It’s a general rule of thumb that a video game more adaptation is usually an embarrassing and insulting affair. While a movie is never truly going to capture the development of narrative and character offered in many games, it can give a decent impression, given half the chance. After all, comic book movies are in a really good place right now.
If any movie was going to buck this trend, it was THE LAST OF US. Based on, rightfully dubbed, one of the greatest games of all time, with original game writer and creative director Neil Druckmann set to pen the script; it may just be okay to get excited.
Speaking to MCVUK, Druckmann revealed, ‘In two hours you can't tell the same kind of story that you can in a game like THE LAST OF US, which is 15 hours… I'm in the middle of it now, and it's been super difficult because there's so much that happens in THE LAST OF US – even just in the cinematics – that can't fit in a film, let alone all the gameplay in-between and dialogue.’
While the film, which is also being co-helmed by SPIDER-MAN's Sam Raimi, will retain Ellie and Joel’s core relationship, it’s likely to differ in other aspects. ‘It almost has this novel quality as far as how much content there is. And a film works really well when it's laser-focused, so the first part of it was like: well, what is this story really about? It's clearly about Joel and Ellie. What are the most important beats that we can't lose? Start with those, and cut everything else out. It's been really difficult to cut certain things out, but what I'm starting to get this is really focused narrative that's about these two characters. Some parts will be similar to the game and some parts will be quite different, but it's kind of interesting in helping me understand this other medium and its strengths compared to video games.’
Commenting on the notion that video games are a somehow inferior story-telling medium, Druckmann has said ‘I think it's just our perception,” he stated. “In many ways games surpass those other mediums.’
Film and game may very well be two different mediums, but THE LAST OF US might go a long way to help bridge that gap and usher in a higher standard for video game movies.
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