Okay, so there shouldn’t be an Uncharted movie, you guys. Uncharted 2 ranks as one of my favorite games of all time, but that doesn’t mean I want to see it turned into a movie. There are quality games that could be separate yet equal experiences as movies. Halo comes to mind. A Bioshock movie could be done right. But the Uncharted games are already cinematic experiences. They’ve already hired real actors and had those real actors do the voices and the mo-cap. Uncharted is already a movie, it’s just a movie that you also happen to be playing through.
Nathan Drake, the protagonist of the Uncharted games, is already a fully-formed character. He already has a voice, he already has a look, and both of those are performed or inspired by an existing actor: Nolan North. So when the Uncharted fanboys like me are freaking out over the casting of Mark Wahlberg as Nathan Drake, it’s not because we’re just being stupid fanboys. This casting makes the Uncharted film worse than the Spider-Man reboot. It’s taking a character and world and story that we’ve just recently experienced and loved, gutting it, recasting it, and propping it up like a real-life scene of Weekend at Bernies. So when the fanboys were chanting Nathan Fillion for Nathan Drake, they were doing it because the character of Nathan Drake is already so heavily influenced by Fillion’s Malcolm Reynolds that he’s the only established film actor we can see filling those shoes. I mean, because Harrison Ford is too old. And the casting of Marky Mark isn’t flawed because Marky Mark is a bad actor, it’s flawed because it shows how little the moviemakers are paying attention to the source material.
Here is the director of the upcoming Uncharted movie, David O. Russell, talking to the LA Times about why he is interested in making the movie:
“This idea really turns me on that there’s a family that’s a force to be reckoned with in the world of international art and antiquities … [a family] that deals with heads of state and heads of museums and metes out justice … We’ll have the family dynamic, which we’ve done in a couple of movies now. And then you take that and put it on the bigger, more muscular stage of an international action picture, but also put all the character stuff in it. That’s a really cool idea to me.”
Wait… What? What is he talking about? There’s no family in Uncharted. I mean, Nathan Drake has a father who used to be a treasure-hunter too, but he’s dead, you guys. And Sully might be like a father to Drake, but let’s not forget about that part where HE’S NOT HIS FATHER. What is he talking about? When does Nathan Drake “mete out justice” to heads of state and heads of museums? I mean, clearly he didn’t play Uncharted or Uncharted 2, but come on David O., you couldn’t read the wikipedia plot synopsis?
So I guess what I’m saying is that they haven’t even filmed a frame on the movie yet, and they’ve already effed it up. Even when you ignore the inappropriate casting of Mark Wahlberg as Drake or Robert De Niro as Sully, it’s already wrong because the movie they’re making isn’t Uncharted. And the thing is, Uncharted isn’t like the other videogames that have been adapted for the silver screen. It isn’t Max Payne. Most other videogames that have been turned into films had only a shell of a story. A shell of a character. That’s what works in a lot of videogames, and it’s why film directors are forced to take creative license when adapting these games into movie projects. So, for instance, the character of Lara Croft has a very short checklist of things to get right for the movie–Is she a badass? Does she wear tight shorts? Is she British (or at least have a british accent)? Then congrats, you did it, go ahead and film another Tomb Raider movie. But Uncharted already has a story, you guys. it already has real characters, real acting, and a real script. And because it’s a game, because it’s interactive, it has a connection to the audience that a movie adapted from a game just can’t have. Not even a movie with those 3D glasses, Hollywood, I’m sorry.
Who is this movie even FOR, you guys? It’s not for fans of the game, because it’s not going to be anything like the game. So if it’s for people who have never played Uncharted and don’t know what Uncharted is… Then why call it Uncharted? Uncharted is just a new mish-mash of Indiana Jones archetypes anyway, so why not just make a new movie about new characters? No one’s going to sue you because you make a movie about treasure-hunters. Make something new, don’t make a rushed, substandard movie adaptation of our game, and I tell you what, we promise not to make a rushed, substandard game adaptation of your movie, okay?
I’m not saying that Uncharted has the best story ever or the best characters–it’s not Citizen Kane or Star Wars–but it has the story and characters that work for a game in the year 2000-and-something. To try and translate that into film isn’t good for the Uncharted fans, it isn’t good for the movie-going public at large–it isn’t good for anyone, you guys. So here’s to hoping that this project crashes and burns before light hits celluloid, or else I’m gonna spend a lot of time saying to my non-gaming friends, “well, actually, in the game…”