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(SMALL SPOILER ALERT FOR THE SHORT FILM - SOME PLOT DETAILS ARE MENTIONED.)
Video game to film adaptations are, to be frank, rarely any good at all. Even those that fair slightly better with audiences and critics (such as this year's Tomb Raider adaptation) come across as only just better than other adaptions. The Uncharted series is just one example of a popular, critically praised video game franchise that Hollywood has set its eyes on, in yet another attempt to prove that films based on games barely ever work as good movies, let alone companion pieces to those games they are based on.
However, the internet has opened up a much wider variety of opportunities for creators to release their passions to the world, and with this new-found freedom comes more adaptations of popular video games. This new wave of entertainment is different, though—in that these new adaptations receive far more success than their big-screen counterparts. Adaptations such as Castlevania on Netflix have been praised for successfully translating game to film, and now Uncharted has received that same treatment on YouTube.
Uncharted, starring Nathan Fillion as the protagonist of the series, Nathan Drake, is every kind of fan wish fulfillment. All aspects of what is loved about the series are wonderfully condensed into this almost-15 minute adventure. Drake has, once again, found himself on the hunt for historical documents regarding sunken treasure which is "sitting at the bottom of the Indian Ocean" as Stephen Lang's Sully states. Before he can find what he's looking for, though, he must fight off thugs working for a high-up crime boss who doesn't seem to be pleased with Drake's meddling.
Everything about this short film is a love letter to any Uncharted fan, thanks in no short order to its production. Fillion proves that he is simply perfect for this role—quick with the shooting and quicker with the quips, he effortlessly embodies the every-day-man persona Drake has been praised for portraying. His banter with Stephen Lang's Sully encapsulates their deep chemistry from the games with Lang bringing an unexpected but welcome charm to the role. Elena shows up, and there's even a reference to Chloe—a main character from the second and third installments of the series.
Fillion has been passionate about his support for the series after fans campaigned for him to be cast in the role in a major film adaptation. To their dismay, this did not reach fruition, but in the past week Fillion had posted photos that seemingly teased something Uncharted related, beginning with a photo of rapper Drake (as in, the surname of Nathan Drake) with the caption "Sic Parvis Magna" (the inscription on Drake's famous ring—"greatness from small beginnings" in Latin). This sent fans into a confused but excited state before he finally revealed what he was teasing.
Most importantly, however, Uncharted proves that fans of the games don't want to see a big-budget mess of an adaptation of their favorite game. The internet has shown itself to be a bastion of freedom for anyone seeking to do these forms of entertainment justice, be it on YouTube, Netflix or otherwise. Who knows—perhaps Netflix can pick this up and run with it as their newest beloved game adaptation.
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