How Uncharted Could Solve Video Game Adaptions’ Big Downfall

A cinematic adaptation of Uncharted has been the wish of many fans and moviegoers alike for quite some time. Now that it is finally happening, it can set the stage for better video game adaptations to emerge, as well as the possibility of having more adventure movies rising into the spotlight.

It took over a decade for Sony to move forward with the production of Uncharted. The wait was so long that Mark Wahlberg, who was once ready to star as the main character Nathan Drake, dropped to the supporting role of Victor Sully, leaving space for Tom Holland to take over. Besides its stars, the project also had many directors attached throughout these years until finally landing on Ruben Fleischer. Both trailers for the film promise a ride that resembles the video game’s spectacular action sequences.

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However, resembling its counterpart is not enough to make a good movie adaptation, as many would agree. There are several past examples of video game adaptations that have tried that to disappointment. In contrast with Uncharted, Alicia Vikander’s Tomb Raider, the most recent adaptation of the video game with the same name, portrays adventurer Lara Croft in an origin story that had the exact look of the latest trilogy video game installments. Sadly, the movie didn’t move enough audiences to secure a sequel, nor was it particularly critically acclaimed.

Tomb Raider is probably the most comparable example to Uncharted: both video games feature an adventurer who journeys into exotic scenarios and uncovers ancient mysteries. Angelina Jolie first played the role of Lara Croft back in 2001 and later in its sequel, The Cradle of Life, in 2003. However, the franchise grew cold over some dubious creativity choices, poor screenwriting and an overall lack of resemblance to the video game. Vikander’s film is by far an improvement, but staying so close to the game turned it into an uninspired and bland origin story.

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Director Ruben Fleischer, however, believes that a video game to movie adaption should not try to recreate the experience of the video game, to begin with. In the February 2022 edition of Empire magazine, the director said that despite drawing inspiration from the video game’s experience, he “wanted to make sure it worked as a film first” He confirmed that a few never before seen set pieces were added to the story to make Uncharted’s third act mind-blowing and exciting for fans.

If Uncharted lives up to its expectations it could do much more than just break the video game adaptation curse and also favor moviegoers with the possibility of more adventure films. Hollywood is full of franchises springing from surprise hits: pirate movies were once considered a cursed genre until Pirates of the Caribbean came along, and its success spawned into a five-movie franchise. The fantasy genre also struggled to achieve recognization for its quality and stories until The Lord of the Rings captivated massive audiences and won 11 Oscars.

Well-regarded adventure movies like Indiana Jones are sparse, and Uncharted may very well change that. Nevertheless, even if it underperforms, it is still good to see that there’s an effort to bring the genre to the big screen. Hopefully, audiences will be seeing much more of Tom Holland as Nathan Drake and more exotic adventures on the big screen in Uncharted's wake.

To see if the film scores well with critics and audiences, Uncharted is set to hit theaters on Feb. 18, 2022. 

KEEP READING: Uncharted: Fans Still Want Nathan Fillion As Nathan Drake - So Why Wasn’t He Cast?

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Carlos T. Lopes (3 Articles Published)

Portuguese versatile filmmaker and creative with international experience with short-films, documentaries, video and writing. With an MA in Directing at MetFilm School London, his passion for film is enhanced by writing and researching about big quality film productions.

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