I sincerely believe there’s a good narrative hidden somewhere in the Left Behind series. A fan of rapture theology or not, the idea of an event where Christians are instantly transported to heaven has an air of intrigue to it. How will the world recover from the fallout? Even more so, how will those not taken live with the inevitable feeling of rejection? Then there’s the apocalyptic element; a window into a world tearing itself apart.
I walked into a screening of the new Nicolas Cage reboot with some optimism. I can honestly say, I wanted Left Behind to be a good movie.
But, it’s not.
In the end, the editors and I nixed a review I had planned for Christ and Pop Culture. We felt it was too difficult to cover the film exhaustively in a way that’s actually valuable, given the scores of negative pieces already out there.
I’ve had some friends ask me about the movie, so I’d thought I’d share a few thoughts on here in case anyone was wondering whether they should see the film or not. I hope you don’t think I’m being a film snob. Maybe I am a film snob, I don’t know. But, regardless, Left Behind is not very good.
Essentially, the film is a pretty bad TV movie with a few well-known stars attached. The plot, dialogue, and visuals are a mess. The chaos following the rapture looks more like Black Friday than anarchy. There’s no tension, no dread. And I don’t think anyone’s going to be picking up the film’s score in the near future.
The biggest problem, however, is the film’s presentation of Christianity. Rapture theology aside (some may agree with the film’s interpretation of Revelation, some may not), Left Behind fails to present a faith worth following. That is, unless you’re scared of being left behind.
As I walked out of the screening, I overheard two guys expressing disappointment in the story. A woman, obviously frustrated, said, “You know, it’s not about the movie. It’s about the message!” This made me think.
Does one have to give a piece of art a positive review just because it lines up with what they believe? Do Christians, who serve a creative God, have to force themselves to like bad movies? My answer is, no.
I apologize if I’ve come across too strong in this piece. It might be that I’m just cheap and want my $10 back.
And to think, if they would have just like Cage out of his cage, I would have probably enjoyed watching him go apocalyptic crazy on everyone.