The Last of Us
March 13, 2023
I don’t know about you, but originally when hearing about the “Last of Us,” I thought it was going to be another bad video-game-to-movie adaptation but, like many others, I took notice when it started to gain a lot of positive attention. My interest was officially piqued.
Going into the series as someone who has never played the game, I thought it was going to be a zombie-filled, action-heavy show. That is not the case. Sure there are moments when you get to see some impressive kills, but most of the show is focused on the relationships of the characters as they embark on a journey across the country in an infection-filled landscape.
The show had incredible character development following two people as they bond, and you watch a father-daughter-esque relationship emerge. While the main storyline is focused on Joel and Ellie, there are multiple episodes with slight deviations that follow the storyline of others until Joel and Ellie get to them.
One of these deviations being Bill and Frank, but the story we are given in the show is quite different from the game. It paid off seeing as this decision was well received by most players of the game. It also became a fan favorite episode to many new to the storyline as well.
In the after-episode interviews, creator Neil Druckman said, “My philosophy on the show has always been when should we deviate and when should we come back, if it’s kind of the same or worse, we stay where the game is; if it’s better, we deviate.”
Not only is the show itself somewhat different than I imagined, but the infected are as well when post-apocalyptic zombies are the first thing you think of. These creatures are unlike any zombie you’ve ever heard of and that is obvious from the very first episode.
“We weren’t allowed to say the Z word on set. It was like a banned word they were the ‘Infected.’ We weren’t a zombie show,” cinematographer Eben Bolter said.
The show knows when to stick to the original plot and dialogue and when to diverge. The way they aren’t scared to switch things up from the game I think is the main reason this show is getting so much attention.
It stands out to new viewers as well as keeping people who played the game involved. Some even enjoy the show more because of the character development that happens throughout the show that isn’t as heavily portrayed in the game.
Johnny Martinez, a fan of the original game said, “I like that the show has been able to accurately translate the characters for TV. Not only are they still able to maintain their layered dynamic that was present in the game, but I feel like the show fleshes them out even more in a way that makes me prefer the show over the game.”
“We see more vulnerability with the characters, and I feel that that helps in creating a stronger emotional attachment for the characters when compared to the game,” he said.
One of the biggest things I think makes this show so popular is that the creators keep in mind that it is based on the original game, but they don’t treat it like it has to be word for word. They do what’s best for character development and for the show rather than focusing on staying true to the original inspiration.