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HBO’s The Last of Us Reviews Hail It the Best Video Game Adaptation Yet

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The reviews for HBO’s adaptation of The Last of Us are in and the critics universally agree the series has broken the video game adaptation curse.

The reviews for HBO’s adaptation of The Last of Us are in and the critics adore Joel and Ellie’s live-action adventure.

As the critics share their thoughts on the highly-anticipated series, many claim The Last of Us manages to succeed where other movies and series based on video games have failed. Writing for Collider, Ross Bonaime notes that the show manages to capture the “beauty and power” that made Naughty Dog’s source material so captivating. “The Last of Us is a monumental success, and in this universe of incredible darkness, [writer Craig Mazin] and [director Neil Druckmann] show us the light that makes this story so powerful,” reads Bonaime’s review.

Related: The Last of Us Co-Creator Says the Series Does the Game Justice – And Then Some

The Hollywood Reporter critic Daniel Fienberg shared these sentiments, describing The Last of Us as the best video game adaptation ever made for the screen. They further praise stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, noting that their characterizations of protagonists Joel and Ellie will be familiar to fans of the game while still implementing new angles to the survivors. Variety’s Daniel D’Addario also praised the dynamic of the two leads but wrote that the extended focus on their pairing forces the series to skip over the details of their world and environment. “I hope, in seasons to come, to see still more of the world beyond our heroes’ relationship,” writes D’Addario.

The World of The Last of Us

The Last of Us is set in a post-apocalyptic world devastated by the Cordyceps, a fungus that manages to mutate and gain the ability to take over humans, turning them into zombie-like infected. Joel, a smuggler working to merely survive, is tasked with escorting young Ellie across the United States on a mission that brings them face-to-face with blood-thirsty raiders, hostile weather conditions and terrifying monsters known as “Clickers.”

Related: The Last of Us Showrunners Share the Beauty & Challenges of Adapting the Hit Game

While Naughty Dog’s game is renowned for its story and characters, many players were excited to see how HBO’s show managed to capture the brutality of the world. Co-creator Druckmann noted that a great deal of the source material’s violence was removed from the series in an effort to make those moments when it used to stand out more. “That allowed the violence to have even more impact than in the game, because when you hold on showing the threat and you’re seeing people’s reaction to a threat, that makes it scarier,” Druckmann said.

The Last of Us premieres on HBO and HBO Max on Jan. 15.

Source: Collider, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter

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