Review – “The Last of Us”

HBO Max brings well-made video game adaptation to life

Ten years after the initial release of the video game “The Last of Us,” HBO Max produced and released the first season of the show by the same title. A week later, creator of “The Last of Us” and co-president of video game developer Naughty Dog, Neil Druckmann, announced that season 2 is already on its way, and I’m not at all surprised.

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The game was originally released in 2013 with a sequel following seven years later. The original game was then turned into a show that started filming in 2021 and released 9 weekly episodes starting in January of this year and ending in March.

The show follows the two main characters—Ellie Willams, played by Bella Ramsey, and Joel Miller, played by Pedro Pascal—as they venture across the United States from Boston to Salt Lake City during a post-apocalyptic scene with zombie-like creatures. Joel is put in charge of getting Ellie across the country alive so she can be tested on to create a cure as she is the only person immune to the infection. The infection is created by a fungal disease dealing with mutated cordyceps, also known as the “zombie-ant fungus.” The parasitic fungus infiltrates the host with spores before taking control completely, which sparked the idea of cordyceps taking control of humans via infected food supplies to create the zombie-like creatures portrayed in the show.

I was pretty happy with the show’s storyline. Since I had already played the game, I really wasn’t sure what to expect–if it would be really similar to the game or really different. I’m glad that they portrayed the story the way they did with it being both similar and different to the game at the same time. I’m glad that the show wasn’t an exact copy of the game, but I’m also glad that the storyline still kept up with the game. There were enough similarities between the two so that it didn’t feel like a completely different story with the same general idea.

One thing I really enjoyed was the acting, especially of the two main characters. Ramsey and Pascal did a phenomenal job with their characters and made me appreciate the characters even more than I already did. Their personalities didn’t exactly mesh well together at the beginning, but then that changed as the show progressed. The actors were able to convey the emotions of the characters’ built friendship throughout the season really well. My favorite scene, and the scene where I think their amazing acting really shows, is after the restaurant fire scene when they reunite. In this scene, I could truly see how the actors put their hearts into their characters.

I’m also glad that Druckmann was writer and executive producer of the show considering he created the game in the first place. It only makes sense for him to help continue the legacy of the game into the show. Since Druckmann played a big part in creating the show, I think that helped keep the show faithful to the game, and personally, I was happy with that.

There was a pretty good amount of key differences between the show and the game, including changing some parts of the storyline, which I mentioned earlier, and how quickly those parts progressed. On the other hand, when there were scenes that played out like the game, they played out almost exactly like the game, which I enjoyed. 

Overall, although it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, I really enjoyed “The Last of Us,” and I definitely recommend it to anyone, especially if you are into post-apocalyptic shows. So don’t be the last to watch “The Last of Us.”