Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Totally wrong tone.
I’ve seen a lot of Christian films, and they almost all have flaws as far as filmmaking goes, but I can’t say I’ve actually ever seen a remake – but to be honest, I understand the desire to remake Left Behind. There are a few films in the genre that I’ve considered halfway decent, and even though I haven’t seen the original film in a really long time – what I do remember about it, I thought it had a good handle on what it wanted to accomplish. When I heard Nic Cage was going to be in this one, I thought that this had a chance…I know Cage’s options in film are dithering out, but he’s still a huge name for Christian films…I mean…he’s gotta be the most famous actor in any Christian movie – and they added Chad Michael Murray – so I had hopes for it…but it failed in two major regards – tone and common sense.
Alrighty, so this movie is about a catastrophic event that affects the entire world. People everywhere vanish unexpectantly. Nicolas Cage plays a pilot on a plane that’s experiencing this event and has to figure out what happened before the passengers on his plane go absolutely banana sandwich. Meanwhile on the ground, his daughter runs around frantically flipping out while destruction erupts all around her. Mass panic, plane crashes, bus crashes, people taking advantage of the crisis to be criminals.
Did I miss something? Or did the whole world take their stupid pills? The main problem with this movie is that – because it’s made by Christians, it’s made with the assumption that no one has even heard of the Rapture. Look, everyone knows what the Rapture is. Christians believe it, Atheists don’t – but everyone knows what it is. That means if people actually vanished in real life, after initial panic, everyone would resort to the Rapture. In this film, they just start blaming aliens, terrorists, and other random people. Aliens I understand (and I wish they had more focus on that as an alternative explanation), but it really could only be two things – aliens or the Rapture. So the way people react in this film is a bit unrealistic.
Secondly, and this is very important, the tone and feel of this film is absolutely wrong. The one thing the first film had going for it was simply the fact that it knew what it was going for and had a more efficient tone. We’re talking – opening the movie at night time with explosions in the distance. It’s a dark theme because it’s the start of dark times…essentially of the end of the world – act like it! Our remake of Left Behind sports a very fluffy, light toned movie that doesn’t match up to what it needed to be. Complete with elevator music as its musical score, this film completely missed the point. It feels way too much like an ABC Family movie, except not as dark…and ABC Family movies aren’t dark…which is really sad.
Secondly, the actual things this movie covers wasn’t enough…where was the antichrist? Last time I checked, that part was really important, and part of what made the story so great. People vanishing right as a man comes to power – who has, essentially, superpowers. Given the fact that he’s the antichrist – his powers, and his whole persona is so, so dark. It could have at least helped the movie get some traction…but nope. Just fluff.
The Rapture is such a great idea with a lot of potential, and it’s never achieved in the right tone. Hollywood really needs to get their hands on it, because while this film offered some ideas into what could happen, its presentation of those ideas was rather cheesy and felt cheap. I don’t care how expensive it really was, it felt cheap because of the way it was pieced together. The filmmaking of this film was a bit of a massacre…you would probably do better sticking with the original, 2000 version. I’ve heard Christians, who normally like bad Christian movies, call this movie bad – which in and of itself…is impressive.
If you’re a Christian, then this movie is for you. It covers a topic you’re very familiar with and can just enjoy it for what it is. You’re the most likely to find positives in the film. To be fair, it clearly had a better vision than a lot of other current Christian films have.
It lost a lot of vision that the original had 14 years ago. The simple fact is that everyone’s heard of the Rapture, and this film works off of an assumption that they haven’t – and completely ignores the topic of the antichrist which offers a lot of help as far as appropriate tone goes. It tries way too hard to be something that it ultimately isn’t. Somewhere deep down is an interesting story, but too much fluff and light tones reminiscent of the care bears ruins this thing.