The Last of Us – 6 post-apocalyptic visions that inspired the game

4. The Road

The story of a father and son known only as the Man and the Boy, The Road might be the bleakest post-apocalyptic vision ever committed to film. Just like in The Last of Us, you can see every soul-staining experience the characters have been through in their bleary eyes, dirty faces and tattered clothes.

While we're actually hoping The Last of Us won't gaze as deeply into the abyss of bleakness as The Road, the survivors and the marauding scavengers they face have a lot in common. While Ellie isn't Joel's daughter, he does look after her in a very fatherly manner. Since we know that Joel was once a scavenger himself, this gives him a very different backstory and character arc from the Man, who's been looking after his son since disaster struck. Ellie, however, is a lot like the Boy. She's got some kindness left, some empathy. Her urge to help others would probably have gotten her killed if wasn't for the older, grimmer man looking after her. In both works, this pairing of grizzled protectiveness and sweet naivety begs the question: how far gone is the adult character, and is a child's innocence really something worth preserving in a world like this? 


  • ultimatepunchrod - June 28, 2012 12:07 p.m.

    The Road was one of the most depressing movies I have ever loved. All of these are good though.
  • GR Alex Roth - June 28, 2012 12:16 p.m.

    Yep, The Road is a real day ruiner. I'd really like someone to cut a trailer for it set to this song:
  • TheHowetzer - June 29, 2012 5:46 p.m.

    I am going to have to check out The Road, hope netflix has it. The dog dying was like hope itself had died. I think the movie was supposed to get worse after that point. Also yes I second the book of Eli for one you missed.
  • RedHarlow - June 28, 2012 12:20 p.m.

    The Road was fantastic, because it was so terribly depressing. The book was even more depressing (eating dead babies to survive, anyone?). I Am Legend was just a shit movie, it was a slap in the face to the novel. All they really have in common is a title.
  • MasterBhater - June 28, 2012 12:28 p.m.

    I thought I Am Legend was still a good movie, even though it didn't have much in common with the source material and the ending was a little weak
  • GR Alex Roth - June 28, 2012 12:40 p.m.

    For me, it was the scale of the movie that made it worth seeing. I felt like the story ran out of steam after *spoiler alert* the dog died.
  • BladedFalcon - June 28, 2012 1:55 p.m.

    Yeah, to me, that's also when the movie went downhill, specially with the appearance of those certain two people. Before that, i thought it was a fantastic movie with a great mood and setting. Also, i think it would also help if you guys watched the original, unaltered ending. Not the theatrical version. The original ending is closer to the one of the book, I think, and at any rate, it fit much better than the piece of shit savior ending they end up using.
  • Viron - June 28, 2012 4:26 p.m.

    The Novel wasn't that good to begin with.
  • JayQ - June 28, 2012 1 p.m.

    I liked "A boy and his dog" you can see where Fallout and Bioshock (especially infinite) got it's inspiration from. I Am Legend was decent but it would have been much better if they would have used the alternate ending where Will Smith didn't die and learned the "creatures" where intelligent.
  • GR Alex Roth - June 28, 2012 1:09 p.m.

    Agreed. And A Boy and His Dog is a total precursor to Mad Max as well, pretty sure I've heard the director say he likes it.
  • avantguardian - June 28, 2012 2:23 p.m.

    children of men is one of my favorite movies of all time. the technical achievements of the film could easily be missed. the two extended, single shot scenes are just INCREDIBLE. the car/bikes scene is one, and it's very well done, but the ending sequence running through the war-torn town, done all in one shot, is nothing short of mind-blowing. oh, and michael caine!
  • GR Alex Roth - June 28, 2012 2:54 p.m.

    Yes, it's incredible! Have you seen the rig they used to film the car scene? It's in this article: Also, Michael Caine listens to Radiohead! The. Best.
  • avantguardian - June 29, 2012 2:49 p.m.

    i hadn't seen that! thanks for the link!
  • BackwaterRifle - June 28, 2012 4:32 p.m.

    I am currently trying to obtain a PS3 for the sole purpose to play this game, as a post apocalyptic junkie and some one who resides in the great city of Pittsburgh, I am very excited for this game.
  • BackwaterRifle - June 28, 2012 4:37 p.m.

    And now that I reached the end of the article, I would say my favorite apocalypse is one in which Goverment collapses from lack of non renewable resources. Also this is probably the best article I've read on the site in a while, good work.
  • SentientSquidMachine - June 29, 2012 9:22 a.m.

    Having lived there myself for 2 years I had to laugh a little when I read about the whole nature taking back the city because you know, once you leave downtown the rest of the city is embedded in hills with foliage aplenty. More games should be located in Pittsburgh.
  • FierceVoltage - June 28, 2012 9:32 p.m.

    ZOMG Back to the old format thank you!!! I hated the new way of clicking through slides!
  • GR HollanderCooper - June 29, 2012 12:56 a.m.

    We only use it when it makes sense, and for stories with multiple images per page (like this) it really doesn't.
  • Rambo 11 - June 29, 2012 1:02 a.m.

    Thank you for mentioning Day of the Triffids, though the book is better than the film.
  • CitizenWolfie - June 29, 2012 2:09 a.m.

    Really glad you used the old format for this article. It seems the new style only has a few sentences to describe each slide whereas this was nice and in-depth. Great job. I'm even more excited for this game now considering I love 5 of those influences. I haven't seen Children of Men but I might pick it up after reading this article and seeing how highly other commenters rate it.

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