Entertainment

‘The Last of Us’ Review – The Hollywood Reporter


by HBO Our Last By far the best video game adaptation ever made for the big or small screen.

That’s the introduction HBO wanted for its post-apocalyptic tale of despair, perseverance, and zombies, and it’s the introduction HBO is sure to get—because it’s almost impossible to be true. deny. At the same time, it emphasizes how good it is Our Last simply a TV show – although some current fans will closely recognize, sometimes shot-for-shot and line-for-line, linked to the Dog source material its naughty.

Our Last

Key point

Viewers won’t die for this effective scary adaptation.

Broadcast date: 9pm Sunday, January 15 (HBO)
Cast: Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, along with Gabriel Luna, Anna Torv, Nico Parker, Murray Bartlett, Nick Offerman, Melanie Lynskey, Storm Reid, Jeffrey Pierce, Lamar Johnson, Keivonn Woodard, etc.
Creator: Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann from the video game Naughty Dog

Best thing I can say about Our Last that is, as often as it makes me think about Zombie — and inevitably it will make you think Zombie – it frequently reminds me of the despairing, weary humanism of station elevenand even the central relationship deeply felt in Charlotte Wells . films sundownA very different story about a father and daughter learning to communicate in an alien world.

So here’s your alternative, HBO, one that I expect to see on billboards across the country: “Our Last: It looks like sundown with scary mushroom people!”

Adapted by Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) with game creator Neil Druckmann, Our Last begins with a 1960s TV show warning about the dangers of a global fungal infection that has evolved before moving into 2003, where everything is still normal for Texas contractor Joel (Pedro Pascal), His daughter Sarah (Nico Parker) and brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna). Then, it hardly took long, the news coverage went from unrest in Jakarta to panic in the streets to planes falling from the sky.

Twenty years later, the Cordyceps The infection has almost wiped out the human race, leaving survivors confined in several urban quarantine zones, under strict FedRA control. Joel has become an outlaw, smuggling with his partner Tess (Anna Torv is unrecognizable at first), primarily seeking self-interest.

That’s when the leader of a resistance movement (Merle Dandridge’s Marlene) introduces him to wayward 14-year-old Ellie (Bella Ramsey). Ellie is an orphan who only grew up in a post-plague world, and she is special: She was bitten by one of the infected, who still roams the earth in countless forms, but she didn’t turn around. Ellie’s immunity might give humanity hope, but only if Joel and Tess can get her to a facility across the country – it hasn’t been easy since, as every TV series every post-apocalyptic thing that’s ever been done tries to emphasize, as bad as anything that has wiped out most people. humanity already has, people in an extreme state could be much worse.

Our Last the pilot, also directed by Mazin, isn’t bad, but it’s too familiar with an 81-minute run to sustain. Given the amount of programming coming from IP’s that has been in the past, it’s a strange coincidence that since the world entered a wave of pandemic lockdowns in the spring of 2020, audiences have been inundated with series set in pandemic scene — some notable like station elevensome as forgettable as the remake of Foothold and some go completely unnoticed like AMC+’s annabut most are motivated by very, very similar introductions to the old-fashioned new normal.

I don’t want to say it after you’ve seen a city covered in ivy in ruins, a cracked highway full of car tires, or an untrained soldier. threatened to death a group of starving vagrants if they took a step forward. you have seen all of them. But the masterfully executed pilot certainly points to diminishing returns, even when it comes to the shocking value of removing a character that viewers expect to be the protagonist. The episode will actually give newcomers very little hint as to why the property is getting everyone so excited.

The second episode, with Druckmann taking over as director, shifts the series into gear with the introduction of the Ellie/Joel relationship that is more than just the heart of the series; that’s the story. The grumpy, reluctant guardian and the energetic child, humanity’s last hope, is a bit as familiar as anything in a pilot, but it’s rarely been captured as lovingly and endearingly by Pascal as so – possibly revealing his face in this version of Mando and Baby Yoda – and especially Ramsey, whom audiences will remember as Lyanna Mormont, the grace of the latter. Game of Thrones seasons. Pascal professionally expresses the growing exasperation and affection Joel feels, but it is Ramsey who overcomes the always-confusing American accent and instantly makes Ellie wise-but-no- too-wise, not afraid-but-not-too-not-fearful, funny-but-not-annoying-funny. Joel and the players of the game commit to dying for her and the viewer may be willing, from the comfort of no deposit on a couch, to do the same.

That second episode gives us our first meaningful contact, so to speak, with the zombie version of the infected series. Accomplished by the VFX team led by Alex Wang and the makeup department headed by Connie Parker, the creatures are decked out with an array of vibrant flowers that replace their bodies, and they’re truly raw and nightmarish. More than that, they’re fresh and exciting, a genre that cleanses the palate after Greg Nicotero’s iconic work. zombie version of the dead staggered, insatiable. They’re scary, and for the sake of the show, they’re completely unnecessary in the end.

The third episode is what elevates Our Last from a horror game to something almost truly special. The rare 75-minute TV episode that keeps me from looking at my watch once, it’s mostly a portrait of the unexpected and heartbreaking relationship between survivors played by Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett ( so good and so closely tied that Academy TV might need to set a new precedent with a shared guest acting nomination). Directed by Peter Hoar, who has It’s a sin honesty just adds to the depth, it’s basically a completely zombie-free detour from the previous choppy episode, a standalone that doesn’t detract from the series’ original momentum.

It sets the pattern for the rest of the season, which includes one- or two-episode encounters with other communities and other survivors, bringing in stellar guest actors like Melanie Lynskey, Graham Greene, and others. , Elaine Miles, Lamar Johnson, Ashley “Ellie from the Game!” Johnson and Rutina Wesley make a brief but radically effective appearance.The group was mobilized by selection director Victoria Thomas with Storm Reid, who appeared. in the emotional seventh episode of the season.Sometimes episodes also have “zombie” but not always.

The speed with which these cameos come and go points to an admirable and almost unfathomable constraint from HBO and its creators, as it’s easy to imagine how these nine episodes could be. how it lasts for two or three seasons. At the same time, there is a structural similarity that takes away the sense of surprise that anything can happen. Anyone can die at any moment is one thing, but what if it always happens? Not quite “shrug”, but close.

The fast paced pacing also pushes the brutality into voyeuristic sadism in certain parts, especially season eight, when the escalating body count loses all meaning and becomes, for the sake of a good criticism. More of a video game stuff than a prestige TV show. Although I don’t want more padding, a little extra breathing space might allow Our Last gains additional depth in the commentary on The Way We Live Now, far beyond what is sincere if superficially receptive to the darkness and light in human nature.

However, what if that’s my biggest complaint about your blockbuster video game adaptation? Well, you did pretty well actually, Our Last.

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