Spider-Man star Tom Holland has been on a press tour promoting his upcoming Disney/Pixar film, Onward. A film in which he stars in alongside his MCU alum, Chris Pratt. In a recent interview with IGN, Tom Holland was asked about his upcoming Uncharted film which has seen a long list of directors come in and drop from the project. The most recent one being Bumblebee director Travis Knight.
Due to some scheduling conflicts with Tom Holland’s schedule, Travis Knight, unfortunately, exited the director’s chair. Which now has Sony Pictures on the hunt for a new director to get the ball rolling on this film rather quickly. Before Tom Holland goes off to film the third Spider-Man film.
Live-action adaptations of video game franchises are almost guaranteed to be a miss and a box office flop. Now with films like the Tomb Raider reboot, which starred Alicia Vikander, Detective Pikachu and most recently Sonic the Hedgehog. It seems like Hollywood has kind of found the right formula to bring to life successful video game films to the big screen.
Has Hollywood Really Found a Solution?
Tom Holland thinks that Sony Pictures and their Uncharted film have found the solution to Hollywood’s video game film problem, this is what he had to say:
“I think what Uncharted offers that most video games films don’t is that it’s an origin story to the games,” Holland told IGN. “So if you played the games, you haven’t seen what’s going to happen in the film. And if you haven’t played the games, you’re going to enjoy the film because it’s information that everyone else is getting at the same time. But I’m super excited to make that movie and it’s been a long time coming.”
But is this necessarily true? I mean it could be to a degree if you look at this from his perspective. Sony’s approach is to provide a film that will attract both the gamer and the general consumer by giving them a side of Nathan Drak in Uncharted that neither side is familiar with. At least that’s the goal. But is giving an already established franchise a live-action adaption with an origin story really going to appeal to both sides of the coin? Probably not.
And while this could potentially work, Detective Pikachu and Sonic the Hedgehog (which recently set the record the highest opening weekend for a video game film of all time) have worked and have become successful. They’re very very, and I mean very loose adaptations to their video game counterparts. Sure, some of the core elements of the games are there but I can almost guarantee that gamers specifically would’ve preferred to see these adaptions to be a close as an adaption to the game as possible.
Now with Uncharted, as Tom Holland has mentioned. Their approach is different and it sounds good on paper. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the execution of what’s written on that paper. Can they really deliver a compelling origin story on par with the original story featured in the video game? Take Alicia Vikander’s Tomb Raider for example. Closely based on the Tomb Raider video game reboot but still fell short of delivering the same excitement that it’s video game counterpart did. Why is that?
It comes down to execution, and how you deliver that story and the action set pieces that make the game and its live-action adaptation memorable. We can sit here and debate this day to night, but Tomb Raider and Uncharted are almost one and the same. They share some of the same aspects in storytelling, game mechanics and gameplay. But they also share heavily differences to make both franchises stand on their own with a massive fan base. Both have unique and compelling stories that are intended to push the narrative and develop their character(s) you are following as you play, in ways that the other game doesn’t.
The biggest question here is can Sony Pictures, Uncharted’s screenwriters, cast, director, and crew properly execute what’s on paper and deliver the compelling story fans expect it to deliver? That’s not even taking into account the nervousness amongst fans in regards to Tom Holland playing Nathan Drake. That’s the biggest question I feel that we are all waiting to have answered, can this approach really change the game and finally put the video game film category up there with the likes of sci-fi films and comic book films or just critically acclaimed cinema in general?
Video games throughout its history have had a long record of delivering games with a compelling story that truly immerses you into that world. Uncharted, Tomb Raider, Pokemon, Bioshock, The Last of Us, just to name a few do that, no matter how many times you have played the game. And they are all known for their gripping and compelling storytelling, gameplay and action pieces and most importantly, world-building. Can the Uncharted film deliver all that and then some when it arrives in theaters? That remains to be seen.