The last fan film of us is legitimately excellent
Joel and Ellie could be the main characters of The last of us, but these are by no means the only interesting ones. If you’ve played any of Naughty Dog’s acclaimed mushroom apocalypse games, you know that some of the richest stories are told in the margins. New fan film explores what it could be like to live in the world of The last of us without appearing on the art of the box.
Stay, released earlier this week, is a seven-minute film “inspired by The last of us. “Its creators are careful to point out that this is a fan-made, non-profit project entirely independent of Naughty Dog, Sony or the upcoming HBO adaptation. In fact, it was inspired by a piece of fan art itself: Concept artist Santiago Betancur 2015 mockup of two corpses kissing, a Clicker (it’s a stage three mushroom zombie), the other a human. The play is as magnificent as it is haunting. The same can be said of the film.
“We were inspired by the side stories found in the game. As a player, I felt like there were so many stories to be discovered from what humanity had left behind,” Stay writer and director Joshua Toonen, who also worked on visual effects Captain Marvel, Godzilla vs. Kong, and other blockbusters, have said Kotaku in an email. “I felt like it was a great opportunity to create our own story and show that each ‘infected’ has their own story that has not been told.”
Although Ellie appears in the opening and closing seconds, she only serves as a narrative framing device. Stay is really a love story about two characters: Sean, who sports similar dress tastes to Joel, and Emily, who looks nothing like Ellie. The couple want to see the Santa Monica Pier to get some saltwater air for a taste of normalcy. Yes, in the apocalypse, as in real life, we all give in to reckless desires.
“Romance is an integral part of the story of The last of us”Said Toonen. “Dina and Ellie’s relationship in [The Last of Us] Part 2 showed how important compassion and intimacy are in the post-epidemic world. Ultimately, we wanted to explore how far someone would go for the person they love.
It is clear that the team of 40 people behind Stay holds reverence for the source material. In one shot, Ellie is framed as she was in a promotional screenshot for The Last of Us Part 2, sitting on a bed, silhouette, leaning on a six ropes. And the value of the production is not to be sneezed at. Clickers sound like clickers; the action scenes are as tense as what you would see in a movie of zombies in the cinema. As far as fan projects go, it’s certainly at the level of this wonderful Unexplored fan movies from a few years ago. (Of course, this one had a little extra marketing oomph, with Nathan Fillion as Nathan Drake.)
Read more: Nathan Fillion tells us how awesome it is Unexplored Fan movie has arrived
But in video games, fan-made projects exist on shaky ground. This month, Ubisoft and MGM hit a recreation of it golden 007 completely redone in Far cry 5the level editor of. This situation, of course, is not a perfect parallel; the Golden eye remake actually included proprietary game code produced by Ubisoft and others, while Stay does not. Yet when you talk about billion dollar corporations that demand stringent message control, you can never be sure how long your project will survive in this cold, cruel, capitalist world.
“There is always that risk,” Toonen acknowledged, “But I hope they can see all the heart and care we have taken to bring their world to life.”