Uncharted’s first post-credits scene squanders a big game reveal that would have been better executed in a sequel, robbing audiences of its potential.
Warning: this post contains spoilers for Unexplored!
The first scene post-generic attached to Sony Unexplored wastes one of the best reveals of the video game series. The Hollywood adaptation of Naughty Dog’s popular game series stars Tom Holland as beloved protagonist Nathan Drake, with Mark Wahlberg playing his partner Victor “Sully” Sullivan. Sophia Ali and Rudy Pankow complete the main cast of Unexplored as Chloe Frazer and Sam Drake, respectively.
Unexplored follows an original story rather than directly adapting one of the games, and is said to take place before the events of the franchise’s first game, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. While Sony is adamant that the film is the canon of the game series, the film repeatedly contradicts this statement by reconstructing important story elements from its award-winning source material. The film deviates from the games several times, but perhaps the most significant retcon is the one made in the Sam Drake arc.
The present Sam film in a flashback sequence in the beginning, and he is presumed dead by Nate and Sully for the rest of the duration of the film. However, the first scene reveals post-credits Sam is still alive, although qu’emprisonné, and always try to get in touch with Nate. This will ruin one of the best revelations of the franchise, because Sam is living has been revealed that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. The film makes the mistake of pulling the trigger on this revelation without allowing enough time to pass for it to have any real emotional significance.
Even if the Unexplored the games are known for their over-the-top action sets, at their core they tell a very personal story. One of the most emotional scenes in the game series comes when Nathan Drake discovers his brother is still alive, after assuming he had been dead for decades. However, it also came as a shock to the players, who until then had been unaware that Nathan had a brother in the first place.
Sam’s revelation in Uncharted 4 was masterfully directed by Naughty Dog, but it felt rushed in the film. Playstation Productions’ Unexplored introduces Sam, lets the audience believe he’s dead, and then reveals he’s alive in a single movie. This led to the reveal being stripped of any emotional weight, and it would have been better executed had the creative team behind the film saved it for a sequel or trilogy capper.
Ruining Sam’s reveal may have been one of the contributing factors to the film’s overall negative reception. Even though he tried to differentiate himself, Unexplored made the same mistakes that video game adaptations have become notorious for. Unexplored couldn’t decide between following an original story and relying on the source material and ended up wasting a plot point that could have been more impactful down the line.
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