Of all the jobs in the world, moviemaking surely has to be one of the most challenging ones—especially when it comes to filming subjects no one has ever seen or experienced.
For instance, what should a scene look like in which millions of Christians around the world are raptured, from earth to heaven, all at once? I’m not sure, either, but “Left Behind”—which hit theaters Oct. 3—paints a remarkably believable picture.
It alone is worth the price of admission.
“Left Behind” is actually not a sequel to the first three films but a reboot of the very first one, which was released in 2000 and starred Kirk Cameron. The films are based on the best-selling books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.
The biggest name in the newest “Left Behind” is Nicolas Cage, who does a fine job playing pilot Rayford Steele. Other solid performances are given by Cassi Thomson (Chloe Steele) and Chad Michael Murray (Cameron “Buck” Williams).
The newest “Left Behind” has a bigger budget than the original one ($15 million compared to $4 million), and that’s evident on the screen. The special effects, for instance, are solid.
The movie starts strong and provides solid character development for the lead characters, and it also ends on a strong note, presumably setting up a sequel.
Fans of the series certainly will enjoy it.
The movie’s strongest moments come when the characters are one-on–one, as when Cage’s character is talking to Buck Williams, and when Williams is talking to Chloe Steele.
But the film struggles a bit when it tries to show scenes of chaos. The same forced crowd shots that often plague sports movies are also at play here, making some of the scenes unbelievable. It’s simply difficult to get a large group of people to look excited or scared, all at once.
Overall, though, it’s a solid film, and it’s far better than the first installment.
“Left Behind” will, of course, spark another discussion among Christians about the End Times. After all, the movie’s viewpoint—called “pre-millennial, pre-tribulation”—is not shared by all believers. Some Christians say the Bible doesn’t teach that believers will be spared from the tribulation, and still others say there won’t be a tribulation at all and that the next major moment in redemptive history is simply the return of Christ.
As Christians, we all certainly believe that Jesus is returning, and hopefully strive to be ready for that day. “Left Behind” does a good job reminding us of that message, one on which we all can agree.
— Michael Foust
Foust is a writer and editor who blogs about parenting and fatherhood at MichaelFoust.com