Left Behind was sold to us as a disaster movie with only a soupçon of religion included in it to benefit the film's big concept. We were promised mostly CGI destruction with some Nicolas Cage thrown in and that didn't sound too bad, even if the film itself looked ridiculous.
And ridiculous it is!
Ah if only that was this movie's biggest flaw...
If you don't already know, the film follows a pilot (Cage) fly a plane while, everywhere, the Rapture is taking place: people are disappearing out of their clothes leaving chaos to settle on the Earth. While that may sound entertainingly apocalyptic, Left Behind makes it feel about as plausible and threatening as that event did in Seth Rogen comedy This Is The End, a far superior film in every single way, I should point out. The disaster part of the movie doesn't kick off until half an hour of mostly Cage-less exposition where the pilot's daughter Chloe (a godawful Cassi Thomson) has sleep-inducing discussions with good-looking (if slightly creepy) reporter Cameron (Chad Michael Murray) about God, the universe and all kinds of big subjects the writers are nowhere near smart enough to pull off.
I've seen Beavis and Butthead episodes with bigger insights on life.
Finally, we cut to what's going on in the plane which has just taken off and follow how the lovely bunch of people in First Class (I kid you not) are dealing with the fact that some of their loved ones have vanished all of a sudden and how the plane could basically crash at any moment. What follows is an impressively awful bunch of performances from all involved which make Snakes On A Plane feel like Oscar-bait. The clichés come thick and fast, so does the cheese, and everyone takes themselves super-seriously which makes the film basically unwatchable. Think Birdemic on a big budget, minus the birds. Some fun can be had from the bad acting and the ghastly lines those poor actors are forced to speak but this so-bad-it's-good vibe is short-lived since the movie goes on and on, turning more and more into a bad Sunday school lesson and making its hour-and-a-half running time feel like two-and-a-half hours.
You can almost see Nicolas Cage's soul dying on screen.
Some of the characters we're subjected to include a confrontational (read Atheist) little person, a wrongly persecuted Muslim man, a crazy African-American woman, an Australian junkie, a boorish Southern businessman, a senile old lady, a sexy stewardess and good old Cameron, whose coverage of the whole event reeks of insensitivity and makes him completely unlikable throughout. The whole plane-needs-to-land scenario is predictable but that's only because it's been done in movies about a thousand times. And as for the CGI carnage we were promised, it's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it affair plus the visual effects are terrible so if that's what you're here for: RUN.
I could go on but suffice it to say that if there was a movie which could make me rethink my undying love for The Cage, then this is it! How/why he got involved in Left Behind is a mystery as anyone in their right mind would get about halfway through the script and promptly throw it out the window.
Yes: it's worse than you think.
Better left behind, indeed.