On a divided planet, conglomerates fight by the billions to recruit soldiers and chain them to their screens. It would be a good move for a sci-fi novel, but this is a brief overview of the forces that are shaking the world’s audiovisual world in 2023. Over the past five years, the co-emergence of Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+ and Co. “flux war” is wilder than bare-handed replicant fighting. Ultimate evidence, the rise of the HBO Max platform. Created in 2020 in the USA, the brainchild of the giant Warner Bros. Discovery will launch this year in Latin America and in Europe in 2024.
For more than twenty years, HBO series (The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, The Heirs…) have been considered the best in the world. In France, OCS has been broadcasting them since 2008 and the partnership ended at the end of 2022. While waiting for the arrival of HBO Max, who was going to distribute these gems in France? The news broke last Thursday: Prime Video is launching a Warner Pass that includes these series and twelve Warner Bros. Opening. Its price has not yet been announced, but it is in addition to the Prime Video subscription (6.99 euros per month). To pass the pill, the platform is including The Last of Us on this one and not on the Warner Pass.
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So this HBO adaptation of the PlayStation game of the same name is clearly the top loss. For the 37 million people who have bought the game since its release in 2013, that’s a lot more. Considered a masterpiece by the gaming press, the game takes place in the year 2033 in a post-apocalyptic world, twenty years after civilization was devastated by an epidemic. The evil is called cordyceps, an entomopathogenic fungus that turns people into zombie monsters. To make us shudder, the show decided to move its action to… 2023, not 2033. In the ruins of Boston, a survivor named Joel lives at times. Until the day he is trusted by Ellie, a 14-year-old teenager immune to infection…
Road movie horror
As the recent fiascos of Halo or Resident Evil have shown, adapting video games to television series is dangerous. While their visual identity is rich, the narrative material is often limited. In addition, their level sequence makes it difficult to write a smooth script that leaves room for the psychology of the characters. The Last of Us is freed from that straitjacket thanks to showrunner Craig Mazin (Chernobyl). The first episode is 1:20 long and takes time to introduce us to Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey).
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This terrifying road movie across the United States also explores the relationship between a father who lost his daughter and an orphan. It’s the perfect complement to successful action scenes highlighted by high-contrast lighting. So everything will turn out for the best in the best of the ruined worlds? That’s not counting the existence of a production that had little success: The Walking Dead. In eleven seasons, the AMC series has introduced us ad nauseam to virus-ravaged cities and the monsters that make humans their daily snack. Suddenly, even if The Last of Us is very well done, a harsh impression of déjà vu dominates. However, we trust the know-how of Craig Mazin, who over the course of nine episodes forges his personality into his being.
It won’t take long because the competition is churning out. Recycling of other best-selling video games will be announced in the coming months. The two most anticipated are Fallout and Assassin’s Creed. In the first, still on Prime Video, the Cold War aesthetic will be given to Westworld producers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. Secondly, it’s 200 million sales on Netflix. According to the Washington Post, the latter is currently trying to build an economic model that “creates synergy between what people watch and what they play.” He is as beautiful as Jean Baudrillard.
“Last of us”. Available on Prime Video. Every week a new episode.