As it makes the move from highly successful videogame franchise to the silver screen, this is Uncharted‘s chance to reach a whole different entertainment space.
PlayStation owners have had many outings with series protagonist Nathan Drake, uncovering ancient and modern mysteries, stealing artefacts, hanging from ledges and sneaking in a quip for every bad guy they shoot.
It’s Indiana Jones, it’s The Mummy and now it’s also following in the cinema footsteps of similar game-to-movie success Tomb Raider.
From the very first Uncharted game, the series was known for impressive action sequences, and we’re expecting those to be a strong focus of the movie.
But what we weren’t expecting was for Tom Holland to join Sony on stage at CES 2022 to drop a massive chunk of the movie on us.
Holland was his usual charming self, but as our friends over at Kotaku said, he battled against awkward stage conversation with Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group CEO Tom Rothman. It took fifteen seconds for the walk-on music to finish playing and poor Holland just had to smile through it, plainly wondering what was happening. When he was finally able to speak, Rothman kept awkwardly cutting him off. And then, though Holland and Rothman were at pains to talk about how Uncharted filmed a great many of its stunts practically, they threw to a trailer that was mostly CGI.
Well, it’s basically the whole movie, kind-of. Here it is:
Uncharted movie cast and plot
If you were playing Uncharted games and getting a strong Brendan Frasier in The Mummy vibe, then kudos, this was the correct reaction. But that’s not the direction Columbia Pictures wanted to go in.
In the big-screen adaptation, Tom Holland is taking on the role of Nathan Drake, with his spidey sense replaced with the power of sheer luck. The humour will be roughly the same, though. Combine this with the fact that Mark Wahlberg will be playing Sully and you’ve got two actors that look a lot younger than their parts.
This makes sense given the film is taking inspiration from Uncharted 4, which is set years before the first Uncharted game. (More on plot below.)
— Tom Holland (@TomHolland1996) October 22, 2020
Tom Holland’s performance has already been praised by Nathan Drake voice actor Nolan North: “He’s enthusiastic, he’s so athletic, he’s an amazing dancer, he actually did a lot of the stunts. His physical intelligence is off the chain.”
Holland himself previously admitted he was worried about his own performance, saying, “It was an important lesson learned, because, at times, it was less about land a mark and go through this scene and more about land a mark, stand like this and see my bulging biceps… It was a mistake and is something that I will probably never do again.”
Our bet is Holland is just being characteristically humble and self-reflective as he was during that awkward Sony CES presser.
— Uncharted (@unchartedmovie) January 1, 2021
Meanwhile, Antonio Banderas will be playing a supporting role and Sophia Ali will be playing Chloe, Drake’s kinda-sorta-not-always love interest. Funnily enough, Ali was also in a short movie called Drake’s Bell, in which her part was literally called “Love Interest”. But most people will remember her from Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Dahlia Qadri.
Director Ruben Fleischer has run the gamut of different jobs and genres. He has executive producer and director credits on The Bold Type, Santa Clarita Diet, Zombieland: Double Tap, The Mule, Superstore, Venom and Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage.
Fleischer is completing the project after it lost six directors across its entire production timeline.
Here’s the previously released trailer:
The actors being younger than they should be gives us a clue that only half makes sense. The Uncharted movie is a prequel, albeit one with a plot based on the fourth Uncharted game. The events of the movie precede the start of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, the first Uncharted game.
As Holland told Den of Geek, “For the fans that love the games, they’re getting an aspect of the story that they’ve never seen before. The people that haven’t played the games are getting a really nice introduction to a character. It kind of works for everyone.”
Chloe was designed to be a darker side to Nathan Drake and somewhat of a foil, whereas his other romantic interest, Elena, was meant to be more of a wholesome, moral character. Elena was too good for Drake (despite them being married) and Chloe was too bad for Drake.
So the presence of Chloe (and no mention of an Elena) tells us Nathan might be dragged into some things he’d prefer not to by this bad influence. That said, in the Uncharted games, Chloe had a long character arc towards being more selfless and compassionate, so perhaps that’ll play out in the movie, too.
The dynamic is clearly important for the scriptwriters here, because Chloe wasn’t originally in Uncharted 4. Elena was the main romantic interest there, as in most of the series.
We don’t know precisely how the Uncharted movie will follow the plot of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, but the game follows the Drake brothers as they search for the pirate Henry Avery’s lost treasure, competing with rival treasure-seekers, brokers, mercenary bosses and governments along the way.
The quest reveals a lot about the history of the Drake family, as well as their future. Elena and Nathan accept that adventuring is just in their blood, and they stop trying to pull away from that lifestyle.
Do I Need To Have Played The Games?
The Uncharted movie will be self-contained, so playing the games isn’t essential. It offers additional information and backstory to Uncharted‘s main characters and world, but won’t have any prerequisite knowledge.
There will be the odd Easter egg and reference for the gamers who’ve spent years with the franchise, but that will stay in the realm of non-essential. When you hear someone hoop and holler in the cinema at a strange time, you know who the die-hard Uncharted fan is, and that they just spotted an Easter egg.
After a long, long wait, Uncharted will release on February 17.
We’ve updated this article since it was first published and we will continue to make updates as we learn more about Uncharted.
While you wait, why not check out all the other sci-fi, horror and fantasy films coming our way this year.