“The Last of Us” on Prime Video: the series doesn’t disappoint

An adaptation that will delight video game fans as much as those who don’t know it. 2023 gets off to a very strong start for fans of the series with “The Last Of Us”, the first episode of which will be posted on Prime Video in France this Monday, January 16th. A broadcast was announced at the last minute, when many French viewers were concerned that the fiction, produced for cable channel HBO across the Atlantic, was not scheduled here. We’ll have to wait for the announcement of the partnership with the Amazon platform a few days ago to be convinced.

Why wait like that? First, because “The Last of Us” is a video game phenomenon. When it was released in 2013, it caused a sensation, praised from all sides for its aesthetic qualities, but especially for its screenplay, which gives pride of place to emotions. Winning multiple awards (including “Parisien” Star in 2013), the title has since sold 17 million copies worldwide. If the raw material seems perfect for a series rebirth, the execution is not to be missed.

What a duo

Game creator Neil Druckmann is helming this adaptation, along with Craig Mazin, creator and screenwriter of the excellent mini-series “Chernobyl”. Another sensitive thing that must be considered: the selection of actors to embody the two heroes. Because the story of “The Last of Us” is the story of Joel and Ellie. The action takes place in a world ravaged by a fungus that has colonized the human organism, turning it into killer zombies. The series begins in 2003, when the infected first appear, before jumping in twenty years later, when the survivors are parked in a quarantine zone. Joel, a desperate man turned black market dealer, finds himself reluctantly assigned to escort Ellie, a 14 year old girl who seems immune to the virus, across the United States.

Pedro Pascal embodied this 56 year old man on screen. The 47-year-old Chilean-American actor, seen in “Game of Thrones”, “Narcos” and “The Mandalorian”, extended his series CV without fake notes. Facing him, Bella Ramsey lent her face to Ellie. The 19-year-old actress shocked Game of Thrones fans as Lyanna Mormont, an iron-fisted clan leader despite her young age. Very simply, he steals the attention of all his playmates in every performance.

The chemistry between the two actors is obvious, ensuring much of the success of the series. The scenario, true to the first masterpiece of video games (a sequel released in 2020), combines drama and emotion, horror and action, feeling and violence. Not forgetting the touch of sharp humor that often comes out of Ellie’s mouth, whose insolence is a treat.

Well made plot

This apparent feat is served up by the narrative leaving room for the development of certain secondary characters well beyond their in-game awakening. It’s also an opportunity to meet many familiar faces over the nine shutters: Anna Torv (“Fringe”, “Mindhunter”), Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”), Murray Bartlett (“The White Lotus”, “Welcome to Chippendales”), Melanie Lynskey (“Yellowjackets”), Rutina Wesley (“TrueBlood”)…

There is an elegance to “The Last of Us” that, despite its dark side, is at times heartwarming. Episode 3 at this level is a master class. In the “survivalist series” genre, of which “The Walking Dead” is the most popular example of recent years, this new fiction also stands out by delivering a well-constructed plot, where each episode has its own identity. The action doesn’t continue to progress in the gray world of ruins. On the contrary, the different seasons and contrasting landscapes make it possible never to become monotonous.

One episode will be uploaded to Prime Video every Monday, following US programming. This sometimes frustrating pace still allows you to fully appreciate the story, the intricacies, the emotion that pours out of it. Since you should enjoy “The Last of Us”, it is not every day that such a successful series appears on our screens.

Editors Note:

Last of us », American series by Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin (2023), with Bella Ramsey, Pedro Pascal, Anna Torv… Nine episodes from 43 to 81 minutes each.

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