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The Last Of Us is getting more attention, as Hollywood continues to mine the gaming industry for future content; however, our James Morgan believes that going the film route would be the wrong choice.
Over the years Hollywood has tried and failed at making movies based on video games that have come close to being a hit. Sure there was Tomb Raider, which made Angelina Jolie a superstar, her casting was brilliant, but sadly the movie was not. Since then, Hollywood has wreaked havoc on the legacy of games such as Super Mario Bros, Doom, Street fighter and Dead or Alive by making terrible movies, you’d think they would have learned their lesson by now.
In 2013, Naughty dog released The Last of Us, a global hit with a compelling and simple survival story line about a man and a young girl. So naturally Hollywood plans to adapt this into a film set for a 2016 release; however with the recent success of the small screen, The Last of Us would make a better television series and here is why.
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The Last of Us has at least 14 – 15 hours game play throughout the game which cannot simply be summed up in a silly 2 hour movie. There are hours of emotion that simply cannot be rushed for a movie, in the same way you wouldn’t rush Walter White’s transformation in Breaking Bad. There are also some very scary and suspenseful moments that are needed to build up The Last of Us’ true feeling of survival against all odds. Building tension is something that Hollywood has forgotten about due to using silly monster effects and makeup, but the true horror is not knowing when something is going to see you and jump out, which is what The Last of Us needs.
The Last of Us also takes place over the space of a year with seasons used to portray the progress of time which given the right amount of episodes could be a way of not rushing these characters storylines.
The Last of Us has a fair amount of characters that assist you on the way through the game. The main characters are Joel and Ellie, who are travelling through a post-apocalyptic world to get Ellie to safety because she is the cure to a zombie plague that has ravaged the world for 20 years. Along the way there are a bunch of characters that either assist you with reaching your goal or become a threat and obstacle. Long story short, there are too many characters in this game to be thrown into a 2 hour storyline. The characters in this game need time to blossom, develop and grow together, but you can guarantee a movie would focus more on the zombies and simply use these characters as zombie fodder – does no one remember World War Z?
This game was a success because it was about a relationship, like a father and daughter story about sticking together, protecting one another and stepping up to create a better future. Sure it’s got zombies in it, but 80% of the time you are fighting real people and not the undead, which again needs to be explored more in a series.
The Soundtrack from The Last of Us is Gustavo Santaolalla’s finest work. It has beauty, emotion and horror strung together by strings. The soundtrack also sets out chapters throughout the game, different themes and characters. It could also be a great asset to a 16 episode series, rather than getting some big Hollywood composer to redo it with a fancy orchestra score.
This game is a marvel; naughty dog really captured the true nature of a father-daughter type struggle to survive. A film however would ruin everything the game did to fans; there is not enough time in a film to tell this story. Look at how Marvel’s Daredevil recreated the origin story for Netflix across 13 episodes, and it worked. Television is really thriving with most filmmakers already remaking films as series such as 12 Monkeys and From Dusk Till Dawn, not to mention how the internet has resurrected Mortal Kombat as a web series.
If Hollywood made this film it would just be another zombie film with different people, but if they made it into a series it would become a character development story reliant on dialogue, stealth and the fear of being left behind.
Move over The Walking Dead, it’s time for The Last Of Us.
James Morgan is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @monkeymorgasm