The Last of Us Comparisons
From our conversations in Epsiode 368:
The Last of Us is one of the most acclaimed video games of all time, praised for its gripping story, immersive gameplay, and unforgettable characters. The game follows Joel and Ellie, two survivors of a fungal pandemic that has turned most of humanity into zombie-like creatures called clickers. Together, they embark on a perilous journey across a post-apocalyptic America, facing enemies, hardships, and moral dilemmas along the way.
The game was so popular that it spawned a sequel, a comic book series, and a live-action TV show on HBO. The show, which premiered in 2023, is created by Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) and Neil Druckmann (the game’s co-director and writer). The show aims to be faithful to the game’s story and tone, but also introduces some changes and additions to make it more suitable for the TV format.
So how does the show compare to the game? Here are some of the major differences between them:
- The timeline: The game starts in 2013, when the outbreak begins, and then jumps to 2033, when most of the action takes place. The show starts in 2003, before the outbreak, and then jumps to 2023. This makes the show more relevant to the current times and adds more realism and urgency to the story.
- The characters: The show features most of the main characters from the game, such as Joel (Pedro Pascal), Ellie (Bella Ramsey), Tess (Anna Torv), Tommy (Gabriel Luna), Marlene (Merle Dandridge), Bill (Nick Offerman), and Henry (Jeffrey Pierce). However, some of them have different appearances, personalities, or roles than in the game. For example, Tess is more of a love interest for Joel in the show than in the game, Tommy is more conflicted about his brother’s actions, and Marlene is more sympathetic and complex. The show also introduces some new characters that are not in the game, such as Frank (Murray Bartlett), Bill’s partner who died before Joel and Ellie met him in the game.
- The plot: The show follows the same basic plot as the game, with Joel and Ellie traveling across the country to deliver Ellie to the Fireflies, a rebel group that hopes to find a cure for the infection. However, the show expands on some aspects of the game’s story, such as Joel’s past, Ellie’s immunity, and the Fireflies’ motives. The show also adds some new scenes and events that are not in the game, such as a flashback to Joel’s wife’s death, a confrontation with a cult leader named Isaac (Riley Keough), and a twist involving Ellie’s mother Anna (Constance Wu).
- The themes: The show explores some of the same themes as the game, such as survival, loyalty, violence, morality, and love. However, the show also delves deeper into some topics that are not as prominent in the game, such as environmentalism, feminism, racism, and sexuality. For example, the show depicts how climate change contributed to the outbreak and how it affects the survivors’ lives. It also portrays Ellie as a more outspoken and empowered character who challenges gender norms and stereotypes. It also reveals her sexuality earlier than in the game and shows her relationship with another girl named Riley (Cailee Spaeny).
- The style: The show tries to capture the same style as the game, with realistic visuals, gritty atmosphere, tense action sequences, and emotional moments. However, the show also has some differences in terms of cinematography, music, and tone. For example, the show uses more handheld camera shots and natural lighting to create a documentary-like feel. It also uses more original music composed by Gustavo Santaolalla (who also scored the game) rather than licensed songs. It also has more humor and levity than the game to balance out the darkness and drama.
The Last of Us is a remarkable adaptation that honors its source material while also making it its own. It is a must-watch for fans of the game and newcomers alike. It is a captivating story that will make you laugh, cry, and think about what it means to be human in a world gone mad.