October 9, 2014

A Review of the Left Behind Movie

by Lyndon Unger

On December 31, 1995 something momentous happened.  Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins released the book Left Behind, a fictional account of their (somewhat fanciful) ideas of what the rapture would be like, as well as the 7 years of tribulation that followed.  The book spawned a series that would ultimately involve 16 novels and would sell 65+ million copies.  Many people read the books, many people hated the books, and many people presented the books as the reason for rejecting various points of end times theology (properly known as eschatology) for the next 20 years (if I had a dime for every time I found myself in a conversation about eschatology where someone brought up a series of fiction books as their reason for rejecting Biblical doctrine…).  But that wasn’t the end of it all.  On October 31st, 2000, the Left Behind series hit the big time when it (*gasp*) became a movie.  Not only did it become a movie, but it was a movie that starred Kirk Cameron (the Tim Challies of “Christian” cinema) as well as that guy from Walker, Texas Ranger…

Walker

…and some other show from the eighties that I cannot remember the name of.

This was one of the first “big budget” Christian films ever ($4 million), and I’ll never forget seeing my first “Christian” movie: confused shock.  Shock that people on my TV were talking about Jesus in a way that wasn’t idiotic or revealing a writer who apparently slept through every post-flannel board lesson in Sunday School.  I was weirded out, but mostly because I wasn’t used to seeing Christians act like Christians on my TV.  It was obvious that this was no Hollywood-quality production but it was definitely something I was not used to seeing.  That confusion and novelty factor was likely what gripped me the most about the movie.

Now that Hollywood has basically remade everything that was ever any good, they’ve remade Left Behind too.  This time, it was staring Nicolas Cage rather than Kirk Cameron, and the budget was 4x bigger ($16 million).  On October 3rd (opening night) I sat through the remake.

Here’s a summary of the movie and some thoughts (both positive and negative).

1. The Movie in a Nutshell:

 – The story is somewhat the same as the original movie…

 – Nicolas Cage is the pilot (Raymond Steele** – the biggest-name actor in the movie, though there are several familiar faces), and the other characters are Buck Williams (an investigative journalist), Chloe Steele (Ray’s daughter), Irene Steele (Ray’s wife), Remy Steele (Ray’s son) and Hattie Durham (the stewardess who Ray hopes to have a fling with).  There are other characters, but they’re all somewhat minor and there as filler.

 – Buck Williams, who is a famous reporter, arrives in the airport and is questioned by a somewhat crazy “Christian” woman  who comments on how he’s traveled the world and seen a ton of earthquakes.  She asks him if he (the unbelieving reporter) recognizes them as the “signs of the end times” that they apparently are, and Ray’s daughter Chloe (who’s home from college for her dad’s birthday) pipes up and brings up the philosophical problem of evil (basically “why does God cause all these earthquakes if he’s so loving?”), to which the lady says “The Lord works in mysterious ways”.

U2

 – Chloe then sees her dad at the airport flirting with Hattie (the stewardess) and is crushed.  She confronts her dad in a round-about way.

 – Ray pretends like it’s nothing, lightly lectures Chloe about being nice to her mother (who’s now “drank the kool-aid”, meaning converted to Christianity), Buck Williams flirts with Chloe (by talking about the problem of evil) and gets her number.

 – Chloe goes home, talks with her mom and things get uncomfortable as she refers to the lady at the airport as “crazy”.  Her mom takes it seriously, Chloe leaves awkwardly, goes to the mall with her younger brother (who looks around 10 years old) and watches some break dancing.

 – Buck gets on the plane, and the plane takes off shortly after Ray flirts with Hattie.

 – While at the mall, Chloe’s brother runs off.  She finds him, scolds him and hugs him, and mid-hug he vanishes in a small puff of smoke.  Every baby at the mall disappears, as well as all the toddlers, and a handful of adults.  Immediately (like within seconds), people start kicking in the windows at electronics stores and stealing televisions.

 – In the air, all the babies & toddlers, a stewardess and the copilot, as well as a half dozen other adults, all disappear.  Everyone freaks out.

– The phones stop working (apparently the rapture is accompanied by an EMP or something), and some of the electronics on the plane stop working as well.

 – Chloe’s car is destroyed, she eventually ends up at a hospital (trying to find her brother), finds an empty maternity ward, and discovers that the phenomenon is global.  On the plane, nobody knows what’s going on and theories fly (aliens, parallel universes, wormholes, etc.).  Everyone agrees it wasn’t a wormhole.

sg1_windowofopportunity

  – Chloe finally makes it home, finds her mother’s necklace and rings in the shower, and then realizes it’s God…so she throws a bible through a window.

 – In the air, Ray tries to find a common denominator to the disappearances and finds out that the missing stewardess was a Christian (she had a Bible study in her day planner, so obviously…).  Ray starts crying and then another woman in first class (after awaking from doing drugs in the bathroom) mentions that she knows what’s going on too since she went to Bible camp as a kid (everyone went to Heaven…or something…).

 – Chloe runs from her house to her mom’s church to find the church empty with the pastor there.  He goes off on a speech about how he used to know it all, but “you have to believe”, which apparently he didn’t do (a fact about which Chloe proudly reminds him).

 –  Chloe runs off to commit suicide.

 – Ray’s plane gets into a minor collision with another plane (with nobody flying it) and starts leaking fuel.  Buck calls Chloe as she’s about to jump off a bridge (the phones apparently start working again) and Ray apologizes for lying to her and tells Chloe how much he loves her.  Chloe, at some point, puts on her moms necklace (I forget when exactly, but apparently it suggests she becomes some sort of vague theist, which is apparently all one needs to do; she doesn’t say a word but just puts on the necklace. The necklace has a fish and a cross on it, so that’s enough, right?).

 – Ray tells Chloe that the plane cannot land since all the airports are closed, and Chloe finds a closed section of highway for the plane to land on.

 – The plane lands, everyone gets off, and Ray delivers the epic line “It looks like the end”, to which Chloe replies “No, this is only the beginning”.  The movie flashes Mark 13:32 and a cover of the Larry Norman song “I wish we’d all been ready” plays.

NEW LIFE TRIO _I Wish We_d All Been Ready_

 Yup.  That’s about it in a nutshell.

 2. My Positive Thoughts:

– I’m glad that the movie exists.  If anything, it may give opportunity to have some gospel conversations with people.

 – The movie isn’t as horrible as some suggest, at least on the quality front.  People who mock the acting, soundtrack, special effects, etc. have apparently never seen actually bad “Christian” movies.  It’s far more endurable than many other “Christian” cinema out there…

Apocalypse-trilogy…and Christians are used to having second-tier media.  We’ll endure a whole lot of kitsch if it is encouraging or about Jesus (and possibly has Mr. T in it).

– I’m glad that someone in is at least trying to make the effort to use film to bring the message of Christianity to the world or make movies for a Christian audience.  It’s about time that Hollywood started targeting the Christian market with some measure of seriousness.  Even the recent gong shows (like this movie or this movie) reveal that the Christian market has tremendous potential, and only one movie has really decently exposed the potential of that market.  There are untold billions to be made if Hollywood takes evangelicals seriously and puts in the effort to understand us as a market (I’m open to consulting offers).

3. My Negative Thoughts:

I’ve got a lot of negative things I could say about the movie, but I’ll try to explain my dislike for the movie in a few simple statements:

A. It has nothing to do with actual Christianity.

Now I’m not being nitpicky or taking apart the bad theology that surfaces in the movie (though there was lots).  What I mean is that this movie doesn’t actually portray Christians or Christianity, but rather Americana Religiosity.  I’m talking about the cultural Christianity that one finds in large swaths of America where “being American” is somehow related to “being Christian”.  A big part of the reason I say that is because throughout the entire movie, nobody even mentions Jesus Christ at all.

No kidding.  He doesn’t make an appearance in a single conversation.

People talk vaguely about “God”, and the “need to believe”, but nobody talks about Christ.

Nobody mentions him.

shh

Now I’m not complaining because people don’t talk about the things I want them to talk about.  If people would have said “Jesus” a few times in the movie, that wouldn’t have fixed things.

The real problem wasn’t that Christ was not mentioned, but rather that nobody shows any understanding about him whatsoever and people somehow “get right with God” in the movie without Christ or the gospel being a part of it.  The “good news” in Christianity is “good news” about Jesus.  The “message” of Christianity is, at it’s essential and uncompromisable core, about Jesus Christ.

B. It wants nothing to do with actual Christianity.

Before the rapture, all the Christians in the movie are either actually annoying/crazy.  That describes the woman at the airport.  She runs up to Buck, mentions how he’s seen lots of earthquakes, refers to Matt. 24:7 and then asks him if he thinks they’re in the “end times” (as if unregenerate men look at the world and make that leap).   Other are simply annoyingly stupid.  That describes Irene Steele (Ray’s wife).  She talks to Chloe about the end times because she wants Chloe “to be ready”, but apparently never mentions Jesus.  She apparently doesn’t understand  the gospel in a basic sense.  She doesn’t seem to know that “being ready” means “knowing Christ” rather than “knowing disassociated and random facts about the end times but remaining unregenerate”.  The New Testament constantly and continually makes this point, basically every time there’s eschatological talk (i.e. Matt. 25, 1 Pet. 3, etc.).  In order to “be ready” a person needs to be reconciled to the judge, not the judgment.

I definitely wanted to scream when I watched the Irene/Chloe conversation.

screaming-stress-lady

Left Behind is actually a movie that is more of a plane crash thriller than any sort of “Christian” movie at all…assuming that a “Christian” movie has some sort of vague purpose that involves presenting the message of Christianity in some way (which this movie absolutely wants nothing to do with).

In this respect, the original Left Behind was an unbelievably better movie.

C. It shows no understanding of actual Christianity.

Continuing along the previous line of thought, it’s like people in Hollywood (meaning the film industry, not the geographic place) don’t understand Christianity but are committed to not facing that obvious fact.  If you want to make a movie and get millions of Christians to pay $15 to see it, you need to show that you understand Christianity (at least a bit).  Points A and B are the main illustrations here.

Let’s be serious here: “Christian” movies aren’t aimed at liberals or nominal Christians.  They’re already drowning in all the sludge that Hollywood churns out.  Hollywood could remake First Blood and some self-professing “Christians” would make an argument that Rambo is “really” a sort of Christ figure (I mean, the movie has “blood” in the title, right?).  Christian movies are aimed at the (somewhat) conservative evangelicals that make up the only growing segment of Christianity in North America, but Hollywood doesn’t understand that crowd at all.  All Hollywood seems to do is either make fun of us or show that they don’t have a clue about conservative evangelicalism (and don’t really care about learning).

loser-laughing

Hollywood shows no interest in understanding us but also wants our money.

One of those things has to change.

4. Various rambling thoughts:

– The humor in the movie was painfully bad.  The movie made fun of an old lady with alzheimers, a Muslim, and had a series of “little person”jokes that climaxed with the Muslim kicking the little person down the plane’s inflated emergency ramp.  It was painful.  No clever dialogue humor, no witty visuals, etc.  Just slapstick mockery of little people, old people and Muslims.  Maybe I have a far different sense of humor than most, but I wasn’t laughing and only heard mild token chortles in the theater.

–  The whole looting spree that started within seconds of the rapture was absolutely hilarious.  I mean honestly.  A bunch of kids disappear and seconds later, people are kicking in windows and looting.  The last time you were at Costco and lost track of your kids, was your immediate reaction to start looting?  Is that anyone’s immediate reaction?

–  I was laughing at several things in the movie that were not intentional jokes:

– For example, the airline was “PCA Airlines”.  Seeing that this was a movie about a pretribulational rapture, I found it rather funny that the name of the airline was coincidentally PCA; those folks definitely deny the pretrib rapture (I kept waiting for some tearful Presbyterian to recognize what had occurred and mutter to themselves”but the Bible never mentions the rapture!”).

– Another thing that made me laugh was how Irene Steele’s pastor was Left Behind, as was Chloe, but nobody else showed up at the church.  Apparently her unregenerate pastor shepherded an entire church of believers.  I’ll buy that for a dollar.

– If I was involved in the writing process and people wanted the movie to have humor, I may have included some of the following completely missed comedy gold (I’m an equal opportunity offender):

– Tom Cruise could have coincidentally disappeared in a yachting accident on the same day as the rapture, and then Colton Burpo could have been on TV claiming to have taken a second trip to Heaven, seen Tom Cruise, and returned with an encouraging message about environmentalism.

– Chloe could have walked by an Episcopal Church that was setting up an emergency shelter in their gym with their church sign reading “we’re here throughout this period of tribulation to help”.

–  A celebrity pastor with really white teeth from Texas could have on CNN giving a “pastor’s perspective” on speculations about whether this disappearance was something to do with “a thing mentioned in the Bible”, to which he could have said “well, I don’t know about that but I know that God loves each and every one of you and wants to turn your pain into your prosperity!” and then tried to sell his latest book “God’s your biggest fan”.

– Some guy could have been wandering through the streets muttering to himself “How in the world could this have happened?  I take a literal reading of Genesis and I home-schooled all my kids!”

– Chloe could have walked further down the road to  Faithful Word AV1611 Free Will Baptist Church, gone in, and had a guy frantically run up to her yelling “Lady, you gotta go home and burn your cabbage patch kids!   I locked mine in a trunk, and look at me now!”

– There could have been a guy sitting a Christian bookstore with a bunch of different study bibles who looked up with a confused look and said “It seems like the Christians are gone but now the gospel will now conquer the whole world and usher in the church age!”

– Brian McLaren could have issued a seven-year moratorium on anyone pronouncing judgments as to whether the rapture has occurred.

–  There could have been a great clip of somebody on TBN nervously offering an explanation of why TBN is still on the air at all.

Ken

– The movie could have closed off with Bill Maher and Dan Barker preaching the gospel with fire coming shooting from their mouths.

– Rob Bell could have been on some TV show, arguing with the host and saying “No!  The Bible teaches that everyone goes to Heaven, not that everyone gets raptured!”

Talk about missed jokes.  Feel free to toss out more in the comment thread.

So, that basically sums up all that I’ve got to say.

Feel free to see it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.  There isn’t any serious swearing (one “s-word” that I remember) and there’s obviously no sex scenes or nudity or anything, so it’s at least a relatively clean movie that you can see with someone.  At least that is worth something.

If you’re like me though, you will either be really annoyed by it or will find yourself providing color commentary and making all the theological jokes that were missed…

mst3kHulu

** The main character’s name isn’t “Raymond” but actually “Rayford”.  Several commenters have pointed this tremendous error out to me, but I kept the error to preserve the delightful banter in the comment thread.  I haven’t actually read the Left Behind books and offer this evidence as “exhibit A”.  Also, both “Rayford” and “Raymond” are “Ray” when shortened, and I believe “Ray” was the main name by which Nicolas Cage’s character was referred to in the movie.

Lyndon Unger

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Lyndon is a pastor/teacher who’s currently between ministry work and in the Canadian Mennonite Brethren Witness Protection program. If you think you saw him somewhere...you didn’t.
  • James

    Great Post!!! Is there a Christian movie that you could wholeheartedly endorse? I’m very interested in your answer. Sometimes the depth of my theology spoils my enjoyment of the simplicity of the media presentation. Or I find myself shaking my head at the fanciful plot line even when the theology is accurate. Could I be nitpicking? For example, have you seen Persecuted and what did you think?

    Thanks again for another great post. By the way,

    …and some other show from the eighties that I cannot remember the name of.

    Matlock, it’s a Senior Citizen American Classic

    • Lyndon Unger

      You’re a mind reader. I was TOTALLY thinking Matlock!

      A Christian movie that I’d endorse?

      I’d probably endorse a lot of ones that aren’t fiction, but I’m thinking that you’re asking fiction, right?

      In that case, I’d have to say stuff like Veggietales, the original Left Behind, Fireproof, Courageous, Luther, Amazing Grace, Star Trek: Into Darkness, etc.

      • 4Commencefiring4

        How about The Robe? Greatest Story Ever Told? The classics beat the modern junk nine ways to Sunday…or to Saturday, if you’re Jewish.

        • Lyndon Unger

          I have to admit that I’m unfamiliar with both of those…though I think I MAY have seen the Greatest Story Ever Told a long time ago…but I’m not sure.

          • 4Commencefiring4

            Then I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to add watching “The Robe” (1953) to your bucket list. Richard Burton plays a Roman soldier at the crucifiction who acquires Christ’s blood-stained robe when it is torn from Him and he and his cohorts gamble for it under the cross as Jesus dies just over their heads. Victor Mature plays a reluctant, but eventually committed, disciple who lays the guilt on thick with Burton who fights the call to believe.

            The robe becomes a conscience-searing object of dread for Burton as he tries to rid himself of its power, going crazy as it begins to eat away at him and what he had done by putting this man to death. Very, very effective story line, and powerful in its impact. Highly recommended.

            I prefer these older biblical films, as they usually do not show Jesus’ face or give Him a speaking part, letting your imagination take you to where it wants you. And yes, it’s in color.

  • Robert Sakovich

    Love your comedy suggestions…you could always have Burpo/shiny teeth as the beast/antichrist duo.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Exactly…the beast/antichrist duo ROCK OPERA!

  • Jas25

    This is why I love this blog. Deep thought and comedy are hard to find together and shallow comedy is boring. The timing of those pictures made it extremely difficult to not laugh out loud.

    We can blame Hollywood for not understanding their market but my personal experience is that, even in a Bible preaching church, a *lot* of self-professed “Christians” aren’t interested in anything deeper than a “family friendly” or “feel good” form of entertainment. How anyone like that can ignore the feeling of joint and soul splitting (Hebrews 4:12) enough to consider a sermon taught against lukewarmness entertaining is beyond me, but I assure you it happens.

    (Insert Monty Python’s “It’s only a flesh wound” image here)

    The sad truth is they may understand the tastes of their market better than we as a church should feel comfortable with. They are only missing one key aspect of their market. A majority of social Christians get their “facts” from someone else, who gets it from someone else, who may have read a blog like this and, in typical legalism style, put in on their “don’t do” list.

    Social Christianity is *huge* in America. Hollywood seems to want to cash in on the people who listen to music because it’s sold in a Christian Bookstore with movies that get the same “Christian stamp of approval”. All they’d probably have to do is get a few big name “Christian” leaders to endorse their product and, sadly, blog reviews like this wouldn’t even phase their popularity anymore.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Thanks! I’m flattered by the comparison to Jack Handy.

      It’s true that there are a lot of professing Christians that aren’t interested in anything deep or heavy on the heart. Hollywood may understand their market more than I think; I’m certainly not open to being grossly incorrect on something like this as I don’t pretend to be any sort of expert whatsoever.

      Social Christianity IS huge in the US and Canada both, though it looks quite different in Canada than it does in the US. Still, a whole lot of professing Christians toss money at absolute idiocy or even filth.

      What I would say is that if theologically solid movies were made, everyone would love it and the shallow folks would likely not even notice.

  • Doug Evans

    If this were a Christian movie, why did they choose a leading man whose career was spent playing demonic entities?

    • Jas25

      Perhaps they were confused when he swapped faces.

      • Jeff Schlottmann

        Yeah they were trying to get the scientologist, but got the demon instead. wait is that how that would work?

        • Jas25

          Exactly.

    • Jeff Schlottmann

      People keep bringing that up as if it’s a surprise that there is a non believer in a so called christian movie. As far as i can tell, christian movies have always been chocked full of non believers.

      And to be fair to mr. Cage, in his whole movie career, how many times was he a demon? Maybe a handful? He has a lot of movie roles. I still like Con-Air.

      Kevin Sorbo spent how many seasons playing a demigod? I know you didnt mention him, but still…

      • Doug Evans

        I didn’t mention Kevin Sorbo because he’s not in the movie. Or did I miss him?

        • Jeff Schlottmann

          No you didnt. I named him as another actor in a christian movie who’s played ungodly characters. He was in God’s Not Dead. I saw him brought up in comparison on another site.

          • Doug Evans

            But we’re not discussing God’s Not Dead, try to stay on topic, this is a thread for Left Behind

          • Jeff Schlottmann

            You didnt understand. You discredited the movie based on which actor was in it and not for any other reason. And i was saying that its common to have unbelievers in christian movies. It was a direct response to your statement which makes me on topic. The kevin sorbo thing was just extra, but responding to the thing about mr. Cage’s demon portrayals.

            As far as Left Behind goes, i may see it eventually. But I’ve been avoiding the Hollywood movies with great vigor. Although the trailers alone are enough to deter me, i really enjoy Lyndon’s reviews. Definitely more than if I actually watched these movies.

    • mgm5215

      Cage played a Catholic knight in Season Of The Witch. He decided to play Rayford because his brother is a pastor.

      And his character in Ghost Rider is not a demon, but someone who sold his soul to the devil to save his father, and turned into his bounty hunter, but decided to use his curse to try to make good, not bad.

      • Lyndon Unger

        So Ghost Rider is, like, almost a Christian movie too! Awesome!

    • Samuel Robinson

      Clearly you don’t understand acting. Whatever he’s played before, is irrelevant to this role. Less actors in the original were christian and no one complained. Heck, it’s called acting, it means you can play the devil in 1 film, and God in another, and it works, because it’s ACTING!!!!

      • Jeff Schlottmann

        I believe george burns played both in one movie.

        • Lyndon Unger

          Yeah. The movie was “Oh God, You Devil!”

          Don’t ask me how I know that random fact.

        • Samuel Robinson

          Exactly, so people should stop using Cage’s past acting history as reason to avoid this film. It isn’t being written or directed by cage, he merely acts. So if they avoid this, they should avoid every movie and tv show, because they all feature non-christians.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Probably because all the guys who’ve actually played Satan himself were too expensive (i.e. Harvey Keitel, Jack Nicholson, Viggo Mortensen, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Gabriel Byrne, Tim Curry, etc.)

      • elainebitt

        I did not know Viggo Mortensen had played Lucifer, had to google it. You’re a fountain of information! 🙂

        • Lyndon Unger

          Ha! If only I could use my powers for good instead of random!

  • Reformed Raccoon

    The only review one needs to read!
    In an illustration of ironic contrasts, perhaps the writers could have employed the rebuke of a group of animals (say, a ‘thieving’ animal, *cough* raccoons) when the mob of people were acting like animals, and you know, thieving.

    • Lyndon Unger

      I’m trying to find some reason why you’re not writing scripts for Christian cinema.

      So far, I’ve got nothing.

  • Ray Adams

    Enjoyed the review. Almost like being there. At the movie, not the rapture. The plot synopsis was a delight. The humor, over my head. And the points decrying Hollywood’s inability to understand Christianity worth an “Amen!” But then, could they actually understand? Enough to still make money? Isn’t it their greed which guarantees their nearsightedness? Certainly they’ve been told – if not previously, then here!

    • Lyndon Unger

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Don’t worry Ray; I don’t get half my jokes either. I sometimes come back a few months later and read my own writing and wonder what I was talking about.

  • Johnny

    So you left behind $15 at the local cineplex then?

    • Lyndon Unger

      Well yeah, but I raptured a refill on my popcorn and drink. That’s gotta count for something, right?

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  • lumikey

    What I enjoy about these movies & the conversation that follows, is that people won’t watch it because they disagree with the theology or Christ wasn’t in it enough, but they will pay to see a movie with nudity, body parts flying all over the place & Jesus name mentioned a million times as a curse word! Isn’t there something hypocritical & humorous in that?

    • chrisleduc1

      Funny how everyone outside the church can see our hypocrisy, yet we are so blind to it! That’s why when doing evangelism and people tell me that they don’t come to church because of hypocrites, I tell them there is always room for one more! But seriously, great point! If only we were more critical about what we DO watch and endorse. I’ve heard it mentioned, to people who love the puritans, that the puritans would hate most of us, and what we watch, say and do. LOL. Anyway…

      • Jas25

        Another thing worth noting is that a person who believes that all men sin but it is wrong isn’t technically a hypocrite when they sin. They’re doing something wrong, but not living contrary to their own expectations.

        However, someone who believes there are no moral absolutes or that people are basically good and then turns around and judges Christians as not meeting the standards of “good” is completely double-minded.

        Now if someone is living self-righteously and judging everyone, but living an unrepentant life themselves, THAT’S when it’s okay to call someone a hypocrite. However, that doesn’t sound much like a Christian to me (though we allow far too much of this behavior without going through the steps outlined in Matthew 18, so I suppose we can’t blame the world for the confusion).

    • Jas25

      Depends on what you mean. It’s hypocritical to claim to value godly living and get a kick out of watching people torn to pieces, get naked, and take the Lord’s name in vain. However, there are situations where movies contain some of that and a Christian could still appreciate the movie. It’s hard to have a parable about the struggle between good versus evil without having evil in it.

      However, holding a movie that claims to represent Christian theology up to the standard set by said theology just makes sense. Nobody calls it hypocritical for someone to watch fantasy movies but to complain when a documentary gets historical facts wrong. The expectation is determined by the promised content. Anything else would be silly.

  • tovlogos

    Well, Lyndon — you cracked me up at least a half dozen times; though I never lost the impact of the seriousness of your intent.

    “…but rather that nobody shows any understanding about him whatsoever and people somehow “get right with God” in the movie without Christ or the gospel being a part of it.”

    This quote represents my disagreement with the Christian movies; not to mention the disrespect for God, and utter disrespect of Jesus.

    The positive comments were generous of you. More often than not, I’ve been tortured by biblical inaccuracies, and the fact that people take them as what the Bible actually says. Then I tell myself not to worry, all is well and under our Lord’s control. Splendid review.

    • Lyndon Unger

      I had my “positivity pants” on for the writing.

      I’ve been told that I’m far too negative, so I’m trying to be more smiles and cuddles.

      • tovlogos

        I disagree — I never saw you as “too negative.” I relate to you because the impact of the reality of this life is upon you; and it is to be taken seriously. Yet, let’s face it, some things are funny, especially when witticism is presented in good taste. True disciples know not to go too far. Thanks.

        • Lyndon Unger

          You’re welcome and Thank YOU!

          “True disciples know not to go too far” – I’d appreciate it if some of my non-fans would even acknowledge that much.

  • Dan Contreras

    After reading your post, I feel as though I’ve watched it already.

  • Rita

    In another blogpost (TCG) the movie review reverted into a discussion whether the rapture is biblical or not. And “dispensational” was in inverted commas. Furthermore the rapture was characterised as a “secret rapture”. I am not aware of the rapture as a secret and I do not think Darby ïnvented the rapture. I think a blog post on the biblical basis for the rapture would be appropriate at this time? Any thoughts on this.

    I am a premillinial dispensationalist.

  • Michael McClure

    Nicolas Cage is the pilot (Raymond Steele), if you are going to name characters in a movie, please get the name right. The character name that Nicolas Cage plays is Rayford nor Raymond.

    • Lyndon Unger

      I’m sorry. I don’t understand what you’re trying to say when you write:

      “The character name that Nicolas Cage plays is Rayford nor Raymond.”

      Were you trying to say “The character name that Nicolas Cage plays is NEITHER Rayford nor Raymond?”

      If it’s neither of those, what’s his name?

      Also, where did I say Rayford?

      • Michael McClure

        typo I meant the character name is Rayford not Raymond. You said his name is Raymond under the first point “The Movie in a Nutshell” – Nicolas Cage is the pilot (Raymond Steele – the biggest-name actor in the movie, though there are several familiar faces), and the other characters are Buck Williams (an investigative journalist), Chloe Steele (Ray’s daughter), Irene Steele (Ray’s wife), Remy Steele (Ray’s son) and Hattie Durham (the stewardess who Ray hopes to have a fling with). There are other characters, but they’re all somewhat minor and there as filler.

        • Lyndon Unger

          Yup. You caught the typo. The movie didn’t have English subtitles and I don’t remember Ray’s full name being mentioned; I remember him being called “Ray” most of the time.

          I was shamefully wrong and you caught me.

          If you would have caught the other 5 typos, 6 grammar errors and 6 violations of syntax, you would have won the “Mark of the beastly writing” contest that we were secretly holding…without telling anyone.

          I’d edit it, but then it would ruin this rather entertaining string of the comment thread (and remove the comedic irony of me pointing out your typo in a comment about my typo).

  • mgm5215

    The irony, is that the film is not a Hollywood production. It was made by the same studio who did the original Left Behind films, and the same producers, who are Christians, and worked on the script.

    The only difference with other Christian films is the budget, having well known actors (not only Cage, but also Lea Thompson, Verne Troyer, and the guy from The Blind Side), and a legend of movie stunts doing his first movie as a director.

    So it’s a weird mix. Personally, I think they wasted a chance of doing something better. Like introducing the characters from the other books and having them suffering the consequences of the Rapture. Or having someone like the Kendrick brothers directing the film. They know how to make Christian movies without making them preachy.

  • Hermes

    Gods not dead and heaven can wait

    • Lyndon Unger

      Pickup trucks.

  • The_Original

    It is Rayford, not Raymond.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Nope. I’m afraid you’re mistaken.

      The theater I was in had Swedish Subtitles, but lucky for me “Raymond” is the same på svenska as it is in English.

      • Michael McClure

        Official movie website and IMDb says the character name is Rayford.

      • The_Original

        His name in the book is Rayford. That is the name they used in the movie.

        • Lyndon Unger

          You do realize how silly it is to be making such a fuss over an understandable typo (i.e. the shortened version of “Rayford” and “Raymond” are the same)…and the movie which I saw in Canada probably didn’t actually have Swedish subtitles?

          You know it’s a miniscule typo and I’m just having a little fun with you two, right?

          Just to settle everyone’s nerves, I’ll do a minor edit.

          • The_Original

            Did you happen to read the books?

          • Lyndon Unger

            Nope.

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  • 4Commencefiring4

    I think, in the main, biblical movies generally fail for the same reason other movies based on books fail: the read is always better than the Hollywood adaptation. Even horror flicks are best when they don’t actually show the chainsaw amputations. Ever see the original 1963 “The Haunting”, starring Julie Harris? There’s hardly a scary sight in it, but you’ll be awake a long time afterwards. The mind beats the eye every time, whether it’s horror, sex, or mystery.

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  • Slim

    “- Chloe could have walked further down the road to Faithful Word AV1611 Free Will Baptist Church, gone in, and had a guy frantically run up to her yelling “Lady, you gotta go home and burn your cabbage patch kids! I locked mine in a trunk, and look at me now!”
    Help! I’ve fallen in the floor uncontrollably laughing and I can’t get up! What’s the number to call 911?
    Great as always. Thanks for making my day (Again!) Lyndon

    • Lyndon Unger

      Ha! I’m glad you approved!

      I’m always here to make your day!

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