Saturday, October 4, 2014

Left Behind: The End Begins - A Review of Hollywood's Lastest Reboot of an End Times Classic


4 October 2014: Later today I will be posting a review of the just released and rebooted Left Behind: The End Begins. This movie is a big-budget ($18 million total outlay) Stoney Lake Entertainment and Cloud Ten co-production about the Harpazo and its incomprehensible aftermath based upon the highly acclaimed and best-selling 12-novel series of books authored by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye. The original Left Behind series of book was published in 32 languages totaling 62 million copies. In a departure from the original movie screenplay the role of Nicolae Carpathia (the Antichrist) has been dropped from this initial reboot. However, this omission is an instant bell-ringer that a sequel will be forthcoming. In a little further digging it has been confirmed that according to Paul LaLonde two additional Left Behind reboot sequels are currently planned with the second approved for production prior to last evening's opening screening in 1,700 theaters across the USA.

In the past couple of weeks or so I began to notice via increasing numbers of Email submissions and not-fit-to-publish comments to this Eschatology Today blog that the secular, un-saved natives as well as the hard-core Harpazo-denying allegedly Christian elements and other assorted Pre-70th Week Rapture scoffers within this society were becoming increasingly restless and irritable. Why the sudden and virulent anti-Harpazo sentiment, so I wondered. Then I stumbled upon the fact that Google and other search-engine queries were keying on keywords related to specific Christian themes such as rapture, harpazo, end times, tribulation, et cetera.  That's when I discovered through the web that this rebooted Left Behind movie was to be released on the eve of Yom Kippur 2014. So all of the nay-saying and anti-Harpazo rubbish that has appeared in my inbox of late is certainly due to the increasingly frayed nerves of those who are so intent on denying what the Lord has promised to His faithful Bride-to-be (John 14:3; Matthew 24:30-31). This movie is apparently the primary cause for the irrelevant yet preemptive angst being manifested by the deniers and the un-saved critics.

Review

Now that I have seen Left Behind: The End Begins I have to say right off the bat that the overall production quality was fairly good, even though the sets were limited to the same commercial aircraft sound stage set that was used in the TV series Lost and some on-location filming in the New York City metropolitan region. One shortcoming I found was the lack of any truly significant depiction of the global nature of the Harpazo. The global aspect is mentioned a couple of times very briefly, but perhaps that's a theme for most robust treatment in the obviously planned sequels. This movie deals almost exclusively with about 7 hours of time on the unknown day and hour when the Harpazo occurs: one hour prior, and six hours of the immediate aftermath.

This screenplay version of Left Behind is first and foremost a Christian family movie. Family is without question the central theme with the central characters of the Steele family clearly Spiritually divided between the born-again mother (Irene Steele/Lea Thompson) and the unsaved father (Rayford Steele/Nichols Cage) and daughter (Chloe Steele/Cassi Thomson). A young son (Raymie Steele/Major Dodson) is clearly under the age of accountability and is caught up in the Harpazo as are all other children on the face of the Earth. The instantaneous disappearance of millions of children plays as hard as the Steele family on the verge of break-up due to the dynamic between the saved Bride of Christ wife and unsaved, philandering husband.

The movie delivers big time on the inevitability of the Harpazo occurring, but leaves the necessity of one's salvation in Jesus Christ as the irreplaceable ticket for admittance not fully explored. A pair of tickets for father and daughter to an event missed are symbolically presented in the film - most, particularly the unsaved, will likely miss this visual simile altogether. However, the point is made when "John 3:16" is found inscribed on the face of the missing co-pilots wristwatch, or Irene Steele's personal Bible and the list of those loved ones whose salvation she prays for is found tucked inside. One very poignant moment also occurs when the pastor (Pastor Barnes/Lance Nichols) of the Steele family's church is found grief stricken with remorse in a church sanctuary pew. While Pastor Barnes knew the Bible's Divine and inerrant words forwards and backwards and preached them from the pulpit every week, he did not truly believe them in his heart, and accordingly he had never received Jesus or the Holy Spirit; he suddenly found himself left behind.

The focus with this first reboot installment of the Left Behind series is the imperative of getting your family one with God before this inevitable day and hour arrives. Everything else will be dealt with in the aftermath as the sequels will ultimately have to deal with them as the 70th Week progresses. This movie is not about the end of the world as we know it, but the beginning of the end of the world as we knew it from the Lord's prophetic word.

Take one or more of your loved ones to see Left Behind as soon as possible!

I conclude this post with Pastor John Hagee's timely sermon.

15 comments:

hartdawg said...

OK, sean, I'll go see it today. I was going to see it last night but I was so tired I passed out early. I saw an interview with Nicholas cage and he said about the movie, "I think it is a good family movie and I'm hoping what was accomplished is families coming together" my thinking was how sad it is that he completely missed the point. I'll let you know what I think after I see the movie. I'm not endorsing it until I see it.

Sean Osborne said...

I have a feeling you may change your mind about thinking that Nicholas Cage missed the point.

On the contrary, he got the point of this film spot on.

hartdawg said...

Really? I'm sure glad to hear that. I actually think that the report only showed clips of the interview. If he got the point now, after the harpazo occurs he'll really have the point. On the west coast we're a few hours behind you so the showing I'm going to is in a few hours

Sean Osborne said...

When Nicholas cage said ""I think it is a good family movie and I'm hoping what was accomplished is families coming together" he was spot-on correct about the point of this film.

The point of this film is about families; about the need to bring the entire family into God's family so that the events depicted in this film do not happen to families when the Harpazo actually does occur.

Rhonda said...

I just got home from seeing the movie and thought it was very good.
I believe you are correct Sean in saying the point of the movie is about families being together. I think an obvious second point is being a Christian was a good thing after all. The movie didn't say you had to believe that Jesus' work on the cross is what saves but hopefully the next movies go there.
A few parts were predictable but that's hard not to do when you already know the ending. ha ha
I'm ready to go:)

Sean Osborne said...

Rhonda,

Yes, I think Jesus' work will be far greater central theme in the first sequel to this reboot; Irene Steele's salvation prayer list will be fulfilled in dramatic fashion.

mark3210 said...

Sean,

The media must really hate films like this.

Rotten Tomatoes is showing only 1 positive review out of 48!

Sean Osborne said...

Actually, they hate God's Word, and they hate us because we are Jesus' name sake.

"And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved." - Matthew 10:22

What they think is irrelevant, but how we love them is everything because it is Christlike.

NG said...

Living in Europe I am afraid I won't see this movie in theater. Not even sure it will be available on DVD. It's too bad but this is the mentality here in secular post-modern Europe.

Sean Osborne said...

NG,

This movie is playing in Europe.

The UK release date was on 4 OCT; the film is distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films. The DVD release date in UK is scheduled in the FEB-MAR 2015 time-frame.

It will begin in the Netherlands on 20 November 2014, other countries sure to follow.

Other foreign release dates: Russia (as 'Оставленные'), Ukraine and Singapore (2 OCT);
Philippines (8 OCT);
Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon and Malaysia (all Muslim countries) (9 OCT);
Taiwan (17 OCT);
Brazil as "O Apocalipse" (23 OCT).

Hungary also under the name 'Az Otthagyottak' date TBD.

hartdawg said...

Well, I didn't get to see it over the weekend, but I finally saw it tonight. I agree for the most part with your assessment. I found no inaccuracies but I also found no clear presentation of the gospel. Another thing I must say, I hope this isn't just a Christian movie that only Christians go see. Hopefully a lot of non Christians will see it and hopefully there will be a clear presentation of the gospel in the sequels. On a final note, I really like the song they played at the end "I wish we'd all been ready". It reminds be of the thief in the night movies back in the 70s. Do you remember those?

NG said...

Thanks Sean. Living in Geneva, Switzerland but a few steps away from border with France I hope the movie will be available here too.

Sean Osborne said...

hartdawg,

I'm sure you know this is also a movie that Christians (and/or church groups) are supposed to take their unsaved friend(s) to see.

The song at the end of the movie is basically the lead-in for the altar call-to-redemption-in-Christ after the sermon.

This movie shows only the Harpazo, the Christian believer witnesses the Gospel of Christ to the unsaved in the theater or in discussion thereafter, to answer the question of why Irene and Raymie Steele and million of people around the world were taken while so many millions were Left behind.

Sequels will present more of the Gospel I am sure. However, there no way a Left Behind series movie can cover all aspects in an hour and a half presentation without some compromises in the screenplay. The original had over a dozen spin-off movies in a couple different genres.

For example, the Left behind: Apocalypse series has a cut-away military themed episode where there is ongoing warfare on the Syrian-Turkish border involving American boots on the ground (75th Army Ranger regiment) in the fight... when suddenly the Harpazo occurs. This episode is like a scene out of the war with IS that is building as we speak in this exact same region.

hartdawg said...

I remember the apocalypse series. Actually, there have been several left behind series , thief in the night by mark IV productions in the 70s, I actually have all 4 of the movies that they made, the apocalypse series, they play those on tbn from time to time, the moment after...I'm hoping that this one makes sequels that cover the entirety of the 70th week. As far as covering all aspects of the gospel without compromise to the screenplay, I know exactly what you mean. I hope we don't have to wait years for the sequel

jmoll106 said...

I watched the movie Wednesday night and I brought a young christian with me. I thought the movie was well done and I liked the portrayal of surprise that a loving God would leave some behind. That "I'm good" mentality is so prevalent in society it opens the door for discussion on who's forgiven and who's not. I pray christian's will be ready to share the good news of our Lord Jesus.
Even so. Come Lord Jesus