Here are the major movies coming out during the final two weeks of April this year:
- Elvis & Nixon – Michael Shannon as Elvis, Kevin Spacey As Nixon. They sit down for some awkward chats.
- The Huntsman’s Winter War – Snow White? Who’s that? Never heard of her. That one movie you’re thinking of was always just about Chris Hemsowrth as the Huntsman, and I’ll listen to no more sass about that from you. That was his movie, and this one is too. Oh, also, Charlize Theron’s back. So they’ve got that going for them.
- Keanu – Comedy from Key & Peele
- Mother’s Day – Gary Marshall’s latest attempt to do an Americanized Love Actually around a specific holiday. Last time it was New Year’s Eve. This time it’s Mother’s Day. He got Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and a bunch of other people to be in it.
- Ratchet & Clank – Animated adaptation of the video game, featuring the voices of Rosario Dawson, Paul Giammati, John Goodman, Sylvester Stallone and Bella Thorne.
- Same Kind As Different As Me – No idea. It’s apparently qualified as “Christian” film, and it stars Renee Zellweger and Djimon Hounsou.
Winter War is the only blockbuster in that bunch. However, I just watched a trailer for what looks to be April’s best blockbuster movie by far. It comes out in North American on April 26th.
Small problem, though: It’s not a movie; it’s a video game.
Behold, the story trailer for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End:
Naughty Dog has been making Uncharted 4 (and continually delaying its release date) for at least three years now, dumping untold millions into it. This will be the first new Uncharted game to debut on the Playstation 4. It might not live up to the standards of its three Game of the Year-caliber predecessors since the director and writer of those games, Amy Hennig, left Naughty Dog in an ugly divorce in 2014. Plus, recent highly-touted video games like Batman: Arkham Knight and Watch Dogs ended up disappointing after months if not years of hype. Still, this is being positioned as the game to inspire any remaining PS4-holdouts to finally join the next generation of video gaming.
What struck me about the trailer, though, was how cinematic it looks, particularly with the stunning visuals and nuanced cross-cutting to communicate the sense that at this point in his journey Nathan is torn between his home life and need for adventure. Hollywood has actually been trying to make an Uncharted movie for a while, but it’s been stuck in development hell. Part of the problem is that it’s difficult to make a copy of a copy and have it feel fresh. After all, Uncharted has always been a modern day Indiana Jones riff. Moreover, video game movies have had bad track records at the box office lately.
So I’m not saying Uncharted 4 should have been a movie instead of a video game. Indeed, much of the emotional content is lost on you if you’ve never played any of the prior games. I’m merely taking a wider look at the entertainment canvas and wondering if the most cinematic experience action/adventure enthusiasts can hope for in late April (if not the entire month even with the release of Disney’s The Jungle Book) will come from a video game instead of any actual movie. It’s an on-going problem as console video games increasingly resemble interactive movies, and eat into ticket sales. According to Bloomberg News, at this point the video game industry easily dwarfs the film industry worldwide, and Uncharted 4 will be the crown jewel in April.
Uncharted 4 comes out April 26th in North America. Here’s the plot synopsis from Wikipedia:
Nathan “Nate” Drake, now retired as a fortune hunter, settled into a normal life with his wife Elena Fisher. His world is then turned upside down when his older brother Sam, long believed to be dead, suddenly reappears seeking Drake’s help. Together they embark on a globe-trotting journey in pursuit of a conspiracy behind Libertalia, a long lost pirate colony, and its fabled pooled pirate treasure.