There are millions of Christians with average or above-average intelligence. I’d like to think that I’m one of them. So, what possessed the makers of “Left Behind” to produce such an ignorant piece of garbage that’s easily one of the worst films of 2014, if not all-time? And, Nicholas Cage? We know he loves his paycheck, but did he even read the script before signing on to this disaster? Woe unto those who buy a ticket.
“Left Behind” is based on the best-selling novel about events described in the New Testament about the day many say the true believers in Christ will rise (disappear) into Heaven. Left behind will be the doubters and non-Christians. Once the Rapture begins, everyone will get a second chance to become believers but only after much suffering as the Earth plummets into dark days of persecution. There’ll be hell to pay, folks.
The Rapture is an intensely fascinating aspect of the Christian faith and makes for great drama. Even a low-budget film can be powerful entertainment. Michael Tolkin’s 1991 film, “The Rapture,” was a creepy cool adventure that ultimately validated the event. But, Tolkin used plenty of sex and violence to make his point. The film, starring Mimi Rogers, was pure Hollywood, but strangely faith-affirming.
In addition, the hit HBO series, “The Leftovers,” is about a Rapture-like event that may or may not be faith-related. One character, a priest, tries to convince people in his town that some of the missing were major sinners. You couldn’t ask for better television.
So, what happened with “Left Behind?” Apparently the producers saw it as an easy, inexpensive way to cash in on a built-in audience for faith-based films. That’s my conclusion. There’s so much wrong with this film, it’s laughable.
Cage plays airline pilot Rayford Steele. Steele is forced to fly his commercial jetliner alone after his co-pilot and several passengers vanish without a trace. He can’t raise anyone at traffic control, and decides to turn his plane around over the Atlantic and head back for New York City.
At Steele’s home, his wife and son are gone. His teenaged daughter (a non-believer) desperately searches for them as she questions her own faith with the family priest, who is also “grounded.”
Meantime, the sudden disappearance of millions causes all kinds of disasters from car crashes to plane crashes. No one seems to know what’s going on. And, that’s my first complaint. It’s ludicrous to think no one knows the score. The Rapture is not a secret prophecy. Millions of non-believers know about the foretelling of this cataclysmic event, even if they aren’t aware of the details. The passengers on Cage’s plane are baffled. The only person who seems to have a clue is a drug addict in first class whose not talking. It’s impossible to believe that so many people can be this uninformed. They must not watch HBO.
Another point concerning logic. Most of the planet’s population is still going to be here after the Rapture, so why is there only dead air when Cage calls on the radio? Were air traffic controllers at JFK deeply religious? Were they all on break at the same time? Logic dictates the post-rapture world will continue to function at least for awhile. Widespread looting? Maybe, but there’s still plenty of public safety officials who didn’t go to Sunday school.
And, what is it with the satellite phones? It’s crazy to think they’ll stop working right away. Anything that’s automated will continue to work. There’ll be plenty of non-believers to keep those satellites in orbit.
Okay, I gotta wrap it up here. But, let me mention a small thing that really bugged me. Steele didn’t have a flight bag. Hey, I’m not a pilot, but I know pilots (private and professional) always carry flight bags. Small detail, but irritating.
From the lousy screenplay to the pitiful acting to the laughable special effects, this supernatural thriller is superbad. A real crash and burn. For your own security and peace of mind, stay on the ground this weekend. Grade: F