Review: The Last Of Us (HBO Max)

Brandon’s Entertainment Review:

The Last Of Us

Drama series on HBO Max

Admittedly, I was reluctant and refused to buy into the hype of The Last Of Us.  Hollywood is really good at jumping on subject matter that is unoriginal and re-booting or revamping everything it can get its hands on for a cash grab.  HBO has been hit or miss with its original programming… I love The Righteous Gemstones, Barry and True Detective… but I refuse to watch Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon or the outright overrated Succession.  Another reason why I didn’t jump in to watching the Last Of Us until after 4 episodes had been released was because a show based on a video game isn’t something that grabs my interest.  On the other hand, modern video games are incredibly cinematic in nature and, if done right, can pull off being a great show.  The Last Of Us is just that, a GREAT show!  I had never played the video game, but after watching the first episode, I downloaded the game with the intention to play along while I watched the show to see how close it was.  The show runners didn’t stray far from the gameplay, in fact there are many scenes that are practically identical.  This doesn’t take away from how riveting the show is as the dramatization of this video game lends for outstanding character development and depth.

The premise is a simple one.  After a global pandemic destroys civilization, a hardened survivor takes charge of a 14-year-old girl who may be humanity’s last hope. Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) and Bella Ramsey (HBO’s His Dark Materials and Game of Thrones) star as Joel and Ellie.  In one night, an outbreak of a mutant Cordyceps fungus ravages the United States, transforming its human hosts into cannibalistic monsters.  The infected are ravenous and with a single bite can infect another.  After the initial outbreak, about 20 years goes by and there are quarantine zones occupying small areas around the country in major cities.  There is a military order (Fedra) that controls these quarantine zones.  There is also a rebel group called the Fireflies that defies the government/military order and seeks to free those from control and ultimately find a cure for the infected.  This is where Joel and Ellie’s journey comes into play.

The Last Of Us is a visually stunning show.  I liken it to the show Yellowstone where almost every single shot displays the natural beauty of our country.  Although, it’s not the vast landscapes of Montana, rather it is the entire country overrun by mother nature, taking over all of the man made terrain in a dystopian future.

What really got me to finally give The Last Of Us a chance was all of the reports on Episode 3, which stars one of my personal favorite actors Nick Offerman.  He plays a survivalist named Bill (or doomsday prepper) who manages to avoid being rounded up by Fedra and borders up his small town creating his own version of a quarantine zone.  One day, a lone man falls into one of Bill’s traps outside of his perimeter.  This man, Frank, is not infected and is just trying to pass through to find a safe place to survive.  Reluctantly, Bill allows Frank to stay after freeing him from the trap.  Unbeknownst to each other, Bill and Frank are both homosexuals and they end up having an incredibly beautiful and heart wrenching post-apocalyptic romance in this episode.

At the time of this review, we are only 6 episodes in, and I look forward to a new episode each week.  The hype is real!  Thumbs up!

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