Are you ready?
The trailer for Left Behind questions our preparedness, but is it referring to the end of the world or the second coming of this best-selling religious novel? You may recall the Kirk Cameron-led film of the same name, also based on the books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. This too follows the survivors after the Rapturous vanishing of millions around the world and the consequent chaos our world falls in to.
It's important for filmmakers to not bite off more than they can chew when it comes to apocalyptic films (see my recent video review of The Well for an indie film that did this right). While this version is dealing with 3X the budget of the first film (with some $15 million), it's plain to see that it's still hardly enough for their lofty aspirations. Audiences have seen this poor planet meet its end in spectacular fashion countless times, when we see nothing new or (worse yet) can see the seams that create the illusion, we're not going to invest ourselves very far.
At least the film appears to have a cast capable of the emotional heavy-lifting required for such an event, right? Hardly. We've seen Nicolas Cage and Lea Thompson rise to the occasion, but this appears to be one of those check-collecting motions they move through. Cassi (Cop Dog) Thomson plays their daughter and the script does her no favors and vice versa. Based on the trailer the movie will circulate around the Steele family. Dad's just trying to fly a plane with a missing pilot (he could certainly use Denzel Washington's character from Flight) while his wife and daughter stumble upon one incident after another below.
Maybe a renowned filmmaker can play the savior of this production? Well, Vic Armstrong is a long-time stunt actor (ranging from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to The Amazing Spider-Man) but has little experience in the director's chair. He'll no doubt bring his stunt-work expertise to the film's destruction sequences, but the trailer provides very little hope that we will be impressed by any of it.
Author Tim LaHaye was so displeased with the first adaptation of his book that he sued for the rights back so he could try it again. Said he, "My dream has always been to enter the movie theater with a first-class, high-quality movie that is grippingly interesting, but also is true to the biblical storyline -- and that was diluted in the first attempt. But Lord willing, we are going to see this thing made into the movie that it should be, and that all the world sees it before the real Rapture comes." I never saw 2000's Left Behind, but if this is the version that LaHaye is confident in getting behind then I shudder to think of it.
What do you think of the trailer for Left Behind? Did you somehow survive the first film? Apparently, LaHaye and Jenkins have churned out 16 books in this series over the years. If this film is successful (which it most certainly will be, religious fare fairs well in this country) how many sequels should we ready ourselves for?
Prepare to be raptured (or not) on October 3rd. Unfortunately, HBO's The Leftovers will have finished airing by then...