"The Last of US": what is the series adapted from the famous video game worth?

“The Last of US”: what is the series adapted from the famous video game worth?

Little by little, we discover the nature of the danger: a worldwide epidemic caused by the spread of a parasitic virus from the family of fungi, called cordyceps. Infected people are transformed into “monsters” and in turn seek to infect others.

Twenty years later, we find Joel (Pedro Pascal) seen on the first day of the epidemic. In exchange for the promise of having the ad hoc equipment to cross the United States and find his brother, Joel agrees to escort Ellie (Bella Ramsey), a rebellious teenager, out of the quarantine zone managed by the militia of the fireflies. With her sullen little face, Ellie looks down at her forced attendant as if he were a jailer.

Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and Joel (Pedro Pascal), the tandem of the series "The Last of Us".
Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and Joel (Pedro Pascal), the tandem of the series “The Last of Us”.

The kid, a kind of Miss know-it-all, is fearless and is determined to be respected by her makeshift teammate. A stubborn orphan, she bores him with often unanswered questions. Both gauge and distrust each other, forced to travel together without really knowing if they will reach the end of the road. He who refuses to be softened. She who plays tough.

Survival adventure and road movie

In the main roles, we come across a few familiar faces: Anna Torv revealed in the science fiction series, fringe. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsay made particularly famous by their characters in Game Of Thrones or, again, in the series Narcos and The Mandalorian, for the first.

In terms of tonality, we are not in madmax, we are much closer to the western. The two creators, Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin (Chernobyl), offer a mix of road movie and survival movie, all in a post-apocalyptic universe haunted by the persistent threat of zombie attacks even if, in fact, the infected are not dead come back to life. The Last of Us also chooses to enrich its story by developing the story of some of the characters encountered by the duo. And offers flashbacks to the personal history of Joel and Ellie.

With its ambitious episodes ranging in length from 45 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes, the series is likely to disconcert fans of die-hard zombies and survivalist stories. The progression of the story is indeed slower and much less violent than the original game. The series plays less on horror and combat and more on quest tension and survival strategies.

It questions what we are willing to do to survive and protect those we love. And asks some haunting questions: how to relearn to trust after a trauma. What’s the point of surviving, if it’s to live alone? The series probes our dreams, our desires. With real moments of pause and unexpected sweetness where she takes the pulse of real life.

Similarities / Differences

No need to know the homonymous video game to understand the series that follows its plot more or less freely. The game, a true model of the genre, critically acclaimed, dates back to 2013 and was notably inspired by films like The Road, The Sons of Men and the series The Walking Dead.

The video game "The Last of Us" has sold 17 million copies worldwide.
The video game “The Last of Us” has sold 17 million copies worldwide.

Of Lost at The Walking Deadthere are countless survivalist stories in series like Revolution multiplying post-apocalyptic images of deserted or frozen cities and stories haunted by the specter of the extinction of humanity, like The Strain signed Guillermo del Toro. In the strangeness and melancholy of the credits, there is also an obvious kinship with the series True Detective whose return is announced in 2023 under the banner of Jodie Foster.

If some differences are notable compared to the game, in particular in the development of certain characters or the choice of the present time (2023), the most important differences concern the mode of propagation of the pandemic. A necessary change, according to its designers, given that everyone has experienced the Covid-19 pandemic and is therefore used to its mode of propagation. Thus, no obligation to wear gas masks in the series. On the other hand, “infected people do not represent an isolated threat but an organized and even united one.” Which makes them all the more fearsome.

★★★ The Last of Us Road movie & Survival Creation & Realization Neil Druckman and Craig Mazin Music Gustavo Santaolalla With Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Anna Torv, Gabriel Luna… On Betv From January 16 (9 x 1h) One episode per week.

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