Poor Nicholas Cage. Ever since he has been in dire financial straits, there hasn’t been a movie role he has turned down. To his credit, his latest stint in Left Behind was well acted and generally enjoyable. Sadly for him, he was a little out of place next to all the wooden, terribly unbelievable actors surrounding him.
Not that the production value of the movie was any good, either. Like a Mystery Science Theater B Movie, the film had its fair share of snafus (i.e. Nicholas Cage’s daughter running the equivalent of three marathons in platform shoes in 12 hours, the flight to London taking that long to begin with, the clock in a room reading 8:14 when it was broad daylight and not the morning, a school bus crashing because of the driver was raptured to heaven hours after the rapture occurred, and a Long Island mall having Chick-Fil-A when NYers are not that lucky!)
I never read the books that the film, which was essentially a plane-crash movie, was based upon. However, I have heard the books are essentially nonsensical drivel. So, if the plot of the movie is a tad uninspired, it was not like that they had great material to work with anyway.
However, for a B-movie it was pretty enjoyable. It is two hours long and you are entertained throughout. It is pretty standard fare for all of the Revelation-themed movies made since A Thief in the Night. Bad acting, sorta cool story, and not a lot of good theology.
I am not going to pick a bone with the “Rapture” or even the idea of normative infant and child salvation, which is essentially the premise of the whole movie (people freaking out that their kids disappeared.) My bone to pick is with two points:
First, the movie begins with the question being raised, “How can a good God let bad things happen to good people?” The film revisits the question a few times. However, an answer is never given. As Jerry Seinfeld says, “That’s a pretty big matza ball hanging out.”
Of course, being that the answer to the question is a pretty long one, the short answer is that “the Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds” (Ps 145:17) and that He “works all things for good for those who love Him that have been called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28). So, bad things happen, we might not like them, but God has a good reason and we know that He is righteous and kind. His methods therefore cannot be questioned, because He knows best.
Second, the movie never communicates the Gospel or the need for it…which is pretty lame being that the premise of the “Rapture” is that God brings to heaven those who have faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. However, being that more of the emphasis was on disappearing children, one could watch the whole movie and miss this. Even worse, because children are viewed as “innocent,” the viewer would not understand that we are under God’s condemnation for our sin since our time in the womb and all of us, including children, need grace or we all deserve damnation.
While the movie Noah actually had elements of the Gospel in it, in Left Behind it was sorely lacking. So, don’t watch Left Behind hoping to learn anything that profound. Just enjoy the airplane hijinx and have a good time. Perhaps, some unbelievers might be interested in reading a Bible. In the end of the day, that’s a win.