Breaking video game adaptation curses? ‘The Last of Us’
The Last of Us comes to us during a recent surge in video game adaptations into TV and film. Games that spring to mind include Uncharted, Resident Evil and The Witcher. The main difference in those adaptations compared to The Last of Us that it is thriving and being received well. The show resonates with audiences in a post-pandemic landscape with an unstoppable fungal infection contaminating the globe.
presented in the show are his flaws, and, in many ways, his character is much more humanised in the show
Video games have the potential to capture great stories from within. Great games can leave you emotionally attached to certain characters, story arcs, and scenes that remain forever in your memory. So, it is no surprise to anyone that TV studios have latched on to the video game world as a basis for up-and-coming TV projects. The Last of Us is a rare, refreshing TV show adaptation with the brilliant Pedro Pascal playing the leading role of Joel. Bella Ramsey, Game of Thrones star, plays the role of Ellie. Joel is presented to us as a reliable lead and dependable. Although, also presented in the show are his flaws, and, in many ways, his character is much more humanised in the show. This personality is also shown in the video game where the character is in both senses volatile physically and mentally with the weight of death, significantly his daughter’s, tormenting him. At the same time, he must struggle to traverse this post-apocalyptic world. Furthermore, as with many characters, there is a solid connection to the already excellent original storyline as well as the traits of the characters involved.
This game’s suitability for adaptation is quite evident with the fact that the video game storyline is linear, solid and concrete. There are no multiple endings that you discover. And it centres instead around human experience and the effect of vivid tortuous experiences of the physical body and mind as you embody and become the character of Joel. The post-apocalyptic Fallout franchise instead stands as a video game that is harder to transform seamlessly into TV. This is purely because of the variability of the video game and the different stories that you, as the character, can choose to pursue.
Structurally the show diverges from the single view of the character Joel and allows for the multiplicity and varied backstories
Nevertheless, this post-apocalyptic landscape is something that has been most impressive for viewers and fails to replicate in the Resident Evil TV franchise faithfully. What sets it apart further is the integration of a familiar face to those who have some knowledge of the franchise director, Neil Druckmann. Druckmann was a designer for the original game. However, he came into the role with limited experience as a director. His only known work was the Uncharted movie, which received mixed reviews despite a star-studded cast of Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg and Antonio Banderas. Unfortunately, the movie left a lot to be desired.
The nurturing of the show, with the tender help of Druckman, has allowed the TV world, despite a dubious past in film and video games, to seamlessly merge as he has injected his world design directly into this show.
Structurally the show diverges from the single view of the character Joel and allows for the multiplicity and varied backstories, experiences and feelings of other core characters to take full presence. Since there was a failure to achieve this in the video game, I welcome this shifting paradigm of human experience to our screens. It creates a more compelling character for the show and our feelings toward certain characters.
The added companionship with the young Ellie changes the dynamic of other post-apocalyptic stories
Druckman added great thoughtfulness and complexity, specifically to our lead Joel. The added companionship with the young Ellie changes the dynamic of other post-apocalyptic stories. Joel has to be in both senses rugged and competent and take on the role of the scavenger type, coupled with the torment and mental deterioration from seeing the ones he has loved perish. On top of this, a necessary rejuvenating ability to care for and nurture, becoming a character that can possess a great deal of compassion. Pascal was seen as the perfect personality to represent this dichotic mix “The beauty of what Pedro is doing on the show is that he is suppressing all that, and he’s not revealing it.” ”Ellie draws it out of him. It becomes these really compelling moments of humanity that you see it slowly emerge.”
Critics have rated the show on average 9.2/10 on IMDb and 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Top critic Wenlei Ma stated the show invests viewers in the “characters’ stories, their inner lives, and builds a complex relationship between its two leads”. It will be interesting whether the show can continue this great success for the next couple of episodes scheduled to be aired.
This is an amazing article! I’m excited to see what the adaptation of The Last of Us brings to the big screen. I’m sure it will be as gripping as the video game!