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HBO’s “The Last Of Us” Is Off To A Great Start!

When the reviews for HBO’s The Last Of Us came out overwhelmingly positive many people were either hyped or overly skeptical about the united reception. Knowing that Neil Druckmann, the original game’s creator, was heavily involved with production I had an inkling it would be great.

It also involving HBO and Chernobyl‘s writer, Craig Mazin, I knew it would be something special. Having now seen the first episode of the series, and the overwhelming positive reception from the rest of viewers, it is clear that HBO has landed another hit series! So far the show is a fantastic adaptation of the game! Spoilers for the first episode and the early game ahead!

Casting

Pedro Pascal continues to prove that his roles as Oberyn in Game Of Thrones and Din Djarin as the titular Mandalorian were not just flukes. It is eerie just how flawlessly Pascal slips into the role of the hardened Joel Miller. We see how closed off his heart is when he disposes of a child’s body in a communal fire when others don’t have the heart to do it.

But also he does a phenomenal job of playing the warm Joel Miller before the outbreak, as we see his interaction with his daughter, Sarah(Nico Parker). Bella Ramsey as Ellie took a bit for me to get around to. She wasn’t selling it for me at first until about the time she waits with Joel in his apartment. That’s when I finally started believing her as Ellie, when she started messing around with Joel. Merle Dandridge is the only actress to reprise a role from the game. She plays Marlene in both the game and the show. I love her inclusion here because it serves as a bridge between the game and the show that lends the world that needed connective tissue.

Left: Bella Ramsey, Pedro Pascal Right: Their game counterparts, Joel and Ellie

Creative Decisions

The first episode makes it clear that certain liberties would be taken where it makes sense. It is incredibly faithful to the source material and even the spirit of the source material at times. Two changes I noticed in this premiere episode were made for the better in my opinion. When Joel and Tess head out to deal with Robert and his goons over the stolen battery (stolen weapon cache in the game) they find that Robert’s whole crew has already been killed by the Fireflies.

In the game the player, as Joel, has a pursuit/shootout with Robert’s goons before finally apprehending him. They cutout the unnecessary shootout to streamline the story-telling in the show, something that was needed in the game. The second thing is that they actually gave Joel motivation to head out west. In the original game Joel only heads west to smuggle Ellie for the promise of a large cache of weapons. In the show he is worried about his brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna) and needs to get to him. Smuggling out Ellie will get him the resources he needs to go further. It seems more genuine to add to Joel’s motives considering his trauma regarding little girls. I think they were meaningful script changes done well.

One of the scenes from the game that is skipped entirely because it is just not necessary to the show. Tess and Joel confronting Robert, a cut that makes sense.

Closing Thoughts

This is only the first of nine episodes so far, so I may be getting in a little over my head here with the praise. I just find it hard to believe that they could mess up the rest of the show when they have already got this far with this much right. Part of what makes The Last Of Us as a show work is that the source material (IE: game) is already cinematic in a sense. It doesn’t take much to simply remove the fat and adapt it in my opinion.

What do you guys think? Is this another certified HBO masterpiece in the works? Could it be another awesome videogame adaptation like Detective Pikachu and Castlevania are? Sound off in the comments section, I would love to read your responses. For more videogame coverage be sure to follow GeekNewsNow on all social media you use. Also be sure to give a listen to my videogame centric podcast, Duosense, weekly! Stay geeky out there!

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