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Left Behind - The Movie

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Vic Sarin

On an international flight, journalist Buck Williams (Kirk Cameron from GROWING PAINS) and pilot Rayford Steele (Brad Johnson, the formor Marlboro Man) discover that several passengers have simply vanished. Soon, it becomes clear that millions of people … see full wiki

Tags: Movies, Religious
Director: Vic Sarin
Release Date: 2001
MPAA Rating: PG-13
1 review about Left Behind - The Movie

The Night from HELL(Left Behind Series Comes to PAX)

  • Jun 20, 2002
Rating:
+3
Pros: fast-paced, interesting, well-cast-characters, believable, music-theme enjoyable (when played), better than book(stating-the-obvious-or-tedious=detail)

Cons: beginning hokey(gets better), book easier to follow and less confusing at first.

The Bottom Line: I was prepared to hate this movie. Despite some rough edges we were all pleasantly surprised. Saw it twice without yawning. Remarkable progress for the Christian movie genre.

NOTE: PAX Television Network has decided to run a LEFT BEHIND television series starting mid season 2001-2002.

For some reason, the show never materialized over the 2002 season. It could be due to a lawsuit filed against the producers by Tim LaHaye, but I am not sure. Apparently, the part in the Bible about not taking your brother to secular court slipped by these Christians who say that they based their books upon the Bible.....
-----------------------------------------------------------


It was a dark and stormy night..........Oohhh, Okaaayyy.

It was actually a clear and frigid night. A night that had come at long last. My special night. Our Christmas celebration night. My last date before the New Year.

I spent the entire week devoting time to designing a spectacular dress. After last year when my special dress had to be used for a funeral instead of my long awaited birthday dinner, I decided that I would venture to try again. I put my "all" into it too.

It did not matter that my husband had not been getting any sleep for the previous week, nor that my mother - in - law's dog almost bit off our toddler's face while opening presents for no good reason at all(our daughter is never mean to the nasty dog). It did not matter that my mother had told me that I was an idiot and that my dress sounded stupid and who did I think I was, the queen....


...or did it?

I had carefully donned my evening dress. One of the most stunning dresses I have ever made. It was going to be a perfect night..............

......mare.

It was not bad enough that my husband was too tired to process my incessant chattering. Or that I purchased a bracelet to replace the broken one that I had wanted to wear- only to have it break when trying to put THAT one on too.

We waited all month to have the Christmas Duck entree, only to find that they ran out just before we sat down. I tried several times to talk to my exhausted husband only to be interrupted by the waitress who eventually engrossed me into a seemingly endless discussion on home education. By the time we were done talking it was time to go.

We tried to go out dancing and for the first time in a very long time had a terrible experience. We did not seem to be able to understand each other. It was like I was suddenly speaking Chinese and he was speaking French.

After a stellar argument in the parking lot which completely retarded our formerly beautiful weekend, we drove home only to have me slip on the ice in front of our back door and twist my back. My husband was suffering from a sore throat.

So, laying in bed in agony and pain like I have not experienced in a long time, I desperately sought for something to do that could salvage the weekend. I painfully bent over and reached in the Christmas bag from "Gramma" and found what I was looking for.

The LEFT BEHIND video.

Having read the first 4 or 5 books in the series, I was interested to see what the producers had done in the making of this video - as long as I did not have to pay for it.

However, I have a confession to make. I am guilty of being prejudiced. I have participated in discrimination.

Yes, I , Caprig, have been a bigot.

When I see that a bunch of Christians got together and made a movie or production, I wince inside. No, I roll my eyes. Actually, I experience what I have come to term as the "oh, brother" syndrome. I tend to be very negative before I even give it a chance. I determine it as unacceptable even before watching it.

There. They say confession is good for the soul, so now that I "feel better", let me continue.

I looked at the video cover. Surely, this had to be a decent movie. I had heard that it was pretty good. I did enjoy the books when I did not expect to like them at all (end times scenarios tend to grate on me).

Yes, I would be a good sport and decide to like the movie no matter what. After all, it had to be better than the night from hell I had just been through.

And then I saw it.

Oh, dear God, NOOOOO!!!

I happened to look at the back of the video on the credits and saw the names that I had come to avoid like the plague. The Lalonde brothers.

These guys tend to drive me nuts with their obsession with the biblical end times scenarios and cheesy class D movies which would make even an alien from another planet wince in pain.

Apparently they had beat Chuck Norris to the draw by making the movie before he could as he had planned. Not that it would have been any better......

Oh, man, now I was breaking my vow. I was NOT in the mood for another miserable experience. I had decided that I HATED this movie and was not going to watch it. But, what else is there to do when your back hurts so badly that you can not even move without almost passing out and you can not sleep?

You put in the video in desperation and hope it puts you to sleep, that is what you do.

That is what I did.

The first few minutes of the movie had me going already. Here was Kurt Cameron playing a news reporter in Israel when a bunch of planes looking like SPACE INVADERS from the OLD computer game go flying by. Really cheesy.

Then Kurt Cameron playing a world class news reporter reminded me of the same feelings I would get from watching the guy that plays BUD on JAG try to play James Bond.

I KNEW that I was about to get some sleep, so I continued watching the video.

However, after making it through the first act of the story, I found myself with my mouth open after a fruit fly paid a visit. If I did not already believe in miracles before this, after viewing this movie in its entirety I would have.


SYNOPSIS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK

For those of you that have NOT read the books, I will attempt to enlighten you on the basic premise of the story. You may need this so you do not get overwhelmed or lost during the movie having not read the book.

This is about a phenomenon in the Bible believing community known as the "rapture of the Church". This is where all of a sudden when no one is expecting it, all of those that have given their lives in commitment to Jesus Christ suddenly disappear from the earth and are snatched away to heaven. This is conjectured to leave the world in a state of panic, leading to a desperate attempt to explain away the disappearance. In an effort to do this, many will believe in any rationalization except the truth of the matter(aliens, evolution, punishment of politically incorrect, etc). This will leave the way open for the ANTICHRIST who will then begin his reign of terror on the earth in a one world government

This movie is about the very beginning of this phenomenon and leads up to the part where the ANTICHRIST (Nicolae Carpathia is his name in this one) begins to show his true colors after appearing to be a kind and compassionate world figure.

LEFT BEHIND is a fictional story which allows the viewer to follow the effects that this rapture has on a certain bunch of main characters.

There is an airline pilot, Rayford Steele (played by Brad Johnson) who appears to be having an affair with a stewardess , Hattie Durham(played by Chelsea Noble, real life wife of Kurt Cameron). In the book, they do not have an affair, only get very close to one.

Rayford's daughter, Chloe (played by Janaya Stephens), who is totally hip and NOT into the God thing, Bruce Barnes (can not remember his name, but I have seen him before and his screen presence does not annoy me), the assistant pastor that had been faking his commitment to Jesus, and Buck Williams a world class news reporter for GNN (played by Kurt Cameron - married in real life to Chelsea Noble).

There are other characters in the film that also become regulars in the series of books, but these are the main ones.

In essence, all of these characters experience grief and fear when loved ones that had been talking to them about Jesus and the rapture suddenly have disappeared. It is an exploration of how each of them handle it and what lengths they go to to either avoid or join the same faith that their loved ones had tried to tell them about.

In addition to this, the intrigue of what Buck Willams stumbles upon,turns out to be the beginnings of the NEW WORLD ORDER. The NEW WORLD ORDER taking its power is a fast moving scenario which takes the viewer through the usually tedious understanding of the end times scenario with ease and actual entertainment. It is handled a bit like an intrigue novel and is not annoying to watch.


MY REVIEW OF THE MOVIE

I have to say that I was ready to abhor this movie. The Lalonde brothers usually irritate me when I see them interviewed or in the movies or videos I have seen parts of. They tend to act like "know it alls" and I have found their past productions to be seriously lacking in quality and professionalism. In fact, they have been really awful.

This movie, LEFT BEHIND, however, has broken the mold. I have to say that I was shocked. I will say that this movie was shot more like a made for TV movie, but it was a good quality, not poor.

Although I enjoyed THE OMEGA CODE, and found it entertaining (but not something to obsess about), that movie did not come close to the quality I saw in LEFT BEHIND

The casting was phenomenal. I say this from the perspective that almost every Christian movie I have seen has been so poorly cast and acted out that it was almost torture to watch it. This movie was different.

Although I thought that every part was cast well, I was particularly impressed with Chloe and Rayford Steele. I also thought that Hattie (stewardess) was exceptionally cast as well.

Although Kurt Cameron did not seem comfortable in the role at first, I thought that as the story progressed a bit, that he grew into the part excellently.

At first, I did not think that Carpathia (antichrist played by Gordon Currie) was believable. He struck me as a wimp and not the charismatic guy I pictured him to be when I read the book. However, as I thought about it, he had a similar personna to Bill Clinton. And no one can still explain to this day why people all follow HIM with such loyalty. People are more than willing to overlook all of the horrendously suspicious things HE has been connected to.

As the movie progresses, Gordon Currie plays Nicolae excellently. You can see him actually change from the wimpy pushover to purely evil and back again. It is so convincing that I have to admit I was shocked.

The extras were also well trained. When you first see the reactions of the people when their children are missing and their loved ones, you can almost feel yourself being empathetic with them. I do not know if I have ever seen any Chrisitan production (or most secular ones for that matter) that has had a cast of extras actually act at all, let alone act well.

There were a lot of well thought out details in the movie as well. For instance, in the Steele home (where Rayford's wife and son have disappeared) you see the fresh flowers in a vase that have dried out because no one added water to them. You see wedding rings and clothes left where people vanished. You see dogs on leashes sitting confused by piles of clothing that used to be owners taking them for a walk.


CLOSING COMMENTS

All in all, I thought that this movie was very well done. I was amazed at the acting and the casting of the characters. The costuming was excellent. The pace was energetic and easy to follow. The length was a bit too short, but the end was not a disappointment. The movie's musical theme is excellent quality as well- I could see it being played at dance clubs. Unfortunately, they did not insert the music throughout the movie as well as they could have, but it could have been much worse. There is room for a sequel in the future.

Even some of the minor roles were excellently played. I really liked Ivy (played beautifully by Krista Bridges). Ivy was a new age 90's girl complete with multiple henna tatoos and cigarette as an extension of her arm at all times when stressed.

I also had a chuckle at the "Who's Who" list of Christian artists and international fame who made a quick appearance in the film - Rebecca St. James, Clay Crosse, Bob Carlisle (BUTTERFLY KISSES fame), and TD Jakes. Makes you want to watch it again just to see if you can find them, you know, like Where's Waldo?

This movie is going to be played in the theaters on February 2, 2001. If you would like to see a movie that is entertaining and fine for the family, this movie would be an excellent choice. Of all of the Christian movies I have seen (and suffered through in many cases), this one was a refreshing change.

The Christian scene has been very slow to come around, but seems to be making fine strides in the production field. I take my hat off to them for finally showing some serious improvement and professionalism after so many years of , well, lousy stuff.

A word of caution to those of you out there who are fellow practicing anti-Christian bigots when it comes to productions and the like. I have come to the conclusion that it is grossly unfair to judge these movies on the same par with the high budget veterans of the box office.

It is like mocking a first grader who wins a spelling bee because he did not get a scholarship to Harvard like his older brother did last year.

Christian films have a way to go before they reach the high level of special effects and production of some movies made by very rich and very experienced Hollywood veterans - most of whom are extremely bigoted against Christians to the point of not hiring them if they do not hide their faith and morals. It takes a lot of guts to stand up and act for a Christian movie, because in the practical sense of the word, it is like committing professional suicide in Hollywood.

There is not a group in the US today that is so mocked or discriminated against as the Christian community is. And it has crept into most of our attitudes from one degree or another.

This movie is worth the price of a ticket. I recommend that you see it as it is a job well done and deserving of recognition for going a step beyond the usual disappointment of Christian film production.





Recommended:
Yes

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