Fallout review – a wild Wasteland safari where naive optimism meets gory mayhem

April 10, 2024
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Boom time: whether by accident or design, the Fallout TV show – announced in 2020 and arriving in a binge-ready eight-episode payload this week – is launching at an auspicious moment. After the mushrooming success of HBO’s The Last of Us, screen adaptations of video games have never been hotter or more respectable. Similarly, the lingering impact of Oppenheimer, now forever glowing with Oscar acclaim, means the world has had atomic bombs on the brain since last summer.

But transferring Fallout’s hardscrabble post-nuclear pleasures to the small screen presents a problem similar to Fallout inventory management. With such an abundance of material and only so much capacity, what do you keep and what do you throw away? The good news is that the Prime Video adaptation cannily lifts the franchise’s road-tested production design – refined over the course of six core titles spanning two decades – completely wholesale.

Of course they were going to keep the snazzy blue jumpsuits, hulking Brotherhood of Steel power armour and the vast, clanking, cog-shaped Vault doors that resemble a particularly intimidating Early Learning Centre playset teaching toddlers how gears work. Those are all cool as hell. But there are other visual callbacks to the games in practically every frame of this deluxe Prime Video adaptation, from Nuka-Cola bottle caps to the strangely comforting sight of two-headed Brahmin cows.

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