Left Behind (2014)

It’s time for the Left Behind reboot movie. The first series made it pretty far and even saw the end of the US with the big presidential strike but now we go back to the first big event of the rapture. The unfortunate thing is it’s hard to see us getting back to where the first trilogy left us off anytime soon but hoping for the best. It’s always important to have more films adapting revelations as we get closer to the end every day. When will the rapture occurs? Nobody knows and nobody ever can know so we just have to stay tuned. No point in trying to predict the unpredictable but whether it happens in 50 years or 500, it will happen and this movie is a fun visual on how that could be. It’s noticeably slower paced than the original film so this focuses a lot more on the tension of the characters in an airplane when this happens.

The movie introduces us to Chloe early on who has returned home to see her parents. Their home has not been the same for quite a while now. Chloe and her father Raymond got really distant from her mother Irene after the latter became a Christian. Still, this was going to be a time for everyone to talk but Raymond runs off to cheat with a stewardess named Hattie while Chloe is not ready for another deep discussion and runs off. That’s when the rapture happens and lots of people vanish. Will these characters be able to withstand this ultimate test?

Now one thing I would like to see the films acknowledge more is that even non Christians would bring up the rapture as a possible idea when this happens. That’s because the event is common knowledge at this point so while it may be a theory that goes under people turning invisible or some kind of alien laser, it should be a part of the discussion. It always takes a while for anyone to suggest this in the movies and then it’s always a big reveal as if nobody had ever heard of the concept before. So I would have at least one person bring it up a little sooner tbh. The panic on the airplane makes a lot of sense since I do see people doing that and it was clever of Raymond to take the air out of the plane to knock everyone back to their seats.

My only other main issue with the film is that none of the characters are particularly likable. It’s really hard to tolerate Raymond at all because he’s just such an awful character. I think it always gets worse when you give someone the benefit of the doubt but they don’t live up to it. For example, Chloe seemed upset with Raymond from the jump when she saw him with Hattie and jumped to conclusions immediately. In the moment you think she is overthinking this though because while he was being friendly, I wouldn’t call it flirtatious. When she notices the ring is gone then you know this is pretty rational.

But there’s always the idea that a man and woman can’t possibly be really friendly without something going on behind the scenes and I still say that’s hogwash. Not only is it possible but there are plenty of friends out there and it would be nice to see more of that. So of course when it turns out that Raymond is cheating then his character hits rock bottom and at that point there’s no way I’m rooting for him at all. It’s definitely clear why he wasn’t taken with the others, that’s for sure. Hattie doesn’t even seem to be aware that he has a wife for most of the movie with how he hides the ring before talking to her every time so I’m really putting the brunt of the damages on Raymond here. He’s making a critical error.

So Chloe is justified in being super upset here but she handles the situation with Irene quite poorly. Chloe launches the first shot by taking a dig at Irene’s faith and jump starting the very conversation that she was hoping to avoid. So that was not a good look and from there she spends most of the film trying to find her brother and to get answers on what’s going on. There is also a really rushed romance plot that feels completely unnecessary but I suppose a film’s usually gonna try and squeeze that in.

Then for Irene, it’s a difficult situation. On one hand now that she believes in God she knows that the clock is ticking. Anyone who doesn’t believe in him is doomed to go to hell. I think a lot of times in Church and everyday life we sort of tip toe around this part of the faith. You try not to think about how everyone who doesn’t believe in God and serve him will go to hell but that is quite clear. It’s impossible to believe in God and yet dispute that fact so on one hand that does make it urgent that you try and get everyone you can go believe in him too. On the other hand, going in too hard will just close off their minds to God and you will have backfired in your intended mission. So it’s not easy, there’s a lot of give and take here. Irene did go a bit too hard here but it’s completely understandable. You never know when the end will approach.

I’m sure we all know many who don’t believe in the same faith but seem like really good people. It’s kind of depressing to think that they may burn for eternity when you think of that for only the truly evil. It’s just a tough facet of life and so you have to ask yourself what you’re going to do about it. I can’t say that I ever really spread the gospel or convert people. It’s not one of my traits and I just let everyone live their own lives but in the back of my head I know that’s the easier path, not exactly the right one. So you just pray and hope that everyone you know are Christians and leave it like that. Irene has my respect for trying to do better but unfortunately she just didn’t have the tact for it and ended up pushing her family farther away.

Meanwhile we have Buck the reporter who mostly helps with his camera but he doesn’t get a ton to do here. He tries to gather intel and figure out what is going on but there aren’t exactly a lot of resources to use while on the plane. He’s just as in the dark as everyone else and the crew aren’t the nicest group of people either so they aren’t volunteering a lot of information. Honestly they tended to be quite annoying the whole time. Especially the guy placing the football bets who just seemed to be looking out for himself here. Part of it is played for laughs a bit but for the mot part he’s just not a nice guy. I would have sped up the plane scenes for this reason, because the crew there just weren’t super entertaining.

I’d also like to see more reactions on the ground level. Part of the fun here is people trying to figure out what’s going on. I want to see the reporters running around, the government coming up with a response, etc. The investigative part of the film is what’s missing here. I would also say that the film could have used a church scene or something earlier to set up the Christian elements before all the Christians vanished. This plays out more like a normal drama to the point where there aren’t a ton of Christian elements to be found. Of course if you know the event then you know the connection right off the gate but I think having more imagery and music in the movie would have been good.

Overall, This film doesn’t match the original Left Behind but it’s still a solid drama. It just doesn’t bring anything to the table that the original didn’t already cover in better detail. That’s the one I would recommend to watch instead if you had to make a choice between them but if not then of course you should check out both and see for yourself which one ends up winning. The franchise is still going so we’ll see how the next one does and what approach it goes with. Will it also go for a slower pace to focus on specific moments or is the pacing going to speed up to try and get us closer to the end? Only time will tell.


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