The Last of Us: Remastered has finally been released, so now we can all start anxiously waiting for the movie version to be released. While it’s still in the early stages of production, there are some things that we obviously would like to see from the movie, so let’s get them out there so the studios can take note… or, more likely, ignore them.
Get the Casting Right
Let’s start off with the obvious one. The casting of the movie will be integral to translating the moving story of the game to the movie adaptation. Right now, Maisie Williams is in talk to play Ellie (if you don’t know who that is, hang your head in shame) which seems like a step in the right direction. I’m not going to reiterate casting choices for Joel that have been made a million times but I will reiterate how necessary it is that it be the right man for the job. Without a good duo of Joel and Ellie, you’re going to lose pretty much the whole point of adapting it.
Don’t Make it PG-13
Can you imagine playing TLOU and not blowing clickers heads off? Or not stabbing a hunter in the neck with a shiv? Or a non-potty mouthed Ellie? That’s what a PG-13 Last of Us movie would be like. Translation: not good. Keep it a hard R where Ellie can cuss her face off, there can be buckets of blood and maybe a hunter can get cut in half by a shotgun blast like you can do in the game. Yeah, that’s more like it!
Keep the Action to a Minimum
That may come off sounding odd but I really don’t want this adaptation to fall into the same traps that so many other game adaptations have. See, Hollywood has this weird notion about gamers that the sole reason we play games is action purposes. So, when they adapt a game to the screen, they slather on as much jarring and out of place action as possible, completely ignoring story, characters or even good acting. That’s how the Resident Evil film franchise happened. One of the best parts of TLOU is the anxiety inducing tension that sneaking around squads of enemies and the panic that the actual action scenes inevitably brings. If you don’t use that, you’re going to end with an overblown piece of garbage like Max Payne. Focus on the suspense, bringing the story to life and developing the characters and not on how big of a body count you can rack up and the movie will turn out fine.
Is it right? Is it wrong? Don’t tell me!
One of the things that I liked so much about TLOU is that they never told you what’s right or wrong, it was all about survival and the lengths you would go to for it. Whether it’s Joel telling Ellie that the hunters aren’t bad right after killing a dozen of them right down to the controversial ending, it walked the fine line of moral ambiguity. So, the worst thing you could do in the film adaptation is do what movies love to do and tell you what’s right and what’s wrong. Hollywood has this annoying penchant to give people comeuppance for wrongdoing, even if it doesn’t fit with the story. The last thing I want is for someone to try to give Joel ‘what’s coming to him’ for all the people he kills. Keep your personal opinion to yourself and just tell the story that’s there without your obnoxious slant on it.
Give it a New Ending (Excuse Me While I Duck and Cover!)
I know I’m bordering on blasphemy here, but hear me out. One of the major themes in the game is ‘survival at all costs’. Joel’s entire life is all about survival but as the game progresses, it becomes all about Ellie (there’s even a trophy named after it). Joel literally destroys humanities last chance at finding a cure because he needs to save his replacement daughter, Ellie, the way he couldn’t save his real daughter, Sarah. So, what about if the film makers kept that theme, but things didn’t play out in Joel’s favour? There’s a bunch of alternatives to suggest, but I thought that the best one would be if Ellie learned all the lessons Joel has taught over the time they’ve spent together and kills Joel herself, knowing he would never let the Fireflies kill her to find the cure. It fits with the themes of survival at all costs; it’s just that Ellie believes more in the survival of humanity as a whole then just in her own personal survival. It also makes Ellie even more bad ass then she already is. Also, it would shock audiences and give us a bleak ending for our characters to match the bleak world they’ve fought through, but with a ray of hope at the end. Somehow, the main characters not making it seems to be the happiest ending possible.