The Last of Us premiered on HBO Max this week. This new TV series is an adaptation of a game of the same name developed by Naughty Dog.
It is rare to see a good live-action adaptation of a game franchise. Produced and written by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, I can say that The Last of Us is counted in those rare adaptations. 1
In 2003, a fungal virus that turns its victims bloodthirsty and infects those they attack sparks a global pandemic. Joel (played by actor Pedro Pascal) flees with his daughter as the virus starts to spread, but was killed by a soldier. Twenty years later, the fungal virus has ravaged the world, and Joel was tasked with escorting the teenage Ellie (played by actress Bella Ramsey) across a post-apocalyptic United States.
Episode 01 Review
Part 1: 1968
It was a very good introduction. Straightforward. It saved the show from explaining it later. I do not know if this was how it went in the original material, if not, it was a good decision to get it out of the way.
Part 2: 2003
This is the part that I wish they spent more time on. They could have built deeper the daughter-dad relationship, and their relationship with their neighbours. It was lacking in this area. I did not feel anything when his daughter died. The Koreans are good at this, they could take a tip or two from them.
The devastation and destruction were also limited. If all hell was breaking loose, I want to feel and see that. The urgency. The fear. Adrenalin kicking in. Survival instincts playing a major role.
But, okay, it was 2003, the population were not yet into zombies, so everyone’s reactions were “he’s gone crazy”. If the outbreak happened in 2023, the reaction would be different.
Part 3: 2023
Too much time was spent on this. It could’ve been shorter, since they are going to leave the Boston QZ (quarantine zone) anyway, and it is the typical post-apocalyptic QZ. The time gained from it could have been used for Part 2 (see above feedback).
Since I have not played the game, it would be interesting to see aerial shots. How big was the QZ? What’s the surrounding area look like? It does not have to be grand, just there to help the audience immerse in this post-apocalyptic 2023.
Overall, it was a good premiere episode.
- It set the tone of the series.
- It explained the important details, like what was the underlying cause of the outbreak.
- Introduced the main and support characters, and what kind of persons they are.
HBO Max only ordered ten episodes for Season 1. The three points I mentioned are key into keeping the focus of this season on the main plot.
I love it, 8 out of 10 stars! Now, where is episode 02?
Wikipedia: The Last of Us (TV series) ↩︎