Note: This article contains spoilers
HBO's video game adaptation of "The Last of Us" has been an instant hit. By the end of the first season, it is already certain that the 2023 annual list will have its place.
"The Last of Us" poster
One of the screenwriters, Neil Drakeman, is also the creator of the game of the same name. "The Last of Us" turned out to be a high-score game, with elements of the end of the world + roads, a two-person adventure journey of father, daughter and friends, traveling through the ruins of civilization in the United States, and experiencing various communities of relict human beings along the way.
The gene of the game brings a clear perspective of the protagonist to the play. When playing the game, the player can choose Joel or Ellie's main perspective to pass the level. You may not agree with their approach, but you have entered the virtual body, share the same goal with them, and kill all those who stand in the way. They're violent anti-heroes, and so are the players. Following Joel and Ellie, you can take off the heavy cloak of civilization, stop thinking about philosophy, morality and law, and just focus on survival.
Stills of "The Last of Us"
Joel was fifty-six, a builder in Texas before the doomsday fungal outbreak, and his daughter was shot dead at the beginning of the chaos. Joel becomes a smuggler and takes on a special mission to transport Ellie. Ellie is fourteen years old, an orphan who gained immunity when her mother was attacked by zombies during childbirth. She is the secret of the resistance organization "Firefly". When the conditions are ripe, she will be used to make a vaccine to save the remaining human beings. Both are excellent survivors, smart, powerful, violent, and cunning, which are also the basic qualities of some primitive gods.
When the story happened, the earth had changed its pattern. A small group of humans survived in the fortress, and zombies roamed the land. But the game mode can give people a great sense of security. For players, there are only two options: continue or give up. Once you choose to continue the game, it is assumed that you know that everyone and every tribe you meet along the way cannot stop your journey. Even the best people and places will say goodbye. No matter how bad the situation is, it will definitely be able to get rid of it.
Players only need nimble fingers and focused brain power to get closer and closer to the goal. Morality and righteousness can be ignored for the time being. What kind of traces these experiences will leave in my heart, I didn't have time to take care of them at the time, and I can only recollect them afterwards. You (Joel or Ellie) get hurt, but not dead. There is no such guarantee for the lives of others. The last survivors, who were already few left, died around them like flies.
The person (zombie) who became the host of the fungus is no longer a person. For the survivors, there is no difference between killing one zombie and a hundred. The zombie content in the drama version of "The Last of Us" is very small. The journey of Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) is still the journey of the living. This makes it different from other zombie films.
Screenshot of "The Last Survivor"
It focuses on the relationship between people after the catastrophe. On the way to break through obstacles and send Ellie to the "Firefly" base, "The Last of Us" shows several typical survival modes of survivors. Among them, there are not only doomsday-common forms in zombie films, but also a rare community where everyone is equal without conspiracy, and a strong survival unit composed of two or one person.
For audiences who are familiar with doomsday films, protected areas maintained by military police and settlements established by religious leaders/military dictators are common, so no matter what kind of conspiracy it contains, it will not surprise the audience too much. In film and television dramas, there have been too many examples of rulers keeping the people under their rule silent in the name of "protection" or "salvation". When civilization collapses and crises are everywhere, any initially loosely formed group is extremely easy to elect a strongman leader under the pressure of survival. Since then, they are willing to abandon the democratic system and switch to a more "efficient" dictatorship or oligarchy.
There are several such bosses in The Last of Us as well. The woman was originally the sister of the leader of the rebel army. After overthrowing the government army, she became the new leader of the region. See the portrait of the popular female cult leader in recent years. She is middle-aged, slightly fat, soft-spoken, dressed like an ordinary housewife, and acts very ruthlessly. hot. The man is a hero made by the times. He changed from a math teacher to a pastor. He regards himself as the shepherd of the people and is very conceited. He satisfies his selfish desires in the name of "the sheep need me" and secretly eats people. Their very tragic death satisfies our disgust for such people.
The characteristic of this kind of people is that their inflated selfish desires are not separated from their responsibilities as a leader, and they regard themselves as the sole establisher and ultimate interpreter of the rules, so they are gloomy and unpredictable. Joel and Ellie would never hold back when it came to someone like that.
They also quickly develop friendship and trust with another type of person while traveling. Those people, like them, do not belong to any collective and are responsible for their own survival. They are either collective traitors, or self-sufficient companions in isolated places. The homosexual couple, the old Native Indian couple and the two traitor brothers left the two protagonists with the impression that humanity is still noble and lovely, and they also made them reluctant to part with it.
Stills of "The Last of Us"
Joel's younger brother, Tommy (Gabriel Luna), lives in a neighborhood of doomsday mythology. They call themselves a communist community, but in fact it is more like the ancient Greek democracy or the aristocratic republic of ancient Rome, governed by several committee members. The difference was that there were no slaves in the community, and everyone had citizenship and the right to vote. Joel and Ellie had a great few days here. But viewers still feel the danger. As a rule of thumb, a colder-than-usual winter, a swarm of powerful invaders, and a sudden explosion of a ghetto can all disintegrate this utopia, or push it toward totalitarian rule.
The Walking Dead, Mad Max, all the post-apocalyptic movies hate humans as a collective. The emergence of doom films is to vent dissatisfaction with the existing social system. Only after the doomsday comes, and there are only sporadic survivors left, will it be possible to destroy these systems logically, turn around and learn from the ancestors of mankind, and rebuild a "new" world.
Due to the limited social forms of early humans, it is difficult for screenwriters to go beyond reality and imagine more novel social forms out of thin air. Just destroy these first/last human settlements for the apocalyptic carnival.
But if there is only destruction and no hope, it will not look good if people are completely turned into animals. "The Last of Us" gave Joel and Ellie a goal and hope - the vaccine. In the last episode of the first season, Joel slaughtered most of the members of the firefly base, rescued Ellie on the operating table, and returned to his brother Tommy's community. After waking up, Ellie was dubious about Joel's lie, but at least she believed his statement verbally-"There are still many people like you (immune), but doctors can't find a way to make a vaccine. They give up."
Whether they want to think about it or not, the question of "is humanity/humanity worth saving" is thrown before Joel and Ellie. This question is not a problem for Joel, and Ellie's answer is not yet known.
Joel had already committed suicide once when his daughter died. Unfinished and living as a smuggler for another twenty years, he doesn't care about anyone other than his girlfriend Tess (Anna Torv) and his brother Tommy, and doesn't think humanity as a collective is worth saving. Kill Ellie (needed for making vaccines) in exchange for a chance to revive human civilization; or kill the person who wants to take Ellie's life, and protect her as best you can. Joel chose the latter without hesitation.
When Joel first appeared on the stage, because he only had an escort responsibility relationship with Ellie, he was more restrained when killing people. The two grow closer, until Joel sees Ellie as the embodiment of his dead daughter, and his violent nature is unleashed even more violently. Those lone wolf characters who are similar to him in the play will make the same choice as him without exception-to protect the ones they love, regardless of whether the torch of human civilization can be resumed.
Live only for the one you love, and don't care about others. This kind of idea that would be regarded as extremely selfish in peacetime becomes easy to accept when the Pandora's box of human evil is opened in the end.
Joel rescued Ellie without asking Ellie's wishes. The Firefly organization also did not tell Ellie the truth of the operation before the operation and gave her a chance to choose. If she knew that she would die, Ellie would choose to save everyone like Christ, or live by herself, which is still a mystery.
Screenshot of "The Last Survivor"
From the second half of the season, Ellie's light gradually brightened. Her violent heart is not inferior to Joel, and the mode of the journey has changed from Joel protecting her to mutual protection of two strong men. Although she was deprived of the power to choose this time, one day she will know the truth and make her own decision.
Bella Ramsey, who plays Allie, has the most credit for the show's success. The little girl looks like the concubine Yuan in the 87 version of "Dream of Red Mansions", a god, Buddha or fairy in a Buddhist grotto, but with broken eyebrows. Ramsay has a strange and clear appearance, and he is born to be the focus of the camera. She also acted well, almost without the restlessness and exaggeration of a young actor. She brings Ellie calmness and determination, and her lively and curious nature is often revealed naturally. In the play, she killed a "human" for the first time, a zombie that still looked like a human but bloomed with fungal flowers. Ellie stares at the zombie, and when we're not sure what she's going to do, Ellie slams a knife into the zombie's head. This feeling is like the shock brought by your lovely pet cat suddenly seeing the prey and completing ambush, jumping, and culling within a few seconds.
Pedro Pascal, who plays Joel, has always appeared as a tough guy, and his drama is mainly in his eyes. Ramsey catches his eye and gives a great response. If Pascal's main opponent is Anna Tove, who is similar to him, because of the lack of surprises, it can only reach a satisfactory level.
In the second season, when Ellie finds out that she is still a possible "savior", how will she choose? Of course, she won't die, but will she make another sacrifice to save the rest of humanity? Or, like Joel and other loners, he was finally disappointed with human civilization and determined to live as a free man in the last days. Will her "leadership in her body" make her the leader of a group? If so, is it possible for Ellie to create a different form of community? Here's what I'm looking forward to for season two.
Stills of "The Last of Us"