Left Behind is a mess of a film with bad acting, terribly dialogue and an all-around poorly written screenplay. It’s also apparent why Nicolas Cage took on this role, which he mostly slept walked through, as he obviously needed to pay off the IRS, a mortgage and others odds and ends. I get what the filmmakers were going after but it comes off as amateurish and had more unintentional funny moments more than anything.
Genre(s): Drama, Action
Entertainment One | PG13 – 111 min. – $34.99 | January 6, 2015
THE MOVIE – 1.0/5
First, I’m not approaching Left Behind from a religious point-of-view. Much like a movie adapted from a novel or television series or some other source, I judge based on the final product and based on that, this is simply a piece of crap through and through.
The first 20-minutes of the film consist of introducing us to banal and thinly written characters: Chloe (CASSI THOMSON) is returning home after some time to celebrate her father’s, airline pilot Raymond Steele (NICHOLAS CAGE), birthday but learns at the airport that he was called away on a last minute flight to London. So, being at the airport she decides to surprise him. Meanwhile, we learn good ole’ Raymond is about to become involved in an affair with an airline stewardess (NICKY WHELAN) but upon seeing his daughter, clumsily covers it up as the pair discuss, in a plethora of exposition, the mother and wife’s newfound religion over the past year and attempts to “save” them from some kind of upcoming event.
During this time, we also are introduced to famous investigative reporter Cameron “Buck” Williams (CHAD MICHAEL MURRAY) who, prior, was saved by Chloe from a religious nut blasting him for not being a Bible reader (or something like that). This only exists mainly to make a connection between Buck and Chloe and a half-baked romance as Buck is on the flight piloted by Raymond.
After Chloe has another fight with her mother over religion, she takes her little bro to the mall… and then it happened. After a shattering thump, her brother literally disappears in her arms (as they had been embracing in a hug) and many others in the mall also are gone. Chloe in a panic tries to search for him and upon going outside, finds chaos and even a propeller plane crashes into her car. She attempts to find her mother back home but, not surprising to anybody, has also disappeared.
Back on the jet flying 30,000 feet up, many passengers are also gone including the plane’s co-pilot, leaving mass confusion and hysteria. Steele tries his best to calm everyone down, and does so dropping cabin pressure (or something).
That’s really the story in a nutshell. Yeah, there’s some Airport like subplot as the plane is running out of fuel compounded by clipping another plane that was pilot-less while Chloe on the ground, after making contact with her father, attempts to help out land the plane as both NYC airports were closed and runways swamped with airplanes.
I can’t go so far as to say Left Behind is the so bad it’s good but there’s some utterly laughable moments from a clearly photoshopped family picture with Cage seemingly inserted behind his “family.” Add that to some atrocious direction, terrible dialogue and an all around poorly written screenplay that attempts to make it some kind of a character drama with the rapture a secondary event.
I won’t elaborate on the supporting cast, though Cassi Thomson is a cutie, but Nic Cage’s involvement in this project was perplexing and it’s clear, even based on the Blu-ray/DVD artwork, that he had some debts to pay because he more or less sleepwalks through his role, albeit still was a professional delivering his lines well enough and oddly a straight face. If you want to see the Wicker Man or even Gone in 60 Seconds Cage, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Left Behind, based on the best-selling novel by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, was helmed by Vic Armstrong, who has primarily been a second unit director and stunt coordinator working on a variety of projects from Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit to The Amazing Spider-Man and Thor to name a few. Stylistically he’s kind of reminded me of Stuart Baird: knows how to point and shoot but little to no flair or energy behind it all.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover.
Behind the Scenes Featurette (19:01; HD) – Here we get some interviews with members of the cast and crew set against some behind-the-scenes footage. It’s actually not bad and far better than I expected from a film like this.
Behind the Scenes Slideshow (3:14; HD) are some production stills set against a gospel song.
Cast & Crew Interviews (31:24; HD) offers footage from just about everybody involved: Nicolas Cage (Raymond Steele), Chad Michael Murray (Cameron Williams), Cassi Thomson (Chloe), Nicky Whelan (Hattie)), Jordin Sparks (Shasta), Alec Rayme (Hassid), Paul Lalonde (writer) and Vic Armstrong (director).
Under Author’s Reflections, Tim LaHaye (2:18; HD) and Jerry B. Jenkins (2:15; HD) reflect on this adaption of their best-selling novel.
Theatrical Trailer (1:38; HD)
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Left Behind experiences the rapture but instead of going to Heaven it goes onto Blu-ray presented with a 1080p high-definition transfer and in its original 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio. The picture itself is unremarkable yet decent enough with good detail levels and colors appear to be even and doesn’t seem oversaturated.
AUDIO – 3.5/5
Shockingly, despite this being 2015, for some reason this movie only comes with a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track which is serviceable but hardly dynamic. With this track, the dialogue levels are fine and some of the more ambient noises do comes through well enough yet when we get to the heavier action scenes, it shows the track’s limitations, but even so, it’s good enough but wish E One would’ve just paid for the TrueHD or DTS-HD MA upgrade.
OVERALL – 1.25/5
Overall, Left Behind is a mess of a film with bad acting, terribly dialogue and an all-around poorly written screenplay. It’s also apparent why Nicolas Cage took on this role, which he mostly slept walked through, as he obviously needed to pay off the IRS, a mortgage and others odds and ends. I get what the filmmakers were going after but it comes off as amateurish and had more unintentional funny moments more than anything. The Blu-ray released by Entertainment One has a decent video transfer, adequate audio (despite being DD 5.1) and a fair share of bonus material to peruse.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.