Uncharted – The future fan films?

Over the past dozen years there have been many video games that have been turned into movies.  From the multiple Tomb Raider movies to Assassin’s Creed, there have been some really good adaptations and some really bad ones (Street Fighter anyone).  IN 2007 the company Naughty Dog along with Sony launched the very successful Uncharted video game series, and almost since day one fans of the game have been screaming for Nathan Drake to be brought to the big screen.  In 2010 Columbia Pictures confirmed that an Uncharted movie was in development, but all sorts of issues have plagued it from script issues to director and producer conflicts. Step forward now to July of 2018, and the filmmaker Allan Unger has done what Hollywood hasn’t, and he has made an Uncharted fan film that captures the feel of the video game and of Nathan Drake and is true to the source material, oh and did I forget to mention that Nathan Fillion, you know Captain Mal, is playing Drake!

The film is funny enough called Uncharted and as I mentioned stars Nathan Fillion as Nathan Drake and Stephen Lang (Avatar) as Sully.  It was released in July 2018 and since its release it has already amassed over four million views.  It is a short film at about fifteen minutes long, but within that runtime it tells an amazing story that would rival any Hollywood release, or at least show them what can be done with the material, as well as sets up for more Drake/Fillion adventures.  If you are one of the four million who have already seen this fan film then this will not be an issue, I am not spoiling anything for you. However, if you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading and watch it now at Uncharted because I am probably going to spoil it a little bit here.

The film starts with a aerial shot that looks like it was lifted right from the 2015 movie Sicario with the camera following a convoy of cars going into a compound of some sort.  The convoy pulls up to a very palatial villa and a group of thugs get out dragging a hooded man inside.  The hooded man is forced into a chair and the hood is ripped off his head revealing Drake. What follows is some classic Nathan Fillion, from the jokes and line delivery it is perfect, funny, and sets you up for the rest of the film.  Even when he is being beaten up he doesn’t stop with the jokes and one liners!

What follows is a classic movie trope, Drake manages to get himself free and of course takes on the entire room of thugs, however, the action sequences are really what put this film into a different category, it was really well choreographed and filmed and the sound effects and music editing are really well done.  This is even more enhanced when Drake is finally outside the house and draws his gun, the camera’s view changes and you start to watch the firefight from the perspective of a real-life third-person shooter, just like in the game! The film is very well researched and written, right down to the historical facts and dates making it very enjoyable, quick and fun to watch.

The fact that Nathan Fillion is in this film has led to a lot being written about it on sites such as Comicbook.com, and people are really starting to realize what a fan film is, and the value of a fan film.  Many years ago this was the case when Thomas Jane reprised his 2004 Punisher role in the fan film Dirty Laundry produced by Adi Shankar and directed by Phil Joanou.  The similarities are almost creepy because that film also had a well know supporting actor in it Ron Pearlman (Hellboy).  Hopefully more actors and actresses start to see the benefit of what a fan film can do to either boost their fandom (as Uncharted will do for Fillion), lead to more work, or to maybe even get more projects that have been stalled or forgotten green lit, who knows what this little fan film could lead to.

Robert is one of the hosts of the Fan Film Boyz Podcast, a podcast that discusses, reviews and helps promote fan films.  For more in-depth discussion and interviews with directors, writers, actors and actresses, give the podcast a listen.