The One Thing That Uncharted Gets Wrong

[Here there be serious spoilers for the plots of Uncharted I, II, and III]

Before we go anywhere, some backstory: Uncharted is a series of third-person, action/adventure, platforming videogames. They trace the adventures of treasure hunter Nathan Drake and his mentor Victor “Sully” Sullivan, et alia, as they think and fight their way through dense jungles, Nazi bunkers, ancient temples and lost cities. The series is developed by Naughty Dog, the same studio responsible for The Last of Us and Crash Bandicoot.


The Uncharted series of games is one of my favorites of all time. I can’t think of a single series (with the possible exception of all the Pokémon games put together) that I’ve logged more time playing, especially including multiplayer. I played Uncharted II: Among Thieves first; it was, after all the much lauded, universal “Game of the Year” for 2009. I bought it at the suggestion of a friend and played through it in a single sitting, only getting up to use the bathroom. I was completely enraptured by the storytelling, the combat, and the game’s ability to perform exposition and character development in what just isn’t that long of a game.

Until I played The Last of Us, I was convinced that there was no game that I could enjoy more. I went back and played Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, and blew off an exam when Uncharted III: Drake’s Deception came out in 2011. There’s a pair of jet ski scenes in Uncharted that are just obnoxious and are reminiscent of Crash Bandicoot, but with the exception of those excruciating minutes, there’s not a second of the Uncharted series that I don’t enjoy. Unfortunately, it seems that I can’t manage to keep my critical eye closed while enjoying a perfectly good video game. Continue reading

Movie Review: Beautiful

beautiful“What is beauty?” is a question that has been hotly debated for centuries. It is a word that means different things to different people. It is the same as “what makes something feminist?” Beauty pageants have a pretty bad reputation amongst feminist circles. While the contestants do have to perform a talent, they are ultimately supposed to look good in a swimsuit. They are judged for their beauty above all else. Beauty pageants have gotten a lot of coverage in the media. There’s just something about them that still interests people. That’s been true in the past, now, and even in Futurama. Season 2 episode 11, The Lesser of Two Evils, features the Miss Universe pageant. Unlike the current Miss Universe pageant, the “women” competing are actually from other planets. Even tough and cool Leela gets swept up in the frenzy and is accidentally crowned before the crown is cruelly taken away from her. The actual Winner of the Miss Universe pageant in the year 3001 is Miss Vega 4, Gladys Lennox, a giant amoeba.

There it is, Miss Universe. There it is, looking weird.

“There it is, Miss Universe. There it is, looking weird.”

However, the movie I am reviewing is not from the future, but has been greatly unappreciated for far too long. I am talking about the 2000 movie Beautiful, directed by Sally Field and starring Minnie Driver as Mona Hibbard, a woman who strives to become Miss America. A movie I believe to be feminist. Continue reading