We saw 3 episodes of The Last of Us series: our opinion (without spoilers)

We saw 3 episodes of The Last of Us series: our opinion (without spoilers)

With magnificent cinematography, the adaptation of The last of us on HBO is out of this world. It is however difficult to compete with our memories of the game, but the artistic proposal is so high, that we are conquered. Here is our opinion after 3 episodes watched.

It’s our excitement during the first thirty minutes of the series The last of us which instantly confirms that the adaptation is successful: whether or not you have played the original game, the dramatic tension is already there, the chills, the beating heart. The minutes and episodes that we saw later confirm it, the HBO series relies on the same mechanism as the original work of Naughty Dog: the human shock of extreme situations, the collapse that gives the intimate and a journey more than a destination.

When it launched on PlayStation consoles in 2013, The last of us deeply marked the spirits. At the beginning of this journey, civilization collapsed following a pandemic transforming three quarters of humanity into zombies (in “infected”, more precisely). Twenty years later, Joel, a mercenary, is entrusted with the protection of an important child, Ellie. Then begins a post-apocalyptic road trip of extraordinary power.

This cult work is now experiencing a new life in series made at HBOwhose first episode will be available in France from this Monday, January 16, 2023on First video. After only three episodes previewed, we can’t wait until our full viewing is over to tell you a few words about it. Here is our hot opinion, without spoilers, on the beginning of the season.

HBO bets on the artistic paw to emancipate itself from the game

Adapting a video game is considered almost infeasible — tomb Raider, Unexplored, Assassin’s Creed and many other licenses left feathers there. But the approach of Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, for this HBO series, changes the game, by focusing on the artistic touch: this version of The last of us is before everything a work of art as such in its cinematography. More than an adaptation, it is a proposal. Radically breathtaking in its artistic direction, and overwhelming in its interpretation, the series aptly reaches our eyes and our guts. It’s beautiful, pure and simple, both in the post-apocalyptic paintings and the characters that compose them.

Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and Tess (Anna Torv). // Source: HBO

Carried by a slow rhythm, where the action is not very present and is rather a matter of moments of tension, The last of us is an author series. She never tries to entertain or narrate: she shows. It is there, moreover, that the adaptation easily manages to emancipate itself from the game. With the first three episodes alone, the work of HBO already plunges into unsuspected mysteries of the universe of The last of usnever mentioned in the game, and rewrites some destinies. And this, while nevertheless following feature by feature the narrative framework of the game or its own aesthetics – with the same music or even “infected” as straight out of the game (and which frankly accelerate our heart rate).

The series takes up marvelously both the codes of the cinema of road trip than those of the post-apo imaginary, but with a societal dimension of crisis management. On the scale of the start of the season, the series is already fulfilling the promise of including us more in the collapse of the world, thanks to a recurrence of flashbacks aimed at illuminating both cordyceps (the fungus at the origin of this pandemic) and the past of certain characters. Episode 3 also takes aback by retracing, over 1h15, in an almost confined manner, nearly 20 years of post-apocalyptic couple life for two characters who are not very developed in the game, Bill and Frank. We therefore understand that the series relies entirely on intimate writing.

Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey and Anna Torv: an ideal cast

Finally, if there is one box that can be ticked after only three episodes watched, it is the quality of the cast. Pedro Pascal shows a breathtaking maturity in his interpretation. Bella Ramsey, on the other hand, has an equally certain talent: she captures all of Ellie’s attitude. She is Ellie, there is no doubt. At the start of the season, however, we are still missing the softer aspects of her character’s personality — after 3 episodes, Bella Ramsey has shown the heroine’s toughest and most insolent aspects, not yet her weaker feelings and weaknesses. deep. But the relationship between the two characters is just beginning, at this stage, and it is this relationship that brings out the deep humanity of each of them.

Joel and Ellie // Source: HBO screenshot
They’re Joel and Ellie, there’s no doubt. // Source : HBO screenshot

The pleasure of finding Anna Torv in the cast, several years later Fringeis not the least. Totally emancipated from her character in the game, she gives Tess an unsuspected human complexity.

So how do we feel after 3 episodes of The Last of Us?

Memories of the game are very hard to compete with when you’ve been turned upside down by Ellie and Joel’s adventure. When played, therefore, the series may seem slightly less gripping than those memories. It is also obvious that, for such a story, there is a share of narrative transcendence: the original work escapes all control, surprises, finds its strength in parameters unsuspected by its creators. Where an adaptation is generally dulled by the many baggage or even the expectations already present upstream. And this adaptation does not entirely escape this weight. But this, to a lesser extent.

The HBO series is of great beauty, even regardless of its adaptation status, because it seeks neither to create something new, nor to repeat the same experience. This is why she stands out. Ultimately, The last of us does not suffer from comparison with The last of us ; that wouldn’t do honor to the game or the series. The same story, the same duo… for two works with very different approach, narrative springs and emotions, but still just as moving in the representation of survival.

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