As many of you I am sure are well acquainted with with Left Behind books, and perhaps even the older movie with Kirk Cameron, I am departing from my original reviewing structure, and giving general thoughts on the film as a whole.
Funded by an independent Canadian filmmaker, Nicholas Cage returns as Rayford in the classic story of those Left Behind from the theoretical Rapture of Christ. Chloe and Buck Williams return too, dressed up and better acted, this trio takes stage in the beginning of the end of the world.
The premise is pretty much the same in terms of story. Christians are crazy, the Rapture happens, and things fall to pieces. All of this is drawn out as long as possible it seems in this film. And hey, 30 min into the movie and we are still being told how wacko Christians are and how sensible Chloe and Buck are. Unlike the book, which dwelt on this in the first few chapters, the entire film spans just a bit of the book, dramatized to the core with cliche bible shots and awkward conversations about “Believing” (though, never specified as to what to believe.) Overall, I have to say the original film trumps this one when it comes to telling a story. Yes, the acting is painful at times, but at least there is progression of plot.
Content-wise, it is clear hollywood has gotten its fingers in the film. Multiple closeups of a stewardess’s perfect form and legs, Chloe’s midriff baring and cleavage showing clothes, and other shots gratify the apparently obligatory sensualization of the female form. Some minimal innuendo find their place in the film as well.
Even in the midst of the poor dragging plot, perhaps the absolute worst part of this film is the cloudy and watered down message as to what exactly is means “to believe”. Sure, we are told that Christianity isn’t as crazy as it seems, but the movie never really explains what Christianity is. Now, I definitely understand that an “altar call” is not necessary in every Christian film. For one as specific as this though, one would definitely helped clear the waters. Instead of this though, we get passing glimpses of the bible, and no true examples of conversion. Chloe and Buck don’t really seem that phased by the end of the world- boy are they in love though.
All of this to say, the redeeming factor in the movie is the absolute terribleness of the second coming for those not in Christ. Regardless of one’s eschatological views (Fancy word for “View of Christ’s Return”), we can agree that if you aren’t saved when Christ comes back, you’re in trouble. This alone, IMO, did not redeem the film as a whole, but is certainly the main message. Which leads me to my conclusion…
Of all the topics in the world of Christendom, few have gotten more films dedicated to them than that of eschatology. And few more in the world of Eschatology than the “Left Behind” series. In the long line of just badly done films, I have to say this is one of the worst of the Left Behind lot. This 2014 remake is quite simply a better acted, more drawn out, and watered down version of the original- which wasn’t that great by its own right. Left Behind does not come across as a uplifting call to grace, but rather a fear mongering, fire insurance faith which results in a implicit flawed view not only of our trinity, but of the gospel itself.