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The Last of Us: Humans more dangerous than zombies



Slavko Jerič’s column (395)

If there’s one thing HBO are masters at, it’s capturing a moment in time, packaging it in a great and/or likable product, standing behind it and supporting it with all the cannons and other promotions, which we witnessed with the just finished series The Last of Us.

Post-apocalyptic worlds have always been alluring and exciting, especially when questioning how much humanity remains in a person, when on the one hand he has to make decisions about bare survival, and on the other hand he strives for something more, something that defines us as humans and distinguishes us from the rest of the living creatures, which, not least, was beautifully shown not long ago by the TV series of the same company Station Elevenbased on an equally excellent literary proposal.

A real time match to a real pandemic covid-19 was off-putting to many, but (thankfully) far less fatal real-world circumstances were not. The TV series, which ended with the final ninth episode in the United States on Sunday evening (and here in the evening later), is based on force successful computer game that was created exactly ten years earlier. The creators had a difficult task, drawing from a story that created a huge number of loyal users. Television (and film) adaptations of the game genre have rarely been successful. But at HBO, they hit the nail on the head, because it is Craig Mazin with Chernobyl proved that he has a feel for such large-scale stories. The author of the game helped him with the download Neil Druckmannwhich automatically acted as a safeguard against creating a world that would be excessively different from the original, which would probably repel most of those who already know this world.

If you don’t want to know anything about the series, please – stop reading.

The premise of the story is a bit different from most related plots, the end of the world is caused by fungi that start to control infected people, take control and turn their hosts into zombies. You can see for yourself how real this scenario is current episodes of Frequency X.

This is really the last frontier if you don’t want to know anything about the content and the plot. The spoilers follow!

At the outbreak of the pandemic in 2003, we meet Joel (Pedro Pascal), who loses his daughter Sarah (Nico Parker), which marks him fatally. Let’s move forward 20 years, to “today’s world”, more precisely to Boston, or the quarantine zone of this city, which is run by a government organization Phaedra, her approaches… are not, let’s say, democratic at all. Resistance movement Fireflies led by Merlene (Merle Dandridge), which to Joel present scenario to save the world: 14-year-old girl Ellie (Bella Ramsey) must transport from a safe area to a specific location. Ellie is immune to the bites of deadly creatures and brings hope for all of humanity. Her blood could be used to make a medicine that would end the 20-year nightmare.

We see the most zombies in Kansas City (the game was set in Pittsburgh).  Photo: IMDb

The Last of Us it sends the player from point A to point B, with Joel and Ellie encountering and killing zombies in multiple evolutionary versions, and meeting different human groups that don’t necessarily always have the purest of intentions. In other words, it means a “classic killing” spree. This could be a bit fast in the TV version repeatedly, monotonous and therefore boring. Mazin and Druckmann avoid this in a big way, as there are actually very few zombie scenes, the focus is thus on the realization that humans (can) be much more cruel than zombies (which we see in Kansas City and the resort Lakeside).

Various stations on the way to the destination bring episodicity, which quite often means that the characters we meet at the beginning of the episode will also die at the end of it. The creators solved this shortcoming by using flashbackswhich can be several minutes long or the whole episode. In this way, we get to know the background of the main characters (Ellie) as well as completely side characters who do not exactly have the most important place in the entire universe The Last of Usbut they talk about the need for love, safety and protection, which ultimately means an important shift of the first domino in Joel’s motivation (the so-sung third episode, which represents one of the indisputable highlights not only of the series, but of this year’s TV production as well).

The main role in the 3rd episode is perfectly played by Murray Bartlett (he shone in White Lotus) and Nick Offerman (who has long been known mainly for his comedic roles).  Photo: IMDb

The development of Joel is, of course, expected: from a rough and bitter man with a long trauma, who first sees Ellie as nothing more than an unnecessary (and too talkative) burden, to someone who can become a father again. On the other hand, forever abandoned Ellie finally has someone she can trust. In the end, in a major twist (I warned you to stop reading) we get another version “dilemmas with the train”when we have the death of one person on the one hand, and the death of the entire population on the other.

Company Naughty Dog, the creator of the game, conducted a survey among the first players while testing the game and found that people without children of their own were split exactly in half (50:50) on Joel’s decision, and almost all parents agreed with him (100: 0). This is just one of the little (and too many) tidbits we learn in the accompanying HBO podcastwhich is just one of the proofs of the aforementioned full support for the project, which will also get a second season.

Troy Baker was Joel in the game and James in the series, and is also the host of the 9-part podcast.  Photo: IMDb

Most often we see adaptations of books – films / series, where readers are sometimes too critical of adaptations. Series The Last of Us she is extremely faithful to her proposal, because very often copies many dialogues, and the kinship of the two worlds is symbolically shown by the fact that many actors got their (new!) roles in the TV series as well. Merle Dandridge is the only one playing the same character, Joel’s computer character Troy Baker becomes the bandit James (and leader podcast!), Ashley Johnson, who is Ellie in the game, becomes Ellie’s mom in the series. In short, the two worlds are symbolically connected and respect each other, which means that it is undoubtedly one of the most successful remakes in this direction. The chemistry between Pascal and Ramsey, who complement each other and convincingly portray the main characters, adds its own.

A die-hard player might miss some more zombies, but I’m sure that the adaptation in the new environment didn’t lose anything, but put more emphasis on the man who is not immune to evil during the pandemic.

I recommend.

Editorial Notice:

The opinion of the author does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of RTV Slovenia.

Source: Rtvslo

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