We at Knight Edge Media were given an early look at HBO’s upcoming video game adaption of The Last Of Us. The series will follow Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) as they try to escape the quarantine zone of post-apocalyptic Boston and travel into the wild across America to find a cure.
Disclaimer: As someone who had never played the original PlayStation game, I had zero knowledge of the story plot and how well it may have been adapted.
Long story short, showrunner Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) and video game director Neil Druckmann may have created the best series of 2023. The almost feature film-length episode mostly focuses on Joel before the outbreak in 2003 with his daughter Sarah and brother Tommy (played by Gabriel Luna) in suburban Texas before time jumping 20 years to rundown post-apocalyptic Boston. Pedro Pascal stands out in the series as the single Dad trying to raise his daughter to a beaten-down smuggler who has lost everything precious in life. You feel a sense of urgency during the initial outbreak as the three try to escape the downfall of humanity.
While many undoubtedly compare the series to The Walking Dead (which only ended last year after a decade), it’s a comparison as another zombie series ends there. The difference is that this single season will cover the entire first game without dragging on past the original source material. However, one small thing they both have in common is that (as always) it’s not the zombies that are the worst part of the apocalypse but the humans that remain. The worst of humanity always seems to survive or emerge during this type of catastrophe. In the end, you end you hating the humans more than the zombies.
The episode ends with Joel finally meeting the mysterious child Ellie. She has a secret about her that can help change the entire world as they know it. If only Joel and his companion Tess could travel into the wild and deliver her to a group of rebel doctors.
5.0 out of 5.0 stars
All-in-all, Craig Mazin did dial back the violence and the gore of The Last Of Us video games but gives us an unbearable and invisible atmosphere that, at any moment, someone is going to die. He did this with Chernobyl, trying to create an invisible presence in a hard-hitting psychological thriller. He again brought that into The Last Of Us, and we can’t wait to see Joel’s journey in protecting humanity’s only hope.