Even if you’ve never played it, if you’re a lover of video games, you know that The Last of Us is one of the most acclaimed titles. It is a totally immersive experience with one of the most memorable tales.
Therefore, the fandom has high expectations on this front. And even if you don’t play video games, this program, starring Pedro Pascal (as yet another Lone Wolf defender) and Bella Ramsey (Cub) and co-created by Craig Mazin, who directed the mind-blowing Chernobyl, should still be of interest as one of the year’s most anticipated releases.
And if the first episode we saw is any indicator, this will bring all that fans have liked about the game and more.
If you’re only here to inquire if you should watch this show, I won’t keep you any longer. Yes, please watch this first episode, which is around an hour and a half long. I will assert that I am not a diehard fan of the game, as some may assert.
In fact, I attempted to get it early on in the epidemic. It was a bit too similar to what we were experiencing: isolation, desperation, feeling lost, and struggle. And after several hours of gaming, I was forced to stop. It was more than “too soon.” It was: If I could barely survive a pandemic, why would I choose to flee into an even worse one?
I recently returned to the game, completed it, and thoroughly loved it. And here’s what I can’t stop thinking about: It is essentially a zombie post-apocalypse game. And post-apocalyptic zombie games are a dime a dozen.
As are post-apocalyptic zombie flicks. After superheroes, this is arguably one of the most crowded genres. Then why do we require this? Why now now? Why this particular series?
What the game got right, and what the series currently strives to, is to utilize post-apocalyptic trappings to talk about human relationships under extreme duress. T
he uniqueness of the game was not that the zombies were creative or cool. But that it was grounded by the tale of a man who believed he had been broken for a long time and was now presented with a means to maybe alter or progress from this state.
I enjoyed that Mazin and series co-creator Neil Druckmann, who also authored the game, devote a great deal of work to world-building. This does not instantly bombard you with screeching zombies in order to terrify and hook you.
No, it’s far more nuanced than that. Mazin, who accomplished creeping feeling of dread so effectively in the previously mentioned Chernobyl, gives the same intensity with a new flavor to this film. Certain moments of subtlety and restraint enhance the impact of the dramatic sequences.
And the willingness to develop reality layer by layer so that we feel completely immersed in this universe. Obviously, because we are captivated, we experience the same “no escape” and despair as the characters.
In a television interview from the late 1960s, a scientist asserts that fungi are more harmful than bacteria or viruses because they may seek to assault and take control of humans. The story then advances to an apparently average day in the early 2000s. But on this day, we hear news reports of horrific attacks in the background.
In addition, we are presented with foreboding visuals and superbly constructed suspense leading up to the inevitable cataclysmic moment. If I were to give more details about the plot, I would ruin it for future viewers.
What I have stated seems quite typical for a case like this. Infection of some type. Some characters to identify with. And a tale of survival through the apocalypse. I believe the program succeeds because it places such much emphasis on how the tale is delivered.
The visual language, the methodical shots and sequences that establish how the world operates, and the willingness to let events unfold.
This pilot is substantial. This series is devoted not necessarily to the specifics of its source material, but rather to its overarching ambitions, as seen by the volume of content presented. If it’s any sign of what’s to come, we may expect not just one of the finest (or the best?) video game adaptations, but also a genuinely outstanding series that proves the zombie genre is still very much alive.