Over the years, video games have been transformed into movies with varying degrees of success. And by varying degrees, we mean between no success and very little.
As far as we know, the highest-rated video game movie (at the time of writing) on Rotten Tomatoes is the Rampage movie. That Dwayne Johnson’s monster movie – with a meagre 52% on the tomatometer – is the best video game movies have to offer speaks volumes.
Tomb Raider. Assassin’s Creed. Street Fighter. Mortal Kombat. Super Mario Bros. Doom. They’ve all tried, and failed, but there are a couple of video game franchises that – with a certain cinematic bent – seem like they would fare better, and they’re both from Naughty Dog.
While official movies of The Last of Us and Uncharted have been rumoured for years, we’ve yet to see one make its way into full production, never mind theatrical release. Luckily, there are no shortage of well-made fan movies of Naughty Dog’s games on the web.
What happens, though, if those fans are actual Hollywood folk? Proper actors and directors, like, say, Nathan Fillion and Allan Ungar? The answer, my friends, is this 15-minute masterpiece.
- Nathan Fillion is almost ridiculously well-suited to play Nathan Drake. He’s got the wise cracking charm, the out-of-his-depth sloppiness, and he even looks a bit like Drake. If they ever do make an Uncharted movie, for real, he’s your guy. (Sorry, Nolan!)
- The writers of the Uncharted short – Ungar and Jesse Wheeler – have come up with an entirely plausible Uncharted yarn. An exotic setting, pirates, gangsters, inexplicably well-preserved documentation from hundreds of years ago, decorative trinkets that double up as clues, an open top jeep, the next chapter in an even more exotic setting – it’s just like the real deal.
- They did well to avoid a protracted climbing section. While the climbing and chatting sections of the Uncharted series are often great for exposition and pacing between the breathless action, Nate jumping out the window was probably a sharper move than him scaling the hacienda.
- That little third-person shooter sequence after Nate jumps out the window, complete with quips from Drake, tight camera work, and an aerial takedown? That illustrates a better understanding of video games in a movie format than basically every previous attempt (except maybe that first-person segment of the Doom movie, which is the only pulse-pounding highlight of an otherwise lacklustre movie).
TL;DR: The Uncharted short is great, and if Sony want to ditch all their previous attempts and just expand on this into a full movie? We wouldn’t complain.