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Well this is odd. I had planned to make a post on video game movies and now The Last of Us has been announced as being turned into a movie. Perfect timing I guess. And my reaction to that is…well I’m kind of terrified. Don’t get me wrong; I totally want people to experience The Last of Us. Everyone should. It’s by far one of my favorite pieces of art ever, not just video games. I do wish that people would spend the time to learn video games and play them because The Last of Us is meant to be a video game and nothing else. And right there is the issue with video game movies. They were never meant to be movies especially considering how unique video games are to any other medium, that interaction with the controller is just as important as the writing, gameplay, acting, whatever. It’s as crucial especially for something like The Last of Us where the interaction makes you feel like Joel, it makes you feel the tension he feels and it makes you feel even more so for Ellie.
Beyond that, it’s hard for me to imagine anyone but Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker playing their respective roles, they are both too perfect, especially Ashley, I have my doubts that any other actress could get Ellie’s quirks down as well as her, especially considering the character is apart of her and not just Neil Druckmann’s writing and direction. Speaking of Neil, I would love for him to direct the movie but I realize that probably won’t happen considering he is probably going to be busy with another project at Naughty Dog relatively soon I’m sure. Overall, I just can’t imagine other people taking the reigns of this story and crunching it down into a shorter time frame, it was meant to be a 15-20 hour experience and that makes the whole thing feel weird to me. I hope (as that is all I can do) that they make something really amazing for everyone to experience (not just the fans of the game) in a 2-3 hour span.
The whole video games movie issue is still very strange to me. My overall preference is that we just not make them. There isn’t a reason to make them besides money and more exposure for people who otherwise wouldn’t play games. It feels cheap and somewhat like selling out. I’m still waiting for the day when people pick up and play games just like they might read a book or watch a movie but I fear that day will never happen because of the barrier of entry that video games has. It has a learning curve even for the simplest of games where as a movie or book has it all there for them, the audience doesn’t have to do a single thing to make the experience move forward. Overall, the only real reason for video game movies existence (besides money) is for games to get more exposure to a wider audience which I’m personally okay with IF it is adapted well which is the real issue, how does one adapt such a unique experience into a much, much shorter experience? The unfortunate answer: it’s near impossible. I wish I had a better answer.