Movies based on video games have a long, and sordid, history in the annals of cinema but a recent fan-made creation set in the Uncharted universe has Internet critics raving about it. The short film starring Hollywood star Nathan Fillion proves that movies set in video game worlds need not be steaming piles of waste with a short piece that captures the spirit and vibe of the games without being weighed down by that heritage.
And to be clear, choosing Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series to make a fan-made film is no easy task. Known for making some of the most cinematic and compelling games in the industry, Naughty’s Uncharted joins their other game The Last of Us, a title often cited for its compelling plot that is often delivered via the devices of cinema.
Running at less than 15 minutes in length it would almost seem unfair to compare the Uncharted fan film to full-fledged Hollywood releases like Mortal Kombat, Assassin’s Creed, Resident Evil, or Silent Hill, but such is the quality of the effort. Though completely unendorsed by Naughty Dog, the film by filmmaker Allan Unger has the fit and finish of a big budget, official version.
For those unfamiliar with the Uncharted series of games it is basically a modern spin on the Indiana Jones formula. With 9 games in its mainline series, it is also a world rich with lore and character development. Gamers have spent time with Nathan Drake since his first outing all the way back in 2007 on the PlayStation 3 and he remains a compelling icon of gaming even today. Last year’s Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is one of the best games released and had critics raving about its solid gameplay. Being the first Uncharted game on the PlayStation 4, the graphics, of course, took center stage in what is a very compelling experience.
The games are so much like a movie that fans have often speculated on actors that could potentially portray Nathan Drake in a game, and it seems the makers of the short film are well aware of this. Casting Nathan Fillion as the titular character is a nod to fan speculation on who would portray the best Nathan Drake.
The viral fan-made film has spurred talks of something larger being possible down the line. Though completely speculative at this point, Entertainment Weekly reports that Allan Unger has received inquiries about doing something larger with the project in the future though Sony had no comment as of press for Entertainment Weekly. Sony’s silence on the project is not necessarily a bad thing and the company’s eventual involvement with anything official is certain as they own the IP. Perhaps the company is mulling about the potential of the franchise in the realm of film? Afterall, while video games are often the subject matter of popular film adaptations, that doesn’t mean they work as movies. As cited in the examples earlier, sometimes the translation from video game to silver screen leaves a lot to be desired.