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Based on the popular video games of the same name by Naughty Dog, Uncharted serves as a prequel to the games, following MCU fan-favourite Tom Holland as treasure hunter Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as his mentor/partner Victor ‘Sully’ Sullivan as they embark on a quest for the ‘greatest treasure never found’.
The Uncharted movie spent nearly ten years in development hell, with the script being rewritten a number of times before filming finally began in 2020. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the film’s release to be delayed for nearly a year.
Despite the fact that there have been a number of truly dismal video game film adaptations over the years, fans hold out hope that with the talent involved, Uncharted could be one of the rare films to break the trend.
To keep that hope alive, let’s take a look back at some of the best video game movies!
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Starring Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, based on the hugely popular Tomb Raider video games, hit theatres in 2001. The film followed adventurer Lara Croft, played by Angelina Jolie, as she raced to collect and assemble the pieces of the Triangle of Light, an artefact able to control time, before the evil Illuminati can get their hands on it. A sequel, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life, was released in 2003, followed by a reboot in 2018 starring Alicia Vikander as Lara, but neither proved to be as successful as the 2001 film.
Resident Evil (2002-2016)
In 2002, Resident Evil, the first in a series of five films loosely based on the video game series of the same name, was released. The series starred Milla Jovovich as Alice, a character unique to the films, struggling to survive against the victims of a deadly zombie virus as she investigates the evil Umbrella corporation.
Various heroes from the games appear over the course of the films, which kept fans happy enough to keep going back for more – enough to make Resident Evil close to the most successful video game-based film franchise of all time, rivaled only by Pokémon. A reboot, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, was released in late 2021, while Netflix has a TV series currently in development.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time starred Jake Gyllenhaal as Dastan, an adopted Prince, forced to flee his home after he is framed for the murder of the King. To clear his name, Dastan teams up with a Princess from a neighbouring Kingdom who can teach him to use a dagger containing a portion of the magical Sands of Time. The film, released in 2010, contains plot elements from all three entries in the Sands of Time video game trilogy and remains among the highest-grossing video game adaptations of all time.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
After a long stint in development limbo, followed by a second major delay in order to redesign the title character after a poorly received first trailer, the long-awaited film adaptation of Sega’s beloved Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, finally hit theatres in 2020.
The movie follows Sonic, an anthropomorphic hedgehog with the power of super speed, as he teams up with local Sheriff Tom Wachowski to protect the town of Green Hills from mad scientist Dr. Robotnik, who wants to capture Sonic to help power his dangerous inventions.
The delay to redesign Sonic proved well worth it, as the movie was well received by both hardcore Sonic fans and more casual moviegoers. Even most critics, who are usually especially harsh on video game adaptations, were able to acknowledge Sonic the Hedgehog as a fun film. At the end of the day, that’s all most fans really wanted. A sequel, set to introduce Tails and Knuckles to the film version of the Sonic universe, is set for release in April 2022.
Detective Pikachu (2019)
Thanks to the yearly films released alongside the popular anime since the early 2000s, Pokémon has easily been the most successful video game-based film franchise of all time. After obtaining Pokémon film rights in 2016, Legendary Pictures sought to expand on the franchise’s existing success with a live-action film, Detective Pikachu.
Based on the spin-off game of the same name, the film follows Tim Goodman, who teams up with the wisecracking Detective Pikachu to track down his missing father, Harry. Along the way, Tim and Pikachu discover a plot to destroy the peace in Ryme City, a utopia where Pokémon battles are illegal.
The film was seen as a gamble, as fans were unsure whether Pokémon could really be made to fit into a live-action world. However, the move paid off, with the film earning over $400 million at the box office. A sequel, as well as other potential live-action Pokémon projects, are said to be in development.
It seems that, finally, film studios are beginning to learn what works with video game adaptations. Hopefully, Uncharted will continue the trend of better video game films in the future.
Uncharted hits theatres on February 17.