Monday 19 January 2015

Left Behind

Out now on Blu-Ray and DVD, Left Behind is an adaptation of the super popular book series of the same name. It deals with the rapture and boy is it preachy. Left Behind got destroyed by critics on its release. But it can’t be that bad, can it? I mean, it’s got Nicolas Cage in it and he’s always hilarious.

Going into a movie about the rapture, a movie in which all religious people are sucked up to heaven and the others are left to rot on Earth, you know that it will certainly have a biblical message behind it. But how heavy-handed and badly executed the conveying of that message is, has to be witnessed to be believed. But we’ll get back to that. The movie opens with Cage’s daughter returning home for his birthday. But he doesn’t want to spend it with his newly converted, super religious wife Lea Thompson (“If she’s left me for another man, it might as well be Jesus.”) He uses his job as a pilot to get out of there, flying off to London and disappointing his daughter. 

Now I wish I could say “BAM! And then The Rapture happens!” but it doesn’t. The daughter sits around in the airport talking about her belief (or lack thereof) in God with cut-price Jai Courtney. This is where the sloppy message first rears it’s ugly head. If you don’t believe fully in religion, expect to be LEFT BEHIND (huh, huh?) with Nicolas Cage and the rest of them. This boring talking and walking is followed by more talking, then walking to the mall. It all lasts about forty minutes. By the time they reach the mall and witness a surreal display of surprise break-dancers you’re wishing for the rapture to happen.

By the time the rapture happens you don’t care. The movie has already secured itself a place on the “worst movies ever” list. The film then see’s the daughter running around a few streets as extras scream and wave their hands in the air. Considering millions of people just up and vanished, it all looks sort of normal. Ok so a car crashes and a guy gets shot. It’s all very lazy and extremely cheap. Nicolas Cage on the other hand is stuck in a plane over the Atlantic surrounded by the most annoying, one note characters I’ve ever seen. First there is a foreign man who everyone suspects is a terrorist and yes that comes across as racist as it sounds. It feels offensive just watching it and his sole purpose seems to be to say “Look! Even the nice people of other religions get left behind. You better worship the right gods!” It leaves a sick taste in your mouth watching it and you wonder how anyone involved in this film could think this was a good idea. Also on the plane is a dwarf. And gee I hope you like the sight of a little person falling down an inflatable slide! Because that’s the sort of comedy you’re going to be getting with Left Behind. Also apparently hilarious according to the writer of Left Behind, an elderly woman with extremely severe dementia getting one of our protagonists confused with Frank Sinatra. A laugh riot. Although the sight of people vanishing and comically leaving their clothes behind is in fact hilarious.

I really hope the paycheck was good on this movie for the actors to degrade themselves so much. Then again I can only imagine the vast majority of the $15 million dollar budget was spent on the salaries because it definitely did not go on the special effects. They are not the worst I’ve ever seen, but they’re distractingly bad nonetheless.

The special effects are hardly surprising however. The whole movie has an air of “TV movie” about it. From the shoddy acting to the crappy sets to the abysmal music. And I expected more. The director is Vic Armstrong, possibly the most prolific stuntman in history. I expected one good scene, but nope it’s all awful. And Nic Cage just looks bored. I defend him as the most entertaining actor working in Hollywood today, even when it’s bad it’s great to watch. But in this he looks like he wants to get his paycheck, crawl into a hole and forget this atrocity ever happened. And I hope the money buys him a down payment on another castle, I really do.

The movie does often have a so bad it’s good quality to it at times, but then it disappears behind a cloud of confused religious propaganda. Every single aspect of Left Behind is atrocious. It is not even for Cage’s die-hard fans (but we still love you Nic!). It’s easily one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen both Baby Geniuses films.

It’s an insulting film, but I’m sure it’d make an amazing drinking game. Left Behind gets zero stars.


Jack Bumby

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