The following article was pitched to and commissioned by Flickering Myth
An action-adventure movie featuring quips, crazy set pieces and the dispatching of hundreds of pirates (the modern kind) doesn’t seem like the right fit for the director of Cheaper by the Dozen. But, Shawn Levy is the next director to jump onto the Uncharted movie merry-go-round.
He may seem like a strange choice considering most of his career has been spent directing studio comedies aimed at children. His films aren’t inspired. But, if you inspect his filmography, it becomes obvious he is the right director to get Nathan Drake into cinemas.
Here are 5 reasons Shawn Levy is the perfect man for the job:
The Uncharted movie has been more difficult to produce than finding “goddamn El Dorado”. Multiple directors have bailed and Sony pulled it from their release schedule. It is a mess Levy can tidy up. His movies may be uninspired but they always get the job done. He is a stable hand. The script is surely going to be tweaked to fit his sensibilities and the man knows how to make populist fare. He may not be as skillful as some of the top-tier directors but his reliability and dependability should create the right amount of stability to get Drake into cinemas.
(2) Character Relationships
As much as people rave about the Uncharted’s action, the character relationships are its strongest asset. Now, This Is Where I Leave You is not a good film but Levy uses a great cast to build engaging character dynamics. We know everything about the family through Levy’s direction. He may be an unknown quantity when it comes to action, but he is great at making sure the movie focuses on the character relationships.
(3) Emotional Impact
The most attractive thing to Uncharted fans will be Stranger Things. Levy directed the best episode, the one where Winona Ryder talks to a ball of Christmas lights. It’s taut, packing laughs, scares and excitement into 45 minutes. It balances multiple tones just like Uncharted.
Levy creates a big bruise from the episode’s emotional impact. He turns something weird – Winona Ryder communicating with her monster-abducted son through Christmas lights – into the most emotional scene of the series — there is a reason it’s a meme.
(4) Producing Credits
For someone whose directorial credits could be classed as safe, Levy’s producing credits are a vibrant mix. The two standouts are The Spectacular Now and this year’s Arrival. They hint that Levy is attracted to smart material that pushes the boundaries of audience assumptions of a certain sandbox. Maybe, Levy can turn Drake into something more than an Indiana Jones tribute act.
Levy has spent a lot of his career making the same type of movie. Who can blame him? He makes family-friendly comedies really well. However, playing in one genre makes him an unknown quantity as an action director. It gives him potential. He could thrive in this environment. Who’d have thought the Russo brothers would make two good Captain America movies based on some TV episodes and the awful You, Me and Dupree? The man behind The Internship is a great choice for Drake and company. Let’s hope we don’t have to write about how good a choice another director is a year from now because it’s about goddamn time Drake plundered the world of ancient treasures on the big screen.