It's finally happened: after years of false starts, Sony has finally made a movie based on the mega-popular "Uncharted" video games. The studio released the first trailer for the film this morning, so let's take a closer look and compare and contrast the imagery on display in the trailer with the source material.
Not Gone, Just Lost
"There are places out there you can't find on any map," Tom Holland's Nathan Drake says in the trailer's opening voiceover, which plays over shots of Nate and a companion exploring some kind of ancient cavern and discovering a map. "They're not gone. They're just lost."
That's the type of super cheesy line which could easily have been crafted specifically for this trailer to help introduce this world of treasure hunters to audiences who have never played the games. But it also strikes me as dialogue that could be referencing Nate's relationship with his long-lost brother, Sam (we'll get to that in a minute), so don't be surprised to hear it uttered in the actual movie.
Shaking It Up
Here is what might be the introduction scene between treasure hunter Nate and Victor "Sully" Sullivan, played here by hamburger salesman Mark Wahlberg (who has been interested in this project for so long that he was once set to play Nate himself instead of his mentor). In the games, Nate and Sully meet in Cartegena, Colombia, when Nate is even younger than he is here; they were both trying to steal a ring that belonged to Sir Francis Drake, whom Nate believes to be his ancestor (hence the "Drake" surname). We'll come back to that ring shortly, so put a pin in that for now.
In the film, though, it looks like Nate is doing his best "Cocktail" impression and working behind a bar when Sully wanders up. Could this be a different bar at the same gala event we see later in the trailer? Could Nate just be posing as a bartender in order to get close enough to steal an artifact he needs to get him one step closer to his final destination?
Wish You Were Here
Nate enters a dark library and glances at this cache of postcards. It's only seen for a second, but take special note of the card on the top left of the screen.
Magellan Instead Of Drake?
In that same library, Sully asks Nate why he cares so much about a particular map located there, and Nate implies that it traces Ferdinand Magellan's path when the explorer traveled around the world. Sully is impressed with Nate's knowledge of history, and they agree that Magellan hid "the biggest treasure that's never been found," which is worth at least $5 billion.
In "Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception," young Nate tells Sully about how Sir Francis Drake took six months to travel across a distance that should have only taken him a month, leading Nate to speculate that Drake spent those extra months offloading and hiding a massive treasure so the queen wouldn't know Drake had discovered it. It's fascinating that this movie seems to be dealing with Magellan as its central explorer figure instead of Sir Francis Drake, given Nate's ancestral connection to and obsession with Drake and his treasures.
Welcome To The Franchise, Mr. Banderas
In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, Nate shuts a book called "An 800-Year Dynasty: The House of Moncada," which features a photo of Antonio Banderas, heavily implying Banderas's character is a member of that family. Details about his character have been hard to come by, so this is the first confirmation we have of his family name. (The name "Moncada" does not appear in any of the "Uncharted" games.)
Here, Nate tapes blueprints to a window, along with photos of a golden cross. In "Uncharted 4: A Thief's End," Nate and Sully infiltrate a fancy auction to steal a cross with a secret message hidden inside it. In the game, the cross depicted Saint Dismas, a thief who was crucified next to Jesus Christ, and was part of a larger hunt for a treasure hidden by a pirate named Henry Avery. But this movie version of the cross does not have anyone being crucified on it, so it looks like an instance where the filmmakers wanted to repurpose a set piece from the games in a new context.
Sic Parvis Magna
One of Nathan Drake's most notable fashion choices is that he always wears a silver ring around his neck. This ring, which belonged to Sir Francis Drake, is engraved with the Latin phrase "Sic Parvis Magna," which means "greatness from small beginnings."
"I think you're here because of your brother," Sully says to Nate.
"Wait, you know my brother Sam?" Nate responds quizzically, and the trailer cuts to the ring to underline that family connection.
In the games, Sam Drake is Nate's older brother, who is gunned down in front of Nate during a job gone wrong and presumed dead. Sam is never even mentioned until the fourth game, but he returns to Nate's life in a major way and the two of them team up to try to find Avery's pirate treasure. This is total speculation on my part, but I have a strong suspicion that Sam will not participate in the action of the "Uncharted" movie at all, and will instead be introduced in a post-credits scene that sets up a sequel.
"If we find that gold, we find him, too," Sully says.
A Friend Of Sully's
Sophia Ali ("Grey's Anatomy") plays Chloe Frazer, who introduces herself as one of the few friends Sully has. In the games, Chloe is a skilled thief, a terrific driver, and a criminal whose services are constantly in demand; she also has a good heart, so she's akin to a character like Lando Calrissian – she might double-cross you, but she'll probably do the right thing in the end. She and Nate engage in a rooftop chase, implying that she may have stolen something from Nate (his ring, perhaps?). In the games, the adult versions of Nate and Chloe reunite to work on a job and hint at their romantic history, so it seems likely that the two of them will get end up together in this movie.
A Dangerous Foe
Moncada comes face to face with Nate at the auction for the cross and tries to intimidate him. "My family has been looking for this fortune for a very long time," he intones. (Remember that 800-year dynasty book?) "So much blood."
A Message From Family
"I've been dreaming about this stuff since I was a kid," Nate says. "My brother Sam left one final clue."
This postcard, addressed to Nate, contains the following message:
There's a whole world you haven't seen. But you will. Promise. – S.
As you can see, it also contains a hidden message that is revealed by Nate holding a lighter underneath the postcard. And speaking of that postcard, take a look at the front of it as seen in the trailer's next shot:
Yep, it's the same postcard that appeared earlier in the trailer. But if it's addressed to Nate, how did it end up on that board mixed in with other postcards? Was that library in Nate's home? If so, Nate must have received that postcard a long time ago, and he probably discovers something in this movie indicating that there's a clue hidden on it.
A Familiar Action Scene
Here's the most overt allusion to the games yet. The trailer's climactic airplane set piece is ripped straight out of "Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception," which features Nate desperately hopping atop cargo to make it back inside the vehicle. You can see how that scene plays out here.
"Uncharted" hits theaters on February 18, 2022.
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