When Naughty Dog introduced the VGA teaser trailer of the Last of Us with a short sequence of Joel and Ellie fighting their way whilst Ellie imagines how our life “must’ve been nice”, there was an instant trigger that immediately showed how much potential the Last of Us has. Beautiful cinematics, a suspenseful scene with the climax of the fight accompanied by a beautiful monologue … There was little reason to doubt it. However there are quite a view pressing issues as to why we could worry about how successfully the movie will portray the award winning game.
The progression of Joel and Ellie’s characterisation was absolutely engaging and constructed with a huge emotional impact, so much that you’d have to an emotionless android super-soldier to not break down in tears;The wonderful creative director Neil Druckmann is to thank for the plot-line, and with him being heavily integrated with the production of the movie, we can only assume that the movie is in safe hands. The movie itself has been described by Neil Druckmann as an “adaption of the story of The Last of Us”, which assumedly suggests that the same characters, or if not similar characters will be the main protagonists. Yet what then?
Will the adaption mimic the intense relationship between Joel and Ellie? … If it did would the end result be any similar?
Will there be an immune character again and the battle between the protagonists and the fireflies?
The endless possible list (which I shall refrain from mentioning due to spoilers) of both backstory and the actual plot-lines in the game were written and presented spectacularly, and there’s the question whether or not it will truly mimic the techniques or not.
Personally, I want them to do something original. Of course the relationship of Joel and Ellie is one of the vital successes in the game, do we really want to see a similar technique played all over again in a film and most likely less engaging?
Or do we really want the suspenseful final missions with Marlene and the fireflies and the protagonists outcomes repeated in a similar aspect?
What I’d really enjoy is a new perspective. Perhaps the adaption could still involve Joel and Ellie, but this time be placed with primary focus of Henry and Sam instead; as much as I loved the game, I doubt the movie could replicate the plot highlights of the game in an engaging way, which is why I’d prefer a new take on the plot.
Part of the reason I enjoyed playing this game was due to the amazing casting of The Last of Us. Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson are two amazing voice actors who really place a lot of emotion and humanises the characters. Despite their amazing work having Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson playing Joel and Ellie (considering if the movie does focus on these characters again) couldn’t possibly work out. The character models for Joel and Ellie worked in a way that Joel was the big ‘husky’ man who really seemed badass and that he’d lost everything, while Ellie was considerably younger than Ashley Johnson and the age difference would be jarring. Unfortunately these actors don’t suit the physical characteristics which the characters had in the game, and due to the perfection in the modelling I couldn’t imagine them looking any different. Despite this, there’s also the implication that big named Hollywood stars are needed to truly sell a film as a Blockbuster movie – an aspect which Troy Baker and Ashely Johnson are just unable to compete with.
Who could play Joel?
Of course, there’s the question of how meta you want the adaption to be and how much physical resemblance the characters of the film share with the characters of the game. An empire article questioned who could play Joel in the film, one which I’ve not only agreed with but also narrowed down into a simpler list. Hugh Jackman, Gerard Butler, Dylan Mcdermott and perhaps even Liam Nesson. Hugh Jackman and Gerard Buttler and perhaps even Dylan Mcdermott have the biggest physical similarities with Joel, but also have amazing acting skills. For example Hugh Jackman practically proved his parental dominance in ‘Prisoners’ and has had very engaging performances. Gerard Butler just has this style which I can considerably see as how Joel would talk and look. Dylan Mcdermott not only has the Hollywood gaze appearance like his opposition choices, but also proved a place in my heart in American Horror Story where his acting skills particularly shone for me.
Now, I’m not a particular fan of Liam Nesson and personally believe he may be slightly overrated; yet it’s evident that his name sells films alone, while his work in Taken and his ‘tough and gritty’ attitude presented in most of his films can particularly relate to Joel.
Who could play Ellie?
There is only one choice for me, there’s a huge amount of great child and teen actresses around, but who else could be the choice rather than the most obvious … Ellen Page!
Of course if you know just a little bit of information of the Last of Us, you’d recognise the similarity of Ellie and Ellen Page as-well as the tough tom-boy voice and such; Ellen Page herself has claimed that The Last of Us “ripped off” her “likeness”. The signing of Ellen Page would be a fantastic inside joke to the fans whilst her work being engaging enough for the newer audiences of the film.
Now of course my judgement shouldn’t count, and not only that presumably Ellen Page wouldn’t want to join the franchise of where her “likeness” was ripped off. Despite that if I could control the forces of the universe, I would definitely push for this casting to happen.
Expect the unexpected?
An adaptation has 3 viable options:
- Copy every / most traits of the original.
- Copy general plot, have unexpected twists.
- Completely new style with great homages and inside winks.
Why is this a problem then? Because we expect it. As for now we don’t even know the general plot of the film, however later on we’ll eventually learn so before the film is actually released. From that we’d then know whether the film complies in option 1, 2 or 3 and then expect certain situations and outcomes to happen. Some people do claim that the foreshadowing in The Last of Us made it easier for the gamers to expect the later outcomes, yet I & alongside many other gamers believe that the unexpected nature of the game made it all the more suspenseful and amazing. Would expecting the outcome of the film spoil the actual movie?
Why it won’t work:
Either outcome of the plot-line, fans will complain that there’s too much similarity or dissimilarity to the actual game and there will be a group of unhappy viewers. Also there’s the question as to whether the Actors selected are actually a decent choice and the nature of the film. There’s multiple conditions that can ‘make or break’ this film and that’s why I’m declaring that the film can’t work, on the assumption that the film is simply too hard to prefect; there’s the curse of Video Game movie adaptions, and the likelihood is that The Last of Us will follow it.
See the second side of the argument here: Maybe a Last of Us movie could work!