Video Games: ‘The Last of Us’ Trailer Breakdown

Screenshot of Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in HBO Max’s ‘The Last of Us’. Copyright goes to Naughty Dog, PlayStation Productions, and Sony Pictures Television.

Hey! Hallie here!

I’m really behind on so many streaming shows right now. I have every intention of giving ‘Andor’ a shot but I haven’t had the time, and I’m slowly falling behind on ‘Rings of Power’. And yet, somehow, I’m here getting excited about yet another show that’s soon to be streaming. ‘The Last of Us’ is one of two horror games I’ve ever played, and it’s definitely more firmly in the horror genre of the two. I’m not a horror fan. I don’t watch horror movies or shows. The only way to get me to consume anything with the word “horror” attached to it, is to promise me that it isn’t the main theme of the content. But there really is no getting around the fact that ‘The Last of Us’ is mainly a zombie apocalypse story full of really terrifying monsters. So how the hell did I come to love this game so much? Joel and Ellie. I watched a few cutscenes from the game and these two characters instantly convinced me to dive into a genre I usually can’t deal with. Their odd opposite personalities and fun banter draws you in from the moment you meet them, and as the game goes on, the father/daughter relationship that grows between the two grabs your heart and refuses to let go. Match that with some incredible performances and you have two of the best characters in video game history. Like everyone else, I’m not certain how this is going to translate to the streaming screen. After all, ‘The Last of Us’ is an already detailed story with a lot of immersive elements you just can’t replicate in a series. But this new trailer is giving me a lot of hope. If you want to know nothing about this plot before going in, SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Trailer:

I’m going to go shot for shot because this trailer is already giving us a lot of recognizable scenes from the game as well as some Ellie backstory moments that we got in the DLC. At the very beginning of the trailer we start out in the quarantine zone Joel ends up in after the tragedy of losing his daughter. It’s a really amazing recreation of one of the first places you ever see in the game. From the signs that warn against the cordyceps infection and the curfew hours, to the anti-military graffiti on the walls done by the Fireflies, to the dreary brick buildings. From there we see part of Joel’s face but the camera cleverly shows us his broken watch on his wrist first. It’s such an important piece of the character that just that watch alone feels like a reassurance that they’re going to get Joel right. Next we switch over to Ellie, who’s tellingly staring at more of the Fireflies graffiti. What I find really interesting about this is that Ellie has a chain attached to her ankle. In the original game Ellie has no such precaution on her, making it even more of a shock when Joel later discovers that she was bitten but is immune. Is this an indication that Joel will know right away that she was infected? Or is this just Ellie before she meets Joel? We see one of her eyes as she looks out the window, but it then cuts away to the military monitoring the quarantine zone gate. As a light goes by we skip to Joel, Ellie, and Joel’s partner-in-crime Tess, played by Anna Torv, attempting to sneak past the military and exit the quarantine zone where they hope to meet up with the Fireflies. One of my favorite shots in this entire trailer is the cityscape in its state of disrepair, which looks exactly like the game come to life.

Next we see someone surveilling a few locations in front of four TVs. I’m not certain who this could be, but some have guessed that it might be Bill, who we do see later in the trailer. After a shot of Joel and Ellie in a field with the remnants of some sort of civilization in front of them, we see Joel, Ellie, and Tess waiting out some Clickers in what looks like the museum area. The sound of the Clickers are absolutely on point and terrifying. This scene is also the first time we fully see Pedro Pascal’s Joel and Bella Ramsey’s Ellie up close. Pascal looks so damn good as Joel. He’s already proven he can play a disgruntled, traumatized dad very well so I have no doubts he’ll completely blow us away with his Joel. I love Bella Ramsey’s Ellie as well. Some people are already sharing their hesitations with her, but I don’t agree. I think she looks so much like Ellie does in the game and there really is no way to tell if she’ll bring the same humor to the role until we watch it. From there we switch to an unfamiliar wintery bridge. In the game winter occurs while Joel is unconscious and Ellie ends up on her own for a long while. But here we see two people walking. Could the other person, unfortunately, be David? Afterwards we get quick shots of Joel in a city scape that’s directly from the game, and Ellie crying for a mysterious reason. Then we see Marlene, who is played by her voice actress Merle Danbridge! After that we get our first DLC material. It’s Ellie riding a carousel with Riley. I love the idea of bringing Ellie’s relationship with Riley, played by Storm Reid, more into the main plot! In our next shot we see Joel carrying his daughter, Sarah. Knowing her fate makes this moment really emotional, and the look of panic in Pedro’s eyes at the destruction around him really sells it.

After a brief shot of Joel with gun, we see Tess run behind a building looking beaten up. She looks alone here, which means this is also new! I’d also guess that Tess is the one speaking about it being their “last shot”, as Tess is the one to encourage Joel to take Ellie to the Fireflies. We briefly see Gabriel Luna’s Tommy in what appears to be the same sequence of Joel attempting to escape his home town while carrying his daughter. Then we see Nick Offerman as Bill apparently finding Joel in one of his traps. I’m very excited to see Nick Offerman in this. After that are a few more scenes I don’t recognize. One seems to be a flashback to before the apocalypse where a couple is having dinner. Maybe Joel and his ex? Or Ellie’s parents? Then we see Joel punching the shit out of someone with Ellie behind him. He looks to be getting out some rage, but what over we don’t know. We see Ellie crawling through a small space and then I was surprised to see Melanie Lynskey in this trailer! I really like her as an actress, and given that she’s still not listed as being in this show on IMDb, I’m very confused! Apparently she’s playing Kathleen, a new character who will be leading a resistance in Kansas City. After this surprising reveal is a mix of familiar battles from the game including Ellie with a gun, which may be later in the story given that it takes a while for Joel to allow Ellie a gun. We also see Joel running with Sarah, Tess in what looks like the scene of her death, Joel and Ellie being run off the road by hunters, and what looks like the scene where Joel comforts Ellie after she kills David in self defense. This scene is one of the most emotional scenes in the entire game and it looks like it’s being done justice by the actors. We also get shown a Clicker. Both disgusting and even better than I though it would look. Finally, we end with a cute close up of Joel and Ellie and a far-away shot of the two riding on their horse.

This trailer mainly gave us the characters and scenes we wanted to see. From what we saw it looks like we’ll be getting Ellie’s backstory with Riley alongside the main story events. It also looks like Tess will be given more to her story as well. She took up a surprising amount of the trailer for a character who doesn’t survive past one of the the opening sequences of the game. I would have liked to see more of Tommy and the community he builds with his wife, but he’s such a huge character that I can’t imagine them skipping out on him too much. We also didn’t really get to see the tragic brothers Henry and Sam, which is interesting. That said, every actor looks perfectly cast. The scenes and scenery they recreated from the game look perfectly done. There’s definitely more scenes in this trailer that feel like they’re exactly from the game than not, which does concern me that they’ll stick too closely to the game and not really justify this series’ existence. But there are new things here, especially new characters, that get me excited! I’ll be watching this from behind a pillow, but I really do want to watch this series now. Especially now that I know that Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson are apparently set up for cameo roles in two episodes! Hell yes!

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: