“The Last of Us” raising the bar for videogame adaptions

HBomax airs a new episode of “The Last of Us” every Sunday


HBomax airs a new episode of “The Last of Us” every Sunday

The long awaited live-action show adaptation of the action-adventure video game, “The Last of Us” developed by gaming company Naughty Dog has made its debut on the streaming platform HBOmax.

The story follows characters Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie Williams (Bella Ramsey) as they traverse through the post-outbreak, fungal ridden husk of America to save humanity.

The video game was first released June 14, 2013 exclusively on PlayStation 3. However, as of now, it has been remade twice for both PlayStation 4 and 5 and given an equally-emotional sequel.

The first episode of the new show released Jan. 15, 2023 has already made an impact on this genre of television. As many know, most game to movie or show adaptations result in a wave of hatred by the die hard fans of the original body of work.

When news of the series came to light, many fans feared what might be made of their favorite game, as another adaptation of a Naughty Dog game was not favorably viewed. “Uncharted,” was released on Feb. 18, 2022 on the big screen and was opposed by many as they believed it was poorly casted and written to reflect their digital counterparts.

However, the only debates among the fandom would be the casting “problem” regarding the character Ellie Williams and the change in the spread of the fungal infection.

Though a talented actress, Ramsey was not viewed as the best choice in the eyes of the “experts,” as they call themselves. Fans were not happy with the fact that Ramsey does not have a similar appearance to the character, although after viewing the first episode we can see Ellie has been brought to life in her portrayal.

As for the infection, it originally spread through the cordyceps fungus by airborne particles known as spores. Now, it’s being seen as spreading through what Co-President of Naughty Dog Neil Druckmann calls tendrils.

In an interview with Collider Druckmann states how with the new form of passage for the infection it would show how the fungus is, “..all working against us in this unified way..”.

Beyond the casting controversy and the fungal fiasco, “The Last of Us” is receiving quite the opposite evaluation, as fans have been pleasantly surprised by the live-action version of this amazing story.

As the first episode begins, it’s clear this is not a straight retelling, however, it is not a reimagining either. Despite the hesitancy from fans of possibly creating something that could tarnish the original story, this show is only adding on to what we had in the game.

The story of a broken father with questionable morals and a young girl carrying the cure to mankind has been furthered developed through this adaptation.

The show perfectly encapsulates the terrain and rigid environment of the torn down cities and disheveled citizens left behind in this new world. Though some main plot points shown in the first episode were slightly twisted to fit the narrative the emotions created in the original story still impact the viewer just as hard.

The actors excellently embody the original roles and bring the same energy and passion to the characters as the video game actors Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson once did and continue to do as the game series progresses.

Since this is only just the beginning of the highly-praised HBOmax show, there is no telling what could become of the well-known story or characters within it. All the fans of the original game can do is watch for possible changes and look for the light.