Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: Twenty years after a fungal outbreak ravages the planet, survivors Joel and Tess are tasked with a mission that could change everything.
Review: Video game adaptations have a history of being mediocre at best and downright terrible at their worst *cough* Super Mario Bros *cough*. But in recent years we’ve been seeing an uptick in their quality. So when it was announced The Last of Us was getting similar treatment, this time for the small screen, fans like myself were both excited and deeply, deeply wary of what the outcome might be. With only the first episode out titled “When You’re Lost in the Darkness” it may be too early to call this a complete win, but as pilot episodes go The Last of Us is off to one heck of a strong start.
Now I don’t want to alienate those who have never played the game by making constant comparisons to it, so all I’ll say is those of us who adore this game and understand how pivotal the opening moments are to the rest of the story will find themselves absolutely thrilled with the amount of effort, precision and passion that went into executing it. Director Craig Mazin utilises beautiful long shots and pitch-perfect pacing that takes the time needed to not only build tension but also introduce us to a world where characters you will grow to love can and most likely will be taken away from you in gut-wrenching ways.
The cinematography is gorgeous and manages to evoke the game while also drawing you into a world that feels equal parts familiar and new. Neil Druckmann who wrote The Last of Us story for the videogame is also one of the writers on board for the show which means loads of care is put into every bit of dialogue, and the cast introduced thus far all deliver with their performances.
The focal characters of course are the ones everyone will be eyeing the closest. We have Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) as Joel and Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones) as Ellie, both actors in my humble opinion were perfectly cast and are honestly the least of my worries going forward. I think Pedro Pascal is one of the most gifted actors of our time with his ability to fully disappear into his roles to the point where you find yourself forgetting who he is or what he’s done prior, and I mean that with the highest level of respect. Bella Ramsey may not have that many films or shows under her young belt, but there’s a reason she was such a memorable character in GoT (and in a show packed to the gills with characters, that’s saying a lot). Videogame fans can be a….passionate lot, and there was push back on her casting. But based on what I saw in this episode I think Bella will prove everyone who doubted her wrong and win over some new fans in the process.
This may just be the first episode but as pilots go, The Last of Us might just be the best one I’ve ever seen. It does a stunning job of introducing us to this world and while I’m sure there will be tons of comparisons to the first season of The Walking Dead this is a story that, with the exception of a post-apocalyptic world, is very different from that one. Here’s hoping the rest of the season and the entire show in general goes on to leave an indelible mark and prove once and for all, videogame adaptations can work once the people in charge of adapting them love and respect the core material as much as we do.
Score: 10 out of 10
So what did you think of The Last of Us premiere? Sound off in the comments. And you can check out more post-apocalyptic/video game adaptation content below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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