It’s rather comforting to know that the universe’s perverse and quirky ways are sometimes capable of espousing genuine moments of delight. In this case its the somewhat belated image of seeing Nathan Fillion effortlessly portraying everyone’s favourite buckler of swash and perennially accident prone scoundrel, Nathan Drake. His long prophesied arrival has been heralded to such a venerated standard that his eventual, albeit brief portrayal as Drake is almost like the second coming for his fervent acolytes. And I have to concede that they may have been right.
If anything this fan made short has the potential to be the manifestation of the symbolic proverb etched onto Nate’s ring “sic parvis magna”, roughly translated as “greatness from small beginnings”. It’s doubtful however that Sony will view this as anything other than a curiosity, not vindication that the talent used to create this is in any position to influence a franchise. Which is a shame when you consider the passion evidenced here.
Stephan Lang as Sully was an inspired decision, certainly not an actor I’d considered before, having championed Bruce Campbell for the role. But the mannerisms and gravely cadence was so accurate that you can only assume that he played, or at least watched clips to accurately depict Sully, moustache and all! Some of the shots used here are also lifted straight from the game. There’s one moment in this where Drake launches himself through a second story window, remarking with a familiar Nathan Drake line, with camera panning round as if it were the interjection between the end of the cut scene and the start of the Gameplay. I audibly gasped at that! The pre-game camera angle is so explicitly evocative of the game that I almost reached for the controller to prepare for the inevitable conflict?! These kind of directorial nuances have clearly been developed by people with a passionate affinity for Uncharted, and Allan Ungar must take credit for this as he is clearly a fan of the series.
It’s a passionate effort, executed with all the charm and reverence you’d want from an Uncharted adaptation. It’s a little too goofy at times, with Fillion sprinting as though his got a turtle head poking out his butt and the joke’s sometimes land about as well as the punches, but the tone is so on point you could balance it on a pin. Nathan Fillion proves what many fans have expressed so vehemently for years: that Nate 1 and Nate 2 are almost interchangeable. You can tell by his performance that Fillion has wanted to do this for years.
The “Be careful what you wish for” warning is a trite proverb often expressed as a cautious deterrent to the folly of one’s proclivities to possess something they may later regret. But this was always an adage I’d firmly applied to Nathan Fillion’s casting as Nathan Drake, and despite such a commendable effort here I’m still of the opinion that Nathan Fillion, though more than capable of delivering those acerbic comedic lines is just too old to portray Nathan Drake for more than one movie. And let’s be honest Sony isn’t going to endorse such a product if it only has limited, finite appeal and can’t be marketed as a series. I still maintain that opinion, though I’ll admit that his age, physicality and humour certainly fits the Nathan Drake we see in “A Thief’s End”. To me his casting is 10 years too late, with this 15 minute short demonstrating what could have been, not what could be.
Still I’m not sure it really matters. The intention here wasn’t some passive coercive attempt to force Sony into making a Nathan Fillion Uncharted movie, but to scratch an itch that has irritated many of us. It’s fair to say that this particular itch has been well and truly scratched. I think we all feel better for having seen it.