There has never ever been a really good movie based on a video game. There have been movies of that kind that I have enjoyed but there’s always an asterisk right next to them. There are movies like Wreck-It Ralph and the more recent Free Guy that takes inspiration from video games but isn’t based on an actual video game franchise. There are also films such as the 1995 Mortal Kombat live-action movie as well as the live-action Street Fighter starring Jean-Claude Van Damne. But I revel more on how ironically terrible they are. There just hasn’t been a movie which has taken inspiration from a video game that every gamer can say it truly great and most of them are just bad.
But I have definitely kept my hopes up that, sometime in my lifetime, we’ll be getting an actual good video game movie and one that I don’t like ironically. And it seems that time may be sometime next year! That’s because I saw the Uncharted live-action trailer and it actually looks good!
Now, as someone who’s played all of the mainline Uncharted games of the franchise, I will admit the casting is less than optimal. Tom Holland simply looks too young to play Nathan Drake. The same can be said about Mark Wahlberg giving life to grizzled treasure hunter Victor “Sully” Sullivan. I can excuse it, however, because this does seem to be taking place way before the first game as the trailer does show hints of how Nathan Drake and Sully first meet. But didn’t we see that in the third game, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception? So the movie isn’t staying true to the story and the lore of the games as well. I also do have a problem with Tom Holland’s portrayal of Nathan Drake as he doesn’t seem to have that roguish charm the video game character has as he’s always ready for a snappy quip as a comeback. We just don’t see that here.
I would say the biggest atrocity I’ve seen is that Sully doesn’t have a mustache! Mark Wahlberg himself showed off Sully sporting the stylish ‘stache some months ago but he doesn’t have it in the trailer! Maybe it’ll be an after credits scene but it just seems weird to see Sully up and about without that hairy upper lip. It may be a small thing for regular moviegoers but fans of the games will definitely take offense as it’s one of the things that makes Sully a memorable character.
So it’s very obvious that, even with the trailer, I already see some flaws with the live-action Uncharted film. But even with these issues I have so far, I do see it having the best chance of doing something that other live-action films based on videos games had not. That it’s going to be a genuinely good movie.
For one thing, if you watch the Uncharted trailer, it actually looks like a movie. I’d even go as far as to say Sony Pictures and Columbia went out of the way to deny it’s based on a video game. The only real hint you may see is the PlayStation Studios logo blip in for a split second at the start and Sony promoting the games at the end. You don’t get those garish blurbs stating it’s “based on the hit video game” or something along those lines. You might say the film’s producers are trying to deny Uncharted’s video gaming roots and you might be right. But you can see how they pay homage to the plane sequence from Uncharted 3 in the trailer. So, even though they’re not broadcasting that it’s based on a game, the fans who played the games know exactly where some of the scenes are going to be borrowed from.
There’s also the matter of it being a big budget production. You have to remember that most live-action video game movies, even the more successful ones like the original Resident Evil films, were made on shoestring budgets. They look and definitely feel like cheap affairs made with trying to cash in on a popular product. Now, I’m not saying, just because Sony is throwing a lot of money at it, around $120 million according to what I’ve read, that it’s automatically going to be a good movie. There are hundreds of films where they had multi-million dollar funding backing the production and they were still trash.
In fact, there are a couple of live-action video game movies, namely Prince of Persia and Warcraft: The Beginning, that had higher budgets than Uncharted got. And both of those movies aren’t called classics by any stretch of the imagination. But I wouldn’t call those movies terrible as well. They’re both watchable movies and I can’t help that’s in part to the higher budget. Then again, there are other films like Assassin’s Creed and Rampage that were pretty much garbage. Still, the higher budget does make me a little more cautiously optimistic about Uncharted.
But I think the biggest reason why I think the Uncharted live-action movie will actually work is because of how the games are structured. All of the Uncharted games basically look and feel like a blockbuster action movie in the vein of Indiana Jones. It’s almost like watching a movie! The Uncharted games are not only entertaining for the person playing it but also for those non-gamers who would just like to watch a really good action game with a fantastic story, snappy dialogue, likable characters, a great soundtrack and gorgeous setpieces. Watching someone play the game was like watching a movie! A really long movie but a movie nonetheless!
Basically, what I’m trying to say is translating an Uncharted game to a live-action movie should be incredibly simple because the games already draw a lot of inspiration from big blockbuster action movies. Honestly, I’m more surprised they haven’t tried making them earlier and I don’t understand why the Uncharted live-action movie has been in development hell for over a decade!
Will the live-action Uncharted movie actually be any good? Well, that remains to be seen. But, from the trailer, I’m fairly confident it’ll be a fun watch and much better than most of the other video game movie adaptions that have come before it. Even if it isn’t good, at least I know they already made a much more faithful adaption of the source material way before this movie’s release.
Honestly, why didn’t you get Nathan Fillion to play Nathan Drake, Sony? He was so perfect and pretty much embodied the character!
Have you seen the live-action Uncharted trailer? Do you think it’s a good sign that the actual film with be any good? Let me know in the comments section below!