Video game adaptations tend to have a reputation for being, well, terrible. But 2023 has proven to be the year that the ship might turn about. This is a cultural moment, a point in time in which a new helmsman has taken command and turned the hopeless vessel hard into the wind, and its bow is currently cutting through the waves in mid-turn. The cannons are thundering the double-shot salvo of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which is still in its theatrical run and has shattered multiple box-office records to become the highest-grossing film of the year, and HBO’s serialized adaptation of The Last of Us, a massive ratings success and a certifiable critical darling. 

The HBO adaptation of The Last of Us is religiously faithful to the source material. Much of the dialogue and even some of the camera angles are lifted straight from the game’s script. What has been expanded, however, are the backgrounds and stories of many of the side characters that Joel, played by Pedro Pascal, and Ellie, played by Bella Ramsey, meet on their trek across the United States. 

Suffice it to say, The Last of Us is a well-written and intelligently made series that more than earns its marks as a worthwhile video game adaptation. However, there is nothing here that warrants a status of “must-see” viewing among audiences of faith; in fact, the multiple same-sex relationships throughout the series make it difficult to recommend to Christian families, even those with older Christian children who could appreciate the subtleties in the storytelling.

This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with JOURNAL author Cole Burgett about his online article, “Finding Family Among The Last of Us” which discusses the video game and HBO TV series, The Last of Us.

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