WARNING: Spoilers for The Last of Us Episodes 1&2
Finally! The Last of Us is here! However, as we know, movie and television show adaptations of video games have proven to be more than risky. Many from the past have proven unsuccessful. The process of changing the beloved source material can be dicey, but what makes HBO's The Last of Us so special is its ability to be creative and fresh while also stay true to the Sony source as much as possible.
Episodes one and two were released in a two-part premiere and quickly became HBO MAX’s most-watched premiere of all time. It even boosted sales of the Sony video game by 300% OVERNIGHT. Like many video game adaptations, The Last of Us was a much-anticipated show that left gamers clinging to hope... And so far it has not been a let down.
What makes this show work so well? Could it be the amazing visual artwork? The classic soundtrack? Or maybe it is the perfect casting. It's definitely all of the above and more, but one thing is for sure -- they are already halfway to an Emmy.
I was sucked in from the moment they mirrored the car ride from the game shot-for-shot.
I really felt like I was playing that scene from the game which allowed me to immerse myself deeper into the show. However, each scene was riveting and kept me interested even if it was not straight from the game. Even the slow scenes are mostly call backs to moments from the game which added an extra element of entertainment.
Pedro Pascal’s portrayal of Joel is uncanny minus the heavy accent (but he does a subtle accent I can appreciate). There was never a doubt about that casting choice. However, admittedly when I first saw Bella Ramsey in the trailer I wasn’t sure about her. But after seeing her in action I am convinced she is the perfect choice for the sassy role of Elle. And to avoid any spoilers I will simply say Nico Parker’s portrayal of Sarah had the ability to make me cry all three times I’ve watched these episodes. Even when I know what is coming, her performance is impressive.
The show is clearly in the right hands. And whether it is adapting a moment straight out of the game (like the Clickers) or showcasing a new and surprising story turn (like episode 3's handling of Bill and Frank), I know The Last of Us is going to do it in the best possible way for the story. And that is what sets this apart from most video game adaptations.
The Last of Us has (so far) been the best screen adaptation of a video game made. It is simultaneously faithful and fresh and I can’t wait to see what is in store next for the show in the coming weeks. And perhaps this will open the door to more Sony video game projects to come. New Episodes release every Sunday!