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‘Fallout’ – Review

‘Fallout’ – Review

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For streaming series that deliver on a massive scale, being fearless in pushing the envelope, Prime Video is the place to be. And one of 2023’s most anticipated series, Fallout, has now arrived on the platform. It brings wild and crazy new sci-fi energy to the screen as the classic video game series gets the adaptation treatment, and you’ll be utterly amazed at what awaits in a world gone to hell.

Fallout depicts the aftermath of an apocalyptic nuclear exchange in an alternate history of Earth where advances in nuclear technology after WWII led to the emergence of a retrofuturistic society and a subsequent resource war. The survivors took refuge in fallout bunkers known as Vaults, built to preserve humanity in the event of nuclear annihilation. 219 years later, a young woman leaves behind her home in Vault 33 to venture out into the dangerously brutal, hostile, savage and unforgiving Wasteland of a devastated Los Angeles.

Shepherding this adaptation are showrunners Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Graham Wagner, who, in association with Jonathan Nolan, the younger brother of Christopher Nolan and a celebrated creative, the trio goes to town with Fallout. And the results are just WHOA! Nolan, Robertson-Dworet and Graham Wagner have a deft ability to handle complex and layered narratives that swirl together multiple stories, sub-plots and characters, all while keeping the audience guessing, and that’s exactly the level of focus of Fallout. Nolan turned the volume up on the science-fiction genre with his work on Westworld, and here in Fallout, he brings the same level of focus and commitment to building out a massively diverse and outrageous science-fiction world while also moving deeply into the forces that make his lead characters tick. The trio throws a lot at their audiences in these first few episodes, and he promises to deliver something awe-inspiring, packed out with twists and turns and convolutions that will only grow as we move further into the series’ events.

The idea of perspective is key to the story of Fallout, and three distinctive personalities are at the heart of this series. Lined up as the series’ central character is Ella Purnell as the chirpy, happy-go-lucky, awe-shucks Lucy MacLean, a young vault dweller from Vault 33, who has lived a sheltered existence away from the radiated surface of a world gone to hell, but who must embark into a strange new world she could never have comprehended. Purnell’s performance in these first few episodes is utterly priceless, and she is someone who ‘stands out’ in this world gone nuclear. Purnell’s reactions and quick wit are very fun to watch, and her naivety in this wasteland leads to plenty of funny moments in these first few episodes, but at the core is the idea of change and growth with her character, and she’s about to go through a lot of it with this series.

Providing a different perspective and backup in the series is young newcomer Aaron Moten as Maximus, a squire of the Brotherhood of Steel. He’s a young man desperate to prove himself through somewhat duplicitous actions, and he soon learns that appearances and legacies aren’t always as they appear to be. And then there’s Walton Goggins, the always utter scene-stealing performer who brings it with his dual performance as The Ghoul/Cooper Howard. This multi-layered role both sees Goggins as a bloodthirsty mutant bounty hunter who literally takes no prisoners and Cooper Howard, a Gene Autry-style cowboy actor and WWII veteran living in an atomic-future 1950s who is a witness to the events that led to the horrors at the heart of this series. There’s plenty of genre and scenery for Goggins to play with in Fallout. And boy, does he.

The experience of Fallout is just a straight-up epic experience, and its scope and magnitude are massive. This series exists entirely in its own universe, and it is utterly wild and unbelievable in equal measure. The production value on display is off-the-chain. Prime Video has spared no expense in realising the world and potential of Fallout to its fullest, and it promises a new vision of the post-apocalyptic genre that will leave your eyes wide open with excitement.

Audiences who already share a familiarity with Prime Video’s flagship series, The Boys, will be well up for this new series, and Fallout is almost a ‘kindred spirit’ to Prime’s other cult series. And while the Fallout series has a 25-year history that it is bringing to the table in this new adaptation, both gaming veterans and those who are brand new to its nuked world will easily adapt to it and look upon its story in wonder. Fallout also delivers a wicked balance between a gore-fest of excessively bloody violence and a hilarious, and at times, over-the-top and inappropriate humour that only adds to the fun on display. Through all of it, narrative, scenery, texture, comedy and over-the-top action, audiences are given a unique mix of genre and style, and all of it just screams YES in the biggest voice possible.

We’re only at the start of Fallout, but this is far and away one of the most exciting debuts of the entire year. A deadly and dangerous conspiracy, from both the past and present, lies at the heart of the series, and a whole bunch of murder and mayhem is sure to follow it. The end of the world isn’t what it used to be, and Fallout will be your rollercoaster ride through it.

Image: Prime Video