After singing songs of praise on the first part of this project, I am honestly not sure, what to write about the sequel. Because it is even better, badder.
I really don’t know where to start. As I wrote earlier I am a huge fan of the game (although I never played it myself). I mostly like it because of the atmosphere, that the game designers established.
And exactly this atmosphere is also captured by director Sy Cody White. The camera work is incredible. White surely has an eye for the details. He creates a dense atmosphere with a hint of dystopia. The chosen locations do their part as well.
As you start watching the film, you definitely realize, that this is the work of complete pros. Music, sounds, photography – all fits together most perfectly.
The sounds are often so realistic, that I got goosebumps from the hauling and clicking of Runners and Clickers.
In the first part of the movie the most frightening creature was a Clicker. But in the second part this job is surely taken over by the Bloater. The design is pretty awesome and pretty close to the original. It’s spectacular, how he frightened me. I almost died of fear and the intensity of the fighting scene – I even feared for Joel’s life for a moment. 🙂
All other fighting scenes were intense as well, no matter if Joel, Bill or Ellie was involved.
This brings me directly to the portrayal of the three main characters.
I’ll start with Gary Marachek portraying Bill, because he’s the new one – or as he himself put it: “the new kid on the block”.
I have to admit, that I was very skeptical at first, because it is always difficult to fit a new character in. Especially, when the team already consists of a perfect match. But hey! Gary Marachek portrays Bill as if he’d never done anything else. He is Bill with all of his characteristics. He is the lone survivor, the lone wolf in a world struck by disaster. An independent man, needing nobody. And definitely a bit weird by spending all this time by himself.
What I liked most about Maracheks portrayal of Bill was the fine emotional side of his character, that he displays brilliantly in a moment of complete sadness and despair. Marachek shows, that Bill has suffered to get, where he is and that he can not allow himself to let himself go to survive in this hostile environment.
Only when his former friend dies, he shows his actual emotional state. That he is tired, tired of life and full of sadness. Emphasized by him closing his partners eyes.
But Marachek also manages to play the freaky Bill, setting up traps and blowing up Infected.
Ellie is once again played by Kate Sutherlin McLeod. As well as the character in the game, the movie character Ellie also develops and adjusts. She still is in need of a bit normality, prettily displayed in the scene in the woods. But she has also grown into her part, fleeing and running, fighting and never giving up.
I absolutely loved, that McLeod gave her a cheekier note, a self-confident appearance (especially when it comes to facing Bill). 🙂
Jeff Moffitt’s portrayal of Joel is brilliant again. He still is the unsung hero, the lonesome cowboy, always aware of his past, never too sure of the future. He – like Bill – is a man, who can’t afford to let his feelings show or to let anyone get close to him. Too dark are his secrets, too demanding the thoughts of his past.
But he definitely lets Ellie get closer to him, opening up and accepting her as ‘his’ child.
One of the things I liked most about the sequel was the relationship between Joel and Ellie. It is evolving, turning from a business to a personal one, exquisitely shown through little scenes like Joel encouraging Ellie or watching her sleep with a caring look on his face.
To sum it up: all departments, all components of this movie work so well together, that the only negative point is, that it ends after 28 minutes. I could have watched it for hours. 🙂
Oh, totally forgot about this: the Make-Up. It’s stunning, what Melissa Folger made everyone look like. Some of the Infected look so creepy and realistic, that I can’t even imagine how they look like in real life.
Of course credit goes out to the Infected as well. Really good job. Once in a lifetime it’s good to look creepy (with Make-Up, tinted contact lenses). Hope you enjoyed it. 🙂
Actually this review is another praise of Iron Horse Cinema Productions, but I don’t regret it. At all.
I personally think people, who work for their dreams and end up with a result like this, can’t be encouraged enough for carrying on.
I hope we’ll get to see more of these talented guys in the future. Not only as they might bring back Joel and Ellie for a third part, but also realizing their original projects like Kingdom Come, whose teaser trailer is featured at the end of The Last of Us Fan Film Sequel.
Thank you, Jeff, Sy and everyone else involved for bringing this brilliant piece of independent film to a (hopefully) broad audience.
If you, my dearest reader, also enjoyed the movie and would like to support the next part of it, feel free to contribute to their next Indiegogo Campaign. I hope the funding goal will be reached, cause as Ellie said: “I hate cliffhangers.”
You can also visit the The Last of Us Fan Film page on Facebook for news, information and pictures of the project.
P.S.: Did I mention, that as an Indiegogo supporter my name was displayed in the credits? 😉
Credits is a good keyword. 🙂
Here’s to everyone involved (I’m sorry, that I did not mention every single one of you in the review, but at least I can mention you all at the end, the credits of the review 🙂 ):
Joel: Jeff Moffitt
Ellie: Kate Sutherlin McLeod
Bill: Gary Marachek
Frank: Daniel Berkey
Runners / Infected:
Ian Petersen, Christine Paolino, Loren Giron, Kele Mogotsi, Jessica Ruane, Maximilian Zammit, John Fuentes, Felix Rentas
Jeffrey Feller, Sabar Banks, David Christ, Warren Schoepfer, Maximilian Zammit
Directed by: Sy Cody White
Assistant Directors: Mike Sgroi, Mike Magilnick
Executive Producer: Jeff Moffitt
Assistant Executive Producers: Stacey Minero, Jason T. Anderson, Rafael Montero
Producers: Sy Cody White, Jason Lee Hess
Script Supervisors: Erika Mariani, Karen Vana Grecco
Still Photography: Eugene Lin
FX Coordinator / Make-Up: Melissa Folger
Bloater Design: Jeff Moffitt
Props: Jeff Moffitt, Jason Lee Hess, Joe Arminio
Set Designer / Technical Supervisor: Jose Grafals
PA / Sound / Light technician / Prop Handlers: Jose Grafals, Mike Magilnick, Mike Sgroi, Loren Giron, Mark Alessio, Donna Gilmore, Karen Vana Grecco
Locations: Jeff Moffitt, Sy Cody White