Since like, forever, I’ve loved movies. And pretty much the same time, I’ve loved videogames. There’s a huge difference between them, but long time ago, people have tried to get them along in both ways: take the game to the big screen, or grab a movie and put it in a console. History has given us a few (or more than a few) examples on how to blow it up, it cross to my mind that horrible Super Mario Bros movie, it makes me sad just to remember. Tomb Raider wasn’t that bad at all but not quite as perfect as the games. Going the opposite way, any Avenger’s game is awful: Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man. Grosse. Oh my god! Men In Black.
So, taking that step, no matter which side you are, is gigantic. It is not an easy choice despite all those videogames and movies made without truly awareness of the size of the leap. And this is well known for Naughty Dog.
Last week I got shocked with the news about The Last of Us movie. I never thought about writing an article about my feelings for that Neil Druckmann’s twit, because I said to myself: Who wouldn’t want to watch a movie of this game? Well, as long as time passed by and I could think over and over again, I realize how wrong I was, I mean, it isn’t like everyone in the world know this game, in fact, if we compare the population who played TLOU against just the gamer nation, the first one gets short in numbers.
Naughty Dog decided to launch The Last of Us just for PlayStation 3 consoles, and of course, Left Behind, the chapter that narrates the story before original game, plays in this system. So, those who haven’t it, probably never be able to feel everything we, the players, did.
Today I’m not going to talk about how great The Last Of Us is, or how to play it, or not even say how badly you must go and buy it. I think all of these have been told countless times. Today, as a huge fan of the game, and movie lover, I’m going to explain why the world need a movie based on The Last Of Us game.
Great movies not only have the best actors, or special effects; they are made out of high quality scripts. The writers with a true commitment to their audience, reflects every character’s feelings, on text. And the hard part is to understand it and acting it. It’s a job of several people, including director, producer, actor, camera man, editor, etc.
What happens when your character has a human voice, and a body made of pixels? Well, it might get difficult to express the sensations with this lack of human factor. The Last of Us surpassed this difficulty and showed us a man and a girl with enough flesh and blood. I remember the first time I finished the game, and as days passed, I miss that couple: miss the escapes, the riddles, their games, the long walks. But most of all, I missed the talks, how they hate each other at the beginning, the respect they started to feel, their memories, the sacrifices, and at the end, the selfishness.
So, if this one game made me feel that way, I can’t imagine how a pair of humans would make me experiment. The best stories make the best movies, right? I loved Casablanca, and like many others, I think is one of the greatest romantic movies. Nowadays there are several great productions, but Casablanca remains at the top, thanks to the story.
The Last Of Us isn't the best game of the generation for nothing. I’m putting away the technical resources like playability, engineering, sound and edition. I’m talking about the entire script: a grown man and woman who take care of a 13 years old girl, in a journey across United States, in order to receive guns and ammo for this particular favor. It sounds simple and at first sight, I thought this is going to be boring. The one and only thing that catch me at the beginning, was the fact that I was going to fight zombies (or at least I thought).
As I walk through the game, my priority was to survive, no matter what, I had to survive by killing and having fun. Because “having fun” is the objective of a game. Well, this one isn’t that fun. The Last Of Us tell a story without caring about the joy and excitement of the gamer, it makes us to continue fighting every minute to find out what’s next. Because saving Ellie, turns out a great cause, a just cause. Neil Druckman and Bruce Straley wrote a script beyond the game, they achieve to makes us fall in love with not only a character, but a feeling and a quest, a quest for discover the meaning of what is “a world” for everyone. And they did it twice: the original game, and the DLC.
Both of them finished in a very different way, in fact, one path leads to another, and this is because Left Behind is the story before Ellie and Joel meet. It is rare how Riley, Ellie’s former friend, and a firefly, hides her commitment to the group in order to expose her feelings and enjoy the world as it is then, with her true friend, and the one person she wants to spend the rest of her life, once again, her “world”.
Now, seeing the last chapter in The Last Of Us, fortunately we see Joel and Ellie in peace, like the father-daughter relationship type we expect the entire game, with confidence, but more important, with the fact that he wants her at his side, at all time. Remember, this isn’t a love story, but Joel makes everything at his hands to show how weird love can be. And once again, Ellie becomes “the world” of someone else. Capturing the essence of this, and translate it to the gamer with a bunch of gunshots, explosions, enemies and a great content of action, this my dearest readers, is one the main reasons to make a movie out of this great story.
I’m not well aware of Druckmann’s thoughts. I’m aware of his work, his legacy in this industry, and I put my hands to the fire about one thing: production.
Unfortunately, though years, videogames studios have sold their rights to any movie company, and by “selling” I refer to names, logos, ideas, weapons, villains, story, and many more things. The guys at movies decide what they want to write, film, edit and show. The problem isn’t at the choices made, it’s in who decide those. People are interested in the profit, the merchandise, the money, and they never stop to think what could be the best for the saga, the game, and obviously, the gamers. We, the people playing a videogame, never want to see an adaptation, or a movie about how the director or producers perceive the environment of the game.
Here it comes my second reason. Druckmann and Straley belong to the production team. Awesome.
Creative director of The Last Of Us, master mind behind the game and writer Neil Druckmann, knows exactly what he wants, what the movie will need, what the world of TLOU embraces: situation, characters, nature of the dialogues, the fungus, the runners and clickers, everything. It’s his baby, sort of.
The Last Of Us set a standard in storytelling, animation, art direction, playability, sound and music in the industry. Its quality is at the top level in 2013, and I’m not afraid to say, it’s at the top in the generation of consoles. When you find someone who put that amount of energy and dedication to a game, you know it won’t be different in a movie. I mean, with all the awards won by The Last Of Us team, “success” is one of the best words to describe it, reason enough to believe in the imminent success at the big screen.
I can be sure of Druckmann never letting others to destroy the hard work of 5-6 years. I expect nothing less than respect and consistency of all elements. Or it is accord to the game and the whole idea, or it is nothing. Period.
Every year, thousands of movies are published, and literally millions of people go to the theater and watch hours of films expecting the next great story, the next classic or the one that wins it all. People find in the movies, something to relate with, like a place, an actor, or a phrase, something tiny or big, capable of make them feel like nothing else, or something to identify themselves.
The world needs a movie about The Last Of Us because it has all of this, because in times without hope, faith in ourselves is the one thing that can save any life, not just ours, but a friend’s, daughter’s, Ellie’s.
I’ll wait as long as the casting, filming, editing and post-production takes to watch one of my favorite games of all time, in theaters. I’m sure I’ll see it tons of times trying to find that detail I missed the last time, and the last and the last till I’m fully satisfied. And because I expected a little with the game, and got the best, now I know I’ll get the greatest.