Movies based on video games are being made more and more, and they’re finally starting to be made at least somewhat well. Sonic the Hedgehog, Detective Pikachu, Werewolves Within, and Mortal Kombat have each been extremely entertaining and are all paving the way for video game movies to be more respected and hopefully more accurate to the source material. Uncharted is next in line to get the big budget movie treatment, and the trailer is filled with details about the film and references to the video game series. Let’s examine the trailer to see what clues we can find.
The trailer begins with a shot of Tom Holland’s Nathan Drake exploring an ancient tomb. The setting immediately jumps out as something you’d see in an Uncharted game. The set design here, and presumably throughout the movie, looks to be especially impressive. The production designers definitely put a lot of effort into building these elaborate sets.
There’s a voiceover from Nathan Drake himself saying “there are places out there you can’t find on any map.” This is the exact definition of the word “uncharted,” so thanks for that, professional script writers. The character with him in the tomb appears to be Chloe Frazer, but I’ll get to that later.
He continues to say that these places “aren’t gone; they’re just lost,” while pulling a world map out from under sand. It makes one wonder what place he’s set out to look for. This opening scene to the trailer immediately tells the audience what kind of film they’d be seeing, which is obviously vital. Fans of The Goonies and Indiana Jones would likely already be onboard with this movie even if they haven’t played the video games.
The next shot of the trailer reveals that Nathan Drake will be in New York City at some point during the movie. Obviously, there aren’t ancient tombs in New York City, so this and the map indicate that he’ll be traveling to different places around the world, much like in the games.
Nate appears to be bartending when he meets his mentor and bestfriend Sully for the first time. This may be different than how they meet in the flashbacks we see in the games, but it’s still not a bad meeting by any means. They joke about each others’ ages here which brings me to something that stands out quite a bit. It’s clear that Sony has decided to go with more of an origin story that we only see a little bit of in the games as flashbacks, which is ultimately fine. It is rather strange that Nate and Sully are doing things here that they do in the games decades later, though.
It might also affect the story in other ways, like since Nate meets Elena (his future wife and very main character in the games) as an adult, will she not be present in the movie? That might feel like a strange absence since she’s so vital to the source material. Assuming there are sequels with the same actors, then the whole movie series will feature the characters being decades younger than the source material, which doesn’t make much sense for an adaptation.
That being said, these are fantastic actors, and they prove in this scene they can portray the characters well and play off each other nicely. Plus we get a taste at some of the humor here and it’s very reminiscent of the humor used throughout the games.
While looking around a study filled with books and postcards, Nate is drawn to another map. He points out that this map shows the path that Magellan used to sail around the world. Sully taking note that Nate seems to know a lot about world history seems to be a clue he’s looking to recruit him for some kind of job.
While flipping through a history book, Antonio Banderas’ character is seen on one of the pages with an older gentleman. Are the two related, or is Baneras’ character working for him? The book is titled An 800-Year Dynasty: The House of Moncada. It looks like Nate and Sully may be studying up on the Moncada Dynasty, who will likely be used as the antagonists for the film.
Nate and Sully discuss “the biggest treasure that’s never been found,” which leads to the plot of almost every Uncharted game since there’s apparently a handful of massive, undiscovered treasures. The movie is already hitting the mark quite well. Sully mentions that it’s likely worth five billion dollars, so there’s a pretty big motive for both our heroes and our villains.
After a shot of some treasure and staring at building blueprints (likely to set up some kind of heist), Nate and Sully then discuss Nate’s brother Sam, who was introduced in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Where Sam isn’t brought up in the earlier games in the series, it’s an interesting decision to have him be somewhat of a focus this soon in the movies (let’s face it, there will likely be more), but it does make a lot of sense where he has such an important impact of Nate’s life. Perhaps we’ll see Sam in the film or during a post credits scene of some sort.
The talk of Sam is immediately followed by a closeup of one of the most iconic and important items in the video game series: Francis Drake’s ring. Nate, being the self-proclaimed descendant of Francis Drake, wears the ring around his neck by a chain. It’s helped Nate and his allies decode puzzles throughout much of the first game, and it’s engraved with “Sic Parvis Magna,” which was Francis Drake’s motto that means “Greatness From Small Beginnings.” It heavily serves as a motivation for Nate to travel the world in search of treasure and to make a name for himself, so it’s extremely important to use in the movie as well.
Nate drives a motorboat in the next scene to showcase some of the traveling we’ll see in the film. What’s interesting here is his attire. So far, during the tomb scene in the beginning of the trailer and during this scene, Nate’s attire is identical to different outfits the character wears throughout the video game series. There’s certainly a close attention to detail in this attempt at bringing a video game to life.
Nate then climbs out of some water in a cave. He’s seen wearing the ring around his neck here as well, further resembling Nathan Drake’s video game attire. What’s interesting here is that he’s not currently with Sully or any of his allies. This works fine in gameplay segments where the player has to figure things out for themselves, but will seeing it in a movie allow for Nate’s sarcastic quips?
He comes across a shipwreck in this cave. Not only is this extremely reminiscent of the third act in The Goonies, but there’s plenty of shipwrecks seen throughout the Uncharted games. However, this particular shipwreck resembles the one toward the end of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, interestingly enough.
Sully says that “if we find that gold, we find him too.” Does this mean that Sam left Nate behind to find this same treasure? How would they know that, and why does Sully know so much about Sam if he’s just meeting Nate for the first time in this film? These will hopefully be answered when the movie hits theaters.
We then see yet another location in this globe-trotting film. There looks to be some CGI used on the building in the foreground, but it looks like a great blend of filming on location, CGI, and set design. Already from this trailer I’m expecting Oscar-worthy production design.
Chloe approaches Sully and Nate asking”who the hell is this.” She also mentions that she’s one of Sully’s friends. We never find out how Chloe knows Nate or Sully in the games. She’s just sort of introduced as one of their previously existing allies and we’re expected to just go with it, so it’s actually pretty cool that we get more of an explanation as to how she came into our heroes’ lives. Obviously, she’s made younger to match Nate and Sully being younger. That being said, given how Hollywood is with action films, a male lead is likely to end up with the female lead romantically. To not have Elena, Nate’s love interest and eventual wife in the games, but to have Chloe present instead is some dangerous territory. Hopefully Elena is eventually introduced so the movie studio doesn’t feel tempted to use Chloe as Nate’s love interest. Also, why does Sully know this woman who’s clearly decades younger than he is?
The next couple of shots have Nate and Chloe parkouring across rooftops. Not only is this a welcome confirmation that Uncharted’s revolutionary platforming mechanics from the games made it into the movie, but these rooftops also totally resemble the ones used in a couple of the online multiplayer maps.
After seeing Nate go for a swim, Antonio Banderas’ character steps out of a rather fancy-looking car. He and Nate have a conversation about being “collectors.” There’s a ruby-encrusted cross being kept in a case at the formal event they’re at. Perhaps this artifact is a part of the treasure, or a clue to finding it.
Banderas’ character says that his family has been looking for this treasure for a very long time. His family is likely the Moncada family mentioned in the book from earlier in the trailer. With what is presumably his hench-person drawing a blade on Sully, it’s likely we have been introduced to the film’s antagonists. They’re not in the games, but each game features a different villainous organization after the same treasure Nate and his friends are, so that’s not exactly much of a change here.
Nate gets into a bit of a tussle with some guards to showcase some of the action that will be in the movie. The games feature a mix of melee combat and gunplay, and both look to be present here. He also swings from the light fixture to further drive home the platforming and climbing the games often focus on.
At what is likely the same formal event, Nate and Sully communicate with earpieces. Sully teasing Nate about holding his finger to his ear shows us more of the type of humor we should expect to see and shows the type of relationship Nate and Sully form over the course of the story.
Chloe nabs a bag in an underwater scene. There’s a good amount of underwater scenes and swimming mechanics also focused on in the game series, so it’s fun to see it here too. It makes one wonder what she has hidden in that bag. She then says “you have no idea who you’re partnered with” while pointing a gun at someone off-camera. Who could she be aiming that pistol at? LEt’s hope she’s not betraying Nate! Either way, it looks like there will be some treachery in the story which could lead to a lot of suspense and excitement.
There’s then more action shown, which has Nate shooting his pistol while swinging on a rope atop a pirate ship. That’s probably one of the most Uncharted-looking scenes you could possibly get. He says he’s been “dreaming about this stuff since I was a kid.” Compared to his source material counterpart, he is still a kid. This line sounds like there may be more reminiscing about the past which may include his brother Sam some more.
Three mercenaries dressed in all black then step out of a black jet. Yup, here are the villains! Tati Gabrielle seems to be playing Antonio Banderas’ character’s right hand. If you’ve seen The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, then you’ll know she can play an antagonist quite well.
There’s a blink-and-you’d-miss-it shot of Nate looking at a postcard sent from Sam. It reads “There’s a whole world you haven’t seen, but you wll. – S.” Nate points a flashlight on the back of the postcard to reveal some sort of hidden message that can’t be made out quite yet. It’s exciting that we’re not just getting the characters and action from the games, but we’re also going to be able to see the puzzle-solving on the big screen, which is extremely exciting for fans of the games. He says “My brother Sam left one final clue.” Is this postcard the “final clue?” This does seem to be confirmation that Sam left Nate so he could find this treasure.
There’s then some very quick glimpses of Nate and Chloe solving a puzzle, discovering a secret entrance in some fancy-looking manor, and setting off a boobytrap. Again, the sets in this movie are going to be extraordinary. Plus, it’s incredible how well they’ve brought the feel of the source material’s gameplay into a live action movie.
There’s some gunplay, combat, and acrobatics shown next that’s set inside an airplane flying over a tropical island. This scene looks exhilarating, and it leads into one of the best parts of the trailer: Nathan Drake climbing across crates dangling from a flying plane. They managed to completely recreate the iconic scene from Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. This segment of the game is so big that it was used as the box art for the “Game of the Year Edition” of Uncharted 3 and as the Uncharted stage in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Now we get to see it in live action on the big screen? This is a huge win for Uncharted fans.
The next scene of the trailer has Nate back on the plane interacting with a goon who has a thick Scottish accent. Nate not understanding what the baddie is saying is quite funny and matches the personality of his video game counterpart wonderfully. Tom Holland may be much younger than Nathan Drake is in the games, but he’s got the perfect personality for the role.
We then see the characters shining a flashlight down a spiderweb-infested tunnel. I personally wouldn’t go through it, but it looks like a dangerous situation to see them in which will be fun to watch.
After seeing Sully in another fight against Tati Gabrielle, Nate gets hit by what looks to be the same car Antonio Banderas drove to the formal gathering earlier and is sent soaring through the air without a parachute. This looks like a high-octane moment that must be seen on a theater screen to fully appreciate.
The trailer ends there, and it’s genuinely difficult not to feel excited to see this movie. It looks like a fun ride for fans of the video game series and for newcomers craving a good treasure hunting adventure movie.
From this trailer alone, it looks like a major movie studio is actually making an effort to bring a video game to life and to pay attention to the source material. The characters’ ages are definitely off-putting and certain events occurring at different times than they did in the games is strange. Everything else in the trailer, though, feels true to the spirit of Uncharted and an absolute thrill ride. Uncharted is set to release in theaters February 18, 2022.