Monday, April 11, 2016

Left Behind (2014)

Number Rolled: 45
Movie Name/Year: Left Behind (2014)
Tagline: Some were saved, and some were…
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Length: 110 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Stoney Lake Entertainment
Producer: Christopher Sean Brown, Bill Busbice Jr., Ed Clydesdale, Jason Hewitt, J. Young Kim, Paul Lalonde, John Patus, Willie Robertson, Michael Walker, J. David Williams, R. Bryan Wright
Director: Vic Armstrong
Writer: Jerry B. Jenkins, Tim LaHaye, Paul Lalonde, John Patus
Actors: Nicolas Cage, Chad Michael Murray, Lea Thompson, Nicky Whelan, Quinton Aaron, Cassi Thomson, Martin Klebba, Major Dodson, William Ragsdale, Jordin Sparks, Stephanie Honore, Gary Grubbs, Lance E. Nichols, Alec Rayme, Han Soto, Judd Lormand, Candice Michele Barley, Lolo Jones, Kamryn Johnson

Blurb from Netflix: After millions of people on Earth suddenly disappear, a pilot flying a plane stuck at 30,000 feet must find a way to ensure the passengers’ survival.

Selina’s Point of View:
So, I’ve been obsessively watching a new YouTube channel lately. This gamer, “InTheLittlewood” (channel: YOGSCAST Martyn), is hysterical. I’ve only been watching his Mario Maker videos and whenever there’s a bad level that drives him nuts, he has this saying: “balls to that.” I assume it’s some kind of British slang, possibly even wide spread, but he’s the only one I’ve ever heard using it.

What does that have to do with Left Behind?

Balls to that, that’s what.

This film was so bad. Chad Michael Murray (Agent Carter, Christmas Cupid, Gilmore Girls) and Cassi Thomson (Switched at Birth, Big Love, Cop Dog) were bright lights within the super preachy, super boring, darkness.

Now, don’t go ahead and start accusing me of just not liking it because it had a Christian theme. I don’t care about that stuff. I just watched Angels in the Outfield the other day and I still love it. That had a heavy Christian theme, it’s right there in the title. Look.

I had an issue with just how preachy Left Behind got, but you almost expect that from a rapture film.

The worst part, the part that made everything unforgiveable, was that it was just SO boring.  

I could barely concentrate because of that. I wanted to get into it because Murray and Thomson were really good. They are fine actors and they did great with what they had. Unfortunately, they didn’t have much.

I just can’t recommend this film.

Balls to that.

Cat’s Point of View:
We didn’t realize, at first, that this movie was a remake, or a reboot, of the story told in the Kirk Cameron (Tribulation Force, Fireproof, Saving Christmas) led cast of Left Behind: The Movie (2000). Both movies are based on the books by Jerry B. Jenkins (Tribulation Force, Midnight Clear, Though None Go With Me) and Rev. Tim LaHaye (Epicenter, What God Hath Wrought, Left Behind: World at War).

Before I get into my opinion on the film, let me first preface with the fact that I wanted to like this movie. Nicolas Cage (Next, Season of the Witch, Stolen) and Chad Michael Murray (To Write Love on Her Arms, Cavemen, Outlaws and Angels) in a Sci-Fi Thriller? Hell Yes!

Cage’s movies are hit or miss; but when he’s ‘in the zone,’ his movies can be outstanding. When you add Murray into the equation, my expectation just gets higher. I loved his work in One Tree Hill (2003-2012). It’s one of my favorite shows ever. (Don’t judge.) As a little ‘six degrees’ tidbit for you, this wasn’t his first time working with Nicky Whelan (Hall Pass, The Power of Few, Borrowed Moments). They both were in the Crackle series, CH:OS:EN (2013-2015).

I think that they did the best they could with what they had to work with – but this wasn’t their best work all the way around.

The premise in the Netflix blurb looked interesting – and reminded me a bit of the HBO show, The Leftovers (2014-). Though, this wasn’t exactly a Sci-Fi movie. It was too religion-centric. I’ll get back to that.

Vic Armstrong (Season of the Witch, A Sunday Horse, Eddie the Eagle) directed this film. He’s involved with the stunt teams or working as a second unit director or assistant director more often than not. Fun film fact for you – he was Harrison Ford’s (Firewall, Morning Glory, 42) stunt double in a good number of his movies in the 80’s.

With all of the beloved movies he’s been involved in over the decades he’s been behind the camera – I wanted more from this one.

I didn’t get it.

Sure the effects in this remake were better, and the plot was less jumpy and more concise – but overall it missed its mark.

Quite likely the source of my disconnect was the film’s preachy nature. It’s an evangelical work plain and simple – not a flight of fantasy or science fiction. I felt like I’d gone to church and they’d played the movie instead of a sermon – but not as fun as going to school and getting to watch a film instead of class work.

The references were thick throughout the whole film. I understand that it’s the point of the piece but it wasn’t marketed that way. Special effects and general technology differences with the 2000 movie aside, it seems like the original movie was packaged more honestly. It wasn’t as blatant throughout, but it did get a bit heavy handed late in the film.

I was left feeling a bit cheated and wishing that we’d come up with a different movie for our review this time around – but at the same time relieved that we got it out of the way so it won’t pop up in the future.

I won’t be recommending this one – and if anyone needs me; I’ll be over there in the corner listening to R.E.M’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine).”

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 2%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 40%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 1/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score1.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 2/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score1.5/5

P.S. Remake of a movie by the same name made in 2000 which was based on a book with the same name written by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye.

Movie Trailer:

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