I like zombies, I like video games, and I am into anything that can bring both of the things I like together; for me, what makes a believable zombie is somewhere between “The Walking Dead” (AMC) and World War Z (Paramount in association with Plan B entertainment owned by Brad Pitt).
I even like Z-Nation, filmed primarily on location in Spokane (SyFy), yet they need to be believable to do zombies right.
So, as a nerd, when I heard from a friend at the video game creators Ubisoft that Naughty Dog, the creators of one of my all-time top ten favorite video games was joining Home Box Office (HBO) and releasing on Prime Video the live adaptation of “The Last of Us” I was excited.
The last of us is set in post-2003 America, where a strange fungus has infected the world’s food supply and changed most of mankind into a form of zombies; the protagonist Joel Miller played by Pedro Pascal is a simple contractor from Tyler, Texas.
On Joel’s birthday, August 2003, zombies are ravaging the city of Tyler, Texas Joel, his brother Tommy, and his daughter Sarah are trapped in an overrun city and have to escape.
However, as they try to escape, Sarah, age 14, is shot by a soldier on the orders of the military, trying to contain the spread of the infected, thrusting Joel into the fight of his life.
Fast forward 20 years after the pandemic has radically changed known civilization, infected humans run wild, and survivors are fighting to defend their food and weapons or take what they can from the living.
Joel, a violent survivor, has lost everything he loves and knows; he lives in a quarantine zone in Boston run by corrupt paramilitary guards with Tess, another survivor.
Joel and Tess are hired to transport a 14-year-old girl Ellie Williams out of Boston to a hidden research facility run by a group of insurgents called “Fireflies.”
The one-day journey transforms into a perilous trip across the United States, Joel is now responsible for a girl the same age as the daughter he lost 20 years earlier, and the journey becomes more about a father who lost his only child, a daughter and a teenage girl who never knew hers’.
The video game adaptation is worth seeing, and rarely do production studios stick to the plot of a game adaptation; however, the creator of “The Last of Us,’’ yet, what makes the live adaptation different is that Naughty Dog is involved with the filming of the show.
Pascal and Ramsey, the two protagonists, have access to the developers and the team behind the video game. The storytelling is excellent and closely follows the game; even the infected zombies look like what is in the game.
This is one of the most exciting releases of 2023, ten years in the making, and finally, a video game adaptation worthy of watching; the creators, along with HBO and Prime Video, have taken care to keep this series as close to the original storyline as possible.
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