is a wee baby boy with peach fuzz, because while Tom Holland is a good actor, he also has the dude equivalent of Selena Gomez’s “forever child” face. He just does not look like an adult. Maybe one day time will catch up to Tom Holland, but for now, he could convincingly play Evan Hansen on screen. The trailer acknowledges Holland’s obviously too-young face right off the bat with a joke about his age, and Mark Wahlberg’s age, and then we move on to watch wee Nathan on baby’s first adventure. At one time, Wahlberg was tipped to play Drake and that would have been a lot better than this, even though Wahlberg isn’t ideal casting, either.
I’m not even going to pick on that ludicrous airplane sequence, which is exactly the kind of thing that looks cool in a game when it’s a challenge you have to beat but looks really stupid on film. The far bigger issue for Uncharted is clearly Tom Holland’s fresh baby face. No amount of wet shirts and six packs is going to change that. If this was an original character reforming the Goonies or something, I might could roll with it. But Nathan Drake is an established character, and they’ve basically thrown him out the window while still trying to make the trappings of “Nathan Drake” work in this new context. It won’t! Context and characterization go hand-in-hand. It’s one thing The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles understood, which is why that spin-off series featured multiple ages of Indy—including Harrison Ford reprising the role—to show how Indy is “Indy” regardless of era or age. What I am mostly getting from Uncharted is that “young James Bond” is a TERRIBLE idea and Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson would be smart to avoid it.