Can HBO’s The Last of Us be a faithful adaptation of the video game?
HBO finally released the highly anticipated full-length trailer for its live-action adaptation of the critically acclaimed video game The Last of Us. Since the announcement of the live-action adaptation (set to premiere in 2023) was made in November 2021, fans all over the world waited with bated breath for the full version of the trailer.
Since its release in 2013, The Last of Us has made its mark in gaming history with its acclaimed visuals, story-telling, characterisation, and original score. The game appears on virtually every "greatest video games of all time" list and has won numerous accolades.
Needless to say, the showrunners had their work cut out for them given the high expectations from the game's loyal fanbase. Fortunately, fans worldwide will agree that the trailer did not disappoint.
To give a brief overview, the world in The Last of Us is a unique take on the post-apocalyptic genre, where zombies are created through the cordyceps fungi. The fungi take over the body of the host, rendering them into lifeless zombies by taking over their brain functionality.
As for the story, the game centres around Joel, a man plagued with tragedy living in post-apocalyptic Massachusetts, and Ellie, the 14-year-old girl Joel has to safely escort to a rebel militia group residing in Salt Lake City. Throughout the story, Joel and Ellie unintentionally form a close bond as they trudge through a world riddled with death and despair.
In the live-action adaptation, Chilean actor Pedro Pascal, most known for his roles in TV series like Game of Thrones and Narcos, will play Joel. Alongside Pascal, his Game of Thrones co-star, Bella Ramsey, will play Ellie. Even though the actors may not bear much resemblance to the widely beloved characters, fans remain hopeful for their performances given their appearances in the trailer.
The trailer begins with a shot of Joel walking in the quarantine zone set to the song Alone and Forsaken by Hank Williams. The music choice for the trailer is a reference to one of the most pivotal scenes in the game, where the very same song played during a car crash.
Apart from the music selection, several clips from the trailer remained faithful to the source material. Fans can recognise specific scenes from the game being translated into the show. This includes the trek to the iconic leaning building, Joel carrying his daughter, and Ellie's blood-covered face among several other scenes.
Other fan-favourite characters also appear in the trailer, such as Joel's brother Tommy, Tess, and Bill.
Another clip from the trailer showed Tess, Ellie, and Joel hiding behind a window to avoid a Clicker, which is another memorable scene from the game. The fight-or-flight instinct triggering clicking noise can also be heard in the short clip.
On that note, the showstopper of the trailer for me would definitely be the Clickers. In the universe of The Last of Us, Clickers are zombies infected with the fungus for over a year. As a result, the fungal growth covers their faces completely, rendering them blind. However, Clickers use echolocation through their distinctive clicking noises to hunt their prey, resulting in one of the most imaginative zombie variants in recent years.
A Clicker is shown for a split second in the trailer, but that's all it took to display the gorgeous design of the terrifying creature. The production team put a lot of effort into bringing the Clickers to life. Their dedication shone through, even in only one second of footage.
All in all, the trailer was successful in quelling a lot of doubts surrounding the adaptation. Even though the casting choices may still draw divisive opinions, fans can hopefully expect the showrunners to do justice to this masterpiece of a game.