Why The Last of Us Shouldn’t Be Made Into A Damn movie - Games Weekly

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Why The Last of Us Shouldn’t Be Made Into A Damn movie

It’s no secret that games have had a terrible run when it comes to movie adaptations. Just look at the stinking beast that is the long-running Resident Evil series, the hilariously bad live action first person shootout in the movie Doom, or anything by that cretin Uwe Boll… but that’s almost a different story altogether.

The Last of Us isn’t in danger of being a bad film, not with Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, The Grudge) in the production seat, a potential Maisie Williams (aka Arya Stark) filling Ellie’s shoes and a script penned by Neil Druckmann himself.

What bugs me is The Last of Us doesn't need a film adaptation, just as the film world doesn't need The Last of Us it’s bad news man.


In 2013, the game released to critical acclaim and despite the subsequent “too cinematic!’ cries now boasts over 200 ‘game of the year’ awards, five BAFTA's, three VGX awards and the ability to make a grown man cry. And no, I’m not ashamed. A combination of brilliant voice acting, well-rounded writing and character animation that managed to avoid the dreaded uncanny valley led to an experience that blew game brains the world over.

Yet this was a gaming experience, an interactive journey that played like a love letter to the last two generations of games. We met Joel and Ellie as strangers, became familiar with their ways and embraced them as our avatars. We experienced their pain firsthand, because we controlled them. We chose what they did; we chose when they interacted; we chose when they were violent and when
they were stealthy. If we wanted to hear one of Ellie’s jokes we asked her. If we grew sick of the dated punch lines we ignored her. These experiences built up an understanding between game and player, right up until the final scene where control was ripped from our hands, leaving us with no choice but to pull out our hair as we watched how the end would play out.

Naughty Dog dangled these instances in front of us with each extensive cut scene, allowing the characters to explain themselves to each other and us, strengthening our emotional bond like they do in film land. Yet while it borrows these traits, it uses them to enhance its interactive nature.

And that’s just it, the real reason The Last of Us doesn't need a film adaptation is because it’s already an amazing god damn game.

If those H-wood jerks insist we look towards a film adaptation of this gaming giant, the best place to look is actually behind; we’ve already got a Hollywood version of The Last of Us. It’s called Children of Men and it’s incredible. A once compassionate man who’s forced to distance himself from his previous life due to a traumatic event is begrudgingly drawn into a rebel scheme to transport
humanity’s last hope across a dangerous landscape of post-apocalyptic mayhem.

Along the way, the brooding dude and his sassy young replacement daughter who carries all our hopes on her shoulders bond, teach each other compassion and the rest is summed up by a really great long-shot. If you haven’t already seen it, watch it. It even has Michael “blow the bloody doors off” Caine.
WE'VE ALREADY GOT A HOLLYWOOD VERSION OF THE LAST OF US. IT’S CALLED CHILDREN OF MEN AND IT'S INCREDIBLE
Children of Men is an incredible achievement for film, just as The Last of Us is an incredible achievement for games, but there’s no huge demand for a Children of Men game because, frankly, it would be inferior. Children of Men was designed to be a film as much as its gaming counterpart was designed to be a game, and with that comes certain design decisions that shouldn't make the cross-medium jump. Considering their similarities, I wouldn't be surprised to find that The Last of Us took some inspiration from Children of Men (*ahem* or even more than that), but in doing so it created an entirely new universe, an original story and endearing characters that perfectly suited the medium, and managed to challenge it.


I don’t believe a Last of Us film will be able to do the same for cinema.

Just as Gary Oldman politely asks professional basketballers to “stay the bleep out of movies” (it’s on YouTube, look it up), it’s important that film and games finally accept they are very different mediums, capable of very different experiences. To take an interactive story and make it passive is a whole new cartridge.

The Last of Us has already proved itself a damn fine game. A mediocre film adaptation won’t help this, nor will a good film adaptation for that matter because that is the general nature of replication. On the other side of the spectrum, a bad film could tarnish the characters we’ve put in our “Must Have in Case of Apocalypse” lists, rob them of their life and distance some from the original material.

We’re at the point where games should be able to stand as games, without the need to justify themselves in other mediums. While cross medium stories can definitely be beneficial, like Dragon Age’s graphic novels or Halo’s ‘Forward Unto Dawn’ web series, a direct retelling is simply a waste of time. Sony and Naughty Dog would be better off circling the wagons and leaving their film dreams to the Clickers, before it’s too late.

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