The Last Of Us
The Last Of Us is a 2023 zombie apocalypse drama series created by Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin for HBO. It is HBO’s first series based on a video game, and is a joint production by Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Productions, Naughty Dog, the Mighty Mint, and Word Games.
The 9 episode series is based on The Last of Us a 2013 action-adventure video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment.
In the aftermath of an infectious fungus outbreak that turns human hosts into deadly monsters, survivor and smuggler Joel must travel with an orphaned teen, Ellie to safeguard and deliver a world-changing secret….
As someone familiar with the video game on which the series is based, I must say, they stayed true (ok, mostly true) to the original game story. I would hazard the guess that having Neil Druckmann, who was one of the original game’s writers and directors, being part of this adaptation kept a tight rein on the script.
While it does not come across as gamey to watch, the live action series does give an immersively satisfying viewing experience. There are plenty of call-back moments and times you will see things play out exactly as they did in-game. Some of the original cast from the game make cameo appearances in the series.
Pedro Pascal delivers the character of Joel with aplomb. Although he doesn’t quite have the rugged build of the video game character, he is cynical, rough around the edges, yet oozing a bit of charming vulnerability.
Ellie is played by Bella Ramsey who does a stellar portrayal of the resourceful, quirky, pun loving, wise cracking badass 14 year. She totally owns each moment of her screen time.
Although it stuck to the game storyline, they fleshed out some characters and scenes that were previously throwaway references in the game, which also gave the series an air of intrigue, as you navigated previously undeveloped characters and backstories, knowing, yet equally, not knowing what would happen next…
For a series set in a dystopian zombie apocalypse period, I expected to see a bit more carnage (just like in the game where you sometimes had to hack your way out of zombie hordes). Not to say that it doesnt have its fair share of blood and gore…. it is not suitable for All Ages.
A few episodes in, and you will ask yourself, when you signed up to watch a family drama series about a man and an orphan he is trying to protect in the way he failed to protect his daughter…. (thats not really a spoiler, as his daughter dies in the opening act of episode one and the story flashes to 20 years later)
"You're Right. You're Not My Daughter, And I Sure As Hell Ain't Your Dad.." Joel - The Last Of Us
The 20 year flashforward from 2013 when the series begins, is a bit of jarring jump, its hard to reconcile exactly what happened between then and “now”… while it does give them space to create back-stories and character build, now and then, glaring plot holes pop up… like a mall that hasn’t been used in 20 years, yet has still functional amenities, how do you still have electricity???… hmmmm ok suspend disbelief.
If you have no prior knowledge of the series and its video game basis, and were to watch it out of the blue, it might come across as having a rather pointless plot, that drags on as a drama about the questionable morals people adopt to endure and survive. In the post-apocalyptic world right and wrong behaviour have a multicoloured palette of us or them.
"..you fight for 20 years and you get nowhere, you're not a rebellion. Just spray paint..."
The series sacrifices the action sequences for character development. In the game, Ellie’s character gets to really be in the action but I suppose there were ethical considerations too, since the character is supposed to be 14 and couldnt have them running amok in a street full of the infected.
There is a reason why video games are not turned into movies and TV series… That’s because they get butchered in ways which will offend the game fan base and yet still wont appeal to the non-gamers leaving you with something no one wants… But sometimes you win.
The Last Of Us managed to navigate that perilous balance, presenting a TV show that am not surprised to find some quarters have hailed as one the best game to TV show adaptation.
Fun Fact: the first episode is called “When You’re Lost in the Darkness” and the last episode is called “Look for the light” which is the motto of a band of revolutionaries in the series called The Fireflies.
Have you watched it? Is this something you would watch?
A local short film The Signal set in Zimbabwe has a sort feel that you would get from The Last Of Us
The 70’s called and they want their mustache back!
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I can’t watch it – I don’t have the service it’s streaming on. This is the problem with the increase segmentation. And I refuse to pay for them all. But I’m a fan of the apocalyptic genre, always.
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I was thinking about that challenge with how you exclusive original productions locked into specific platforms … some interesting viewing will end up never getting up to its full potential.
As a fan of the apocalyptic genre this would have been an interesting watch, someone said they wouldnt watch it for precisely this reason hahaha.. to each their own
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Haven’t watched it and might never. Mixed feelings from reviews. Though, the game was decent.
I had no clue this was from a video game…my hubby came home one day laden with it …we watched it while i was complaining of the zombies but eventually grew on me.
I definitely hated the gay scenes they potrayed which looked really fixed …
But all in all we enjoyed it.
Thanks for the review off to show off to Mr on how much more i know it on now