Comparing Uncharted 3's Cargo Plane Sequence to the Movie

After more than a decade’s worth of creative troubles and revisions, the movie adaptation of Naughty Dog's Uncharted series is nearly here. Tom Holland’s incarnation of Nathan Drake will make his cinema debut in North America on February 18, assuming there are no more delays. While fans are right to be skeptical of any Hollywood adaptation of a beloved franchise, there’s reason to believe PlayStation Productions’ biggest creation to date might buck a few historic trends.

Having been in development for so long, it’s not much of a surprise that the Uncharted movie is pulling in aspects from across the franchise. Since the film was first envisioned, three mainline console sequels have been released to critical acclaim. One of the most notable examples is that Uncharted 3’s cargo plane sequence has made it into the adaptation. Throughout each of the trailers released so far that set piece has been front and center, which suggests it’s going to be as significant to the movie as it was to the game. What’s interesting is that despite there being a lot of similar imagery on display, both versions appear to be dramatically different.

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The Cargo Plane’s Passengers

During Sony’s recent CES presentation, the publisher showcased an extensive look at the cargo plane sequence. Even though some of the context for how the movie reaches this point is missing, it's still possible to compare the live-action adaptation with its famous video game counterpart. Because the movie blends multiple eras of Naughty Dog’s franchise with its own new elements, the number of characters who find themselves on the cargo plane this time around is the most obvious difference.

While the game version of Drake is assisted in getting onto the plane by Elena, throughout Uncharted 3’s Chapter 17 the protagonist is left to face Katherine Marlowe's agents alone. In the Hollywood adaptation, Mark Wahlberg’s Sully and Sophia Ali’s Chloe are both present. The former’s presence is arguably the biggest departure from the source material due to the fact that Drake stows away on the plane in Naughty Dog's game with the intention of saving his kidnapped mentor.

Instead of fighting against nameless British agents like Drake does in Uncharted 3's plane scene, Tom Holland’s depiction also rubs shoulders with a named antagonist. Braddock, played by Tati Gabrielle, is actively seen attempting to eject the treasure hunters, presumably under orders from Antonio Banderas’ Moncada. Both of these villains are completely original, and have never appeared within any of the franchise's games either. During earlier promotional trailers Drake squares up against a Scottish character, which could also be an indicator that the mercenaries seen assisting Braddock could be based loosely on their gaming counterparts.

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On The Cargo Plane

Often with the Uncharted franchise, particularly its PS3-era installments, it can be tricky to pin down a specific point in history where they take place. The cargo plane seen in the movie is slightly more modern than the one Naughty Dog created for Uncharted 3. The Uncharted movie appears to be set in the present day, and lacks some of the early-2000s iconography that the initial trilogy utilized. During parts of the scene when Drake and Chloe find themselves fighting mercenaries inside the plane’s hold, the area looks physically smaller than the virtual one.

While this might seem like an inconsequential departure at first, it ends up impacting the overall trajectory of the scene at several points. For starters, instead of being surrounded by military trucks and equipment, Tom Holland's Drake has to contend with simple packing crates and Moncada’s red Mercedes 300SL coupe. Before Drake is flung out into the air, the parts of the scene that take place within the plane are also altered. For the most part the story beats and action, especially parts featuring Chloe, are all completely original.

In Uncharted 3, Drake’s attempts to sneak through the vehicle are foiled by one of the game’s large brutes. Following a one-sided fist fight, the hulking enemy attempts to remove the protagonist from the plane by lowering the cargo bay ramp. In the Hollywood adaptation, the ramp is already lowered, and Tom Holland’s Drake actively initiates the chaos following Sully’s parachute escape. The fact that Sully appears to be hiding at first, the presence of a map hanging from his neck, and Chloe’s eventual capture all suggest the trio were present on the plane in an attempt to steal information.

The Section Outside the Plane

Thanks to the different items that each plane is holding, proceedings continue to look different by the time both Drakes find themselves flying out the back of the vehicle. Instead of haphazardly reaching for the edge of a military truck, Tom Holland’s Drake finds his foot snagged by yellow tape. Both versions of the character are able to get themselves back aboard the plane following similar platforming and shooting sections. Thanks to Chloe’s initiative, and her attempts to steal the aforementioned Mercedes, movie-Drake doesn’t remain on the plan for as long as his video game forebear.

In Uncharted 3, a fight takes place between Drake and Marlowe’s agents before an explosion rips a hole in the side of the plane’s hull. Meanwhile, Tom Holland shouts one of the character’s famous catchphrases as he’s thrown from the plane thanks to Chloe’s Mercedes. This sequence demonstrates one of the other big differences between the two interpretations of the scene. While the video game encounter takes place over the Rub al Khali desert, the movie version of the cargo plane is instead flying above a tropical locale reminiscent of Uncharted 4.

Uncharted is scheduled to release in theaters on February 18, 2022.

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Ben Grindle (138 Articles Published)

Ben is writer with a serious passion (obsession) with all things PlayStation, Pokemon, Motorsport, and Sushi!

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