HBO’s The Last Of Us series premiered to a rapturous welcome last Sunday, which must be a huge relief to the producers. Video games to film and TV are notorious for flops, but The Last Of Us breaks that taboo with flying colours.
The Last Of Us has always been a PlayStation exclusive and was developed by Naughty Dog Studios for Sony. In a nutshell, it tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world in which our heroes, Joel and Ellie, need to cross the US in order to save humanity from zombie-like infections. Being a PC gamer, I’ve never played the game, but I do know that many have described it as one of the best video games ever made and the good news is that it’s coming to PC in March, being available on Steam for pre-purchase. I will definitely buy the game on March 3rd, mainly because I’ve heard and read so much about it. I did the same with Uncharted and Days Gone which were both Sony console exclusives previously and I wasn’t disappointed at all. In fact, quite the opposite. Sony has a reputation for top-quality AAA games, so clearly the transformation to celluloid needed to be great.
In many ways, I’m glad that I haven’t played the game yet because we watched the first episode of one hour and twenty minutes with open minds and no preconceptions. Even though my wife is no fan of the zombie genre, she was hooked from the first few minutes. I won’t give away any spoilers, but being a fan of the post-apocalypse genre, the build-up to the main thrust of the story was epic yet subtly portrayed, with just enough hints and foreshadowing of what was to follow. I’ve played enough zombie and post-apocalypse style games, not to mention having watched loads of films and series on this subject, so I have a pretty good idea of what the world would look like. The Last Of Us captures that dreary, grey, and depressing world perfectly, yet through the dilapidation, we are able to see glimmers of hope shine through the cracks. That’s the hook and it works.
Other Games To Film And TV
This is always fodder for a good shouting match because when a video game receives the Hollywood treatment you can generally rely on it becoming a turkey, but not always.
Uncharted is a good example – a game I finished a few weeks ago and was curious to see how its celluloid treatment fared. The gist of the game being pirate treasure hunting involving a young man, Nathan Drake, with a troubled background who has a wife and a brother with whom he has a tempestuous relationship due to his brother’s criminal past. But more importantly, Nathan looks up to a father figure, Sully, who often guides him in hunting for treasure. In the film version, Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland are woefully miscast in a very poor adaptation with cheesy dialogue and hollow characters. The Hitman films on the other hand managed to stay within the scope of the games for the most part, but the film based on the Far Cry game was an utter turkey. DOOM, on the other hand, was received very well because the producers and director were avid fans of the game.
The Last Of Us TV series was created by the original game producers and it shows because it sticks faithfully to the source material which is why it has received such rave reviews. HBO is showing the nine episodes week by week instead of making all of them available at once and I’m definitely looking forward to episode two on Sunday.