The Sun has come and you’ve been left behind
This is a movie review done on the 2014 movie “Left behind” please also check out our other movie reviews on our media page.
When doing an article like this you have difficulties even in the Christian camp, mainly because not everyone has the same view of what will happen at the end of the world. You have to realize that although these books and films were wonderful pieces of literature and film, they were and still are fiction, regardless of how many of the events that have been hypothesized have actually happened.
At no time did Jenkins/La Haye ever market these books as prophesy so the detractions from the people who dislike them really have little ground. For me it is Christian fiction, much in the same way that you would read Lord of the Rings as secular fiction. I would no more base my faith on Left Behind as I would Lord of the Rings.
I was excited when I heard there would be a new Left Behind movie and I was happy when I heard it would include such a high profile actor as Nicholas Cage. I had some hopes about the new Left Behind films such as
1) Would they stick closer to the book this time?
2) How would Nicholas Cage do the Rayford Steele conversion scene?
3) Would this be a big draw from the Non-Christian market?
4) Would there be more LB movies?
5) With advances in technology, would this enhance the films?
Fan of the books
I must admit I am a fan of the literature and I was sad when the original film tweaked certain things in order to make the film work. They also made two sequels that didn’t work in fully with the books. These complaints I am sure are commonplace for any movie that mirrors a successful book. So my hope was they wouldn’t tinker with the story too much.
The movie itself
Nick Cage is Rayford Steele, a pilot who is in a troubled marriage, he has had difficulties since his wife’s conversion to Christianity and hides himself in his work. Rayford is a transatlantic airline pilot who is a non-Christian and is flirting with the idea of having an affair with a air hostess called Hattie.
The movie surrounds an event called “the rapture” and this movie takes the same idea as the original ones that the bodies will vanish. This has interesting ramifications worldwide as all the Christians and children too young to have made a choice are gone and taken up into heaven.
I say this is interesting as planes, trains, cars and any other vehicle that you can think of are crashing worldwide, in fact Rayford’s copilot is no longer there after the rapture. Also communications are jammed and the world goes into a panic.
This movie is different from the original left behind in that it exclusively charters Rayford’s flight from JFK to Heathrow, in the original movie this was doen within the first 20 or so minutes of the flight, however this movie goes into much greater detail of what happened.
The movie is very well done, they did use modern technology to make a movie that would appeal to both Christian and non-Christian alike.
This film charters Rayford’s journey to get landed somewhere in the NY area after turning his plane back when the rature happens. Using investigative techniques he realizes that with the vanishing of the co-pilot, his wife and another air hostess that all the missing people were Christians and he recalls conversations that he had with his wife regarding this event.
He turns the plane and due to the communication crisis and also the fact that the other plane has lost its crew, Ray’s flight clips the right wing in a mid-air collision as the other flight plummets to its doom. This causes problems later in the flight as Ray loses some fuel and cannot fully elevate the plane to make the gas last longer. This adds to the drama later.
For me, I loved the film and had I not read the first Left Behind book I would probably have taken the film on its individual merits as a good action film giving an example of what could happen at the end of the world.
The film barely mentions the Pastor and there is no mention of Ray and his conversion. It was more of an action film as opposed to being the evangelical effort that the first one was. It is a decent spectacle however as a Christian I had hopes that as we are attracting more of a cross audience with this film that we would not miss that opportunity to evangelize. In fact in one scene Chloe when she confronts the Pastor (Who preached well but did not believe himself) she rejects what he has to say.
Chloe is a much more developed character in this version of Left behind and she is beside herself with grief at the loss of her mother and kid brother, she then goes on to check the hospitals to ensure the babies are all missing and plays a big part in the rescue and landing of the plane.
For me it would have been a better movie had it not mainly taken place on the plane. Sub plots (such as Ray missing his birthday to go away to London with Hattie) had to take a more prominent role due to the limited options keeping the movie based on the plane.
That to me was the main problem, it was a good idea keeping it on the plane, however it also created a glass ceiling that couldn’t be penetrated. The main character was also flipped from Buck Williams being the main one in the original Left Behind movies to Ray Steele being the main one in this one.
Really they made a film of the first third of the first book and turned it into an hour and forty minutes of entertainment. It was a decent action film, but for me it missed the point of the original message of the Left Behind series.
I think they attempted to make this more palatable to a Non-Christian audience and having read reviews on this, Christians and Non-Christians alike had criticisms.
Thank you for reading this article, I pray that this is a blessing and please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you to.