“The Last of Us” looks promising

It’s safe to say that adapting a video game into a show or movie usually ends badly. From forgotten trainwrecks such as the 1990s “Super Mario Bros.” and “Doom” starring The Rock to modern shows like “Halo” and “The Witcher: Blood Origin,” it’s easy to see why video game adaptations don’t have the best reputation. However, with the Sonic movies and “Arcane” proving video game adaptations could work, along with the new “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” looking to be promising, things are changing for the better. Another adaptation that is currently being celebrated is the ongoing HBO original “The Last of Us.”

“The Last of Us” follows Joel, a hardened 56-year-old man, played by Pedro Pascal, trying to escort Ellie, a snarky 14-year-old played by Bella Ramsey, through post-apocalyptic America. The reason Ellie is so important is that she is immune to cordyceps, a fungus that infects a person and proceeds to turn them into a zombie. The world was ruined when cordyceps, which usually only target insects, mutated to infect people. 

What works with the show is that it captures the most iconic events of the game really well, while also adding new plotlines to make it more suitable for a television series. For example, the third episode is about a gay couple, Bill and Frank, who are growing old together in the apocalypse. Both have something tragic happen to them, but in the game, one of them leaves. It’s essentially the first 15 minutes of “Up,” but with two gay men. While it may seem pointless, this is a good change because it fleshes out these characters in a different way than the game, where Frank just leaves offscreen. Another strength is that the acting is excellent all around. Everyone gives it their all.

This strength could also be a double-edged sword because some audiences might perceive these changes as pointless or just to pad out the runtime. While this is understandable, I feel that changes are necessary when adapting something to a new medium, from a live-action remake of an animated film to a TV show based on a video game. Not having any changes would make the movie or show pointless because you could just play or watch the original product.

If you have a sensitivity to gore, you should avoid the show, as it can get very violent. This also applies if you don’t want to see explicit content, as there is a naked female corpse in episode two. If you don’t mind any of these things, then go watch the show for its amazing performances and good storytelling.