Left Behind (for Dear Cast and Crew)
November 5, 2015
— Chad Michael Murray, Christian movie, Dear Cast and Crew, End Times, feature film, film criticism, Lea Thompson, Left Behind, Nicolas Cage, Rapture
Dear Paul Lalonde, Co-Writer/Producer
You don’t know this, but you shaped my childhood in a large way. My father is super into End Times Prophecy, and my family used to watch This Week In Bible Prophecy (the show you co-hosted with your brother Peter), which disseminated how the weekly world news was actually fulfilling the prophecies of Revelation. My dad also read several of Tim LaHaye’s (co-author of the Left Behind series of novels) “non-fiction” works, so I am well-versed on your theological stance.
But I’m not here to debate that. I’m here to talk about your storytelling skills.
Somehow, I came into this movie without ever having read the novels or seeing the first trilogy of films based on them. I had fresh eyes. I also tried really hard not to let my now-atheistic beliefs bias me against your film.
But here’s the thing: despite the surprisingly competent – dare I say good – performances of the film’s stars, they really didn’t have much to work with. The only two things that really happen in the entire film are: 1) all the Christians and children suddenly disappear about halfway through, and 2) a plane almost crashes. That’s barely enough to sustain an episode of an hour-long television episode, let alone a 110-minute film (and I’m currently binge-watching the episodes of Supernatural dealing with the Apocalypse, so I should know).
Religious beliefs aside, both the Rapture (an event which, strangely, is never referred to in the film as such) and the Apocalypse are fascinating stories that offer a lot of potential. It’s a shame you wasted them here. Maybe that’s the fault of Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins – like I said, I haven’t read the source material, so I don’t know what you were working with – but, as the co-writer AND the producer, you had the opportunity to do more.
One final aside: I know the producers make the final decision when it comes to the score, so you should know that it’s pretty shlocky at times.
Return to Sender (2 stars)
Chad Michael Murray