The following contains spoilers for the new Uncharted movie.
After years of delays the Uncharted movie was finally released last weekend, and based on the initial box office, it looks like the film is a solid hit. While it certainly isn’t the blockbuster that was Tom Holland’s other recent film, it could turn out to be one of the bigger movies based on video games, and fans of the game franchise were likely a big portion of those who went to the movies opening weekend.
Those fans were certainly not disappointed. While the movie was technically an origin story for the character of Nathan Drake, and thus didn’t need to have any specific connection to the video game series, there were more than a few moments in the movie that were specific nods to the games. Here are a few of the best.
The Airplane Sequence
The Uncharted game franchise lends itself well to becoming a movie in many ways and one of those ways is that the games have big action set pieces that would not be out of place in a big Hollywood movie, and now one of them actually is. The entire airplane sequence, which opens the film, before being returned to later, which shows Nate using cargo crates and nets to keep from falling to his doom, is taken directly from Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.
The sequence is also, in a more subtle way, a nod to Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, in that that the game also opens with Nathan Drake in peril, in that particular case with Nate inside a train car that is hanging over a cliff. Eventually the game jumps back in time to show us how he got there, in much the same way the film does with the airplane.
Nathan Drake’s Video Game Voice
While most of the references to the Uncharted games that we see in the movie are references to the story and characters of those games, one of the references is to the people that make said games. In this case, the original Nathan Drake, Nolan North, who provides the voice of the character in the games, makes a brief appearance.
After Nate survives the fall from the airplane and makes it to a beach, he finds a bunch of resort vacationers, including one man who remarks that Nate and Chloe have clearly been through some stuff. Nate tells him what he just went through, and the man says that something similar happened to him once. This is Nolan North, and the statement is, of course, a reference to the above, and that the video game Nathan Drake had been there before.
A Ship Filled With Treasure In A Cave
A lot of the Uncharted movie is inspired by the most recent game in the franchise, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, including the fact that Nathan Drake has a brother, which doesn’t come up before that game.
Another reference to that game is found in the way Nate finds the ships full of treasure. They are seen beached on an island, inside a cave. Nate is also looking for a ship full of treasure in the most recent game, and when he discovers it, it’s found in a very similar location.
The Shoulder Holster
One thing that you don’t see in the Uncharted movie that is a big part of the games is gunplay. Nate is always armed in the Uncharted games and while he’s willing and able to throw a good punch when necessary, his normal way of dealing with the bad guys in the games is to shoot them.
Tom Holland’s version of the character doesn’t do much shooting, and doesn’t pick up a gun until near the end of the film. When he does, he also grabs a shoulder holster off a defeated thug to keep it in. The moment even gets its own musical sting, as the addition of the holster has Tom Holland looking like the complete Nathan Drake of the games for the first time.
The Title Music
The Uncharted movie has some pretty solid music but of all the musical moments that we get, the one most important to fans of the games comes at the end. The title of the movie doesn’t actually arrive until the film is over, and when it does, it brings with it a familiar leitmotif.
The music you hear at the title is Nathan Drake’s theme in the video game series, as written by Greg Edmonson. The music seems to be designed to indicate that Nathan Drake has finally truly arrived.
There are a couple of important post-credits scenes in Uncharted that are clearly designed to set up future movies, but the scenes are also designed to reference the video games. In the last scene we see Nate trying to obtain a map from an unsavory character.
The map will look familiar as it’s something Nathan Drake already has in his possession at the beginning of the first Uncharted game, Drake's Fortune, where he goes on a search for El Dorado. A sequel could end up being a direct adaptation of the first game, or it could be another original story, but it seems that either way, we have already caught up to the timeline of the games.
The Post-Credits Mustache
But let us not forget the mustache in the room. When we see Mark Wahlberg’s Sully in the same post-credits scene, he is now sporting an impressive mustache. In the same way that Tom Holland didn’t look quite like Nathan Drake until he was wearing a shoulder holster, Wahlberg’s Sully was missing something too.
Sully in the games has an impressive mustache and so Wahlberg growing one here is a reference to the games as well. Will he keep it in the sequels? We’ll have to get them to know for sure.
The Uncharted movie was designed to stand alone from the games and considering that there was no guarantee this would ever become a franchise this might have been the only chance fans would have to see Uncharted as a movie, so it’s little surprise it found a way to include these references for fans. Of course, now that the movie has had a strong box office start, perhaps there will be opportunity for even more Uncharted in the future.
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