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In this big-budget reboot of the popular Left Behind series from Tim Lahaye and Jerry B Jenkins, watch as the world begins to unfold when millions disappear off the face of the earth. Follow along with Rayford Steele (played by Nicolas Cage) and Buck Williams (Chad Michael Murray) as they try to unravel the mystery and discover where everyone went -- and what it means for the future of the world as a whole. As they begin to find out more about the truth, they begin to find a common element between all the people who disappeared. And as it becomes increasingly clear that the Christian rapture has occurred just as predicted in scripture, Rayford, Buck, and Chloe must try to figure out how to move on and what this means for the coming disasters. In Left Behind: The End Begins you will witness Rayford Steele try to control a plane full of restless people when dozens of people vanish off the plane without a trace, including every single child on board. As mass hysteria begins to ensue aboard the plane, it’s up to Rayford Steele to unravel the mystery and figure out not only to control the hysterical people aboard his plane… But how to land his plane at all! Left Behind: The End Begins is an extraordinary adaptation of the timeless book by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B Jenkins that is sure to be a hit with anyone who was a fan of the original 12-part book series.
Left Behind: The End Begins is based on the original books created by Tim Lahaye and written by Jerry B Jenkins back in the 1990s. This series took not only the Christian world, but the world as a whole by storm as it pioneered the genre of dispensationalism novels. The incredible Left Behind series showed a post-apocalyptic world where millions of people disappeared off the face of the earth, leaving the remaining in absolute chaos and panic. The film showed the Steele family, who contained a mother and son who were born again Christians, and a father and a daughter who were less convinced. When the mother and son disappear, along with every single Christian and child on the planet, they begin to wonder how they can continue on in this new world. Together, along with Buck Williams, an up and coming news reported, and the local church pastor Bruce (who was less of a believer than he led himself to believe), they must learn how to survive this new world… And what this whole situation means for their individual faiths.
This original book series took the world by storm, becoming one of the most popular Christian book series to have ever existed. With 12 books in the main series and several other spinoff books and a massive children series, the only place Left Behind could go from here would be a movie series. And so, shortly after the release of the movie series came the original three films in the Left Behind series, starring Kirk Cameron. These films were loose adaptations of the first three books in the Left Behind series. Although the films sold well and were incredible and enjoyable films, Tim Lahaye desired for a big budget adaptation of the first book to hit theatrical screens across the country. And so, in 2014, theaters released Left Behind: The End Begins, the modern reboot of the Left Behind series starring Nicolas Cage.
In this new and exciting theatrical release, we follow along with Rayford Steele, played by Nicolas Cage, and for a long portion of the film, we watch as he tries to keep control of the people in his cockpit. Rayford, a commercial airline pilot, signs up for a last minute flight and jets off to London. We can tell from early on in the film that Rayford’s relationship with his family is strained at best. His wife has accepted Christ at the local church, but Rayford is less than convinced that faith is really the answer. Because of this, it drives a wedge in the relationship between Rayford and his wife, and this causes him to go off on more airline trips, especially ones where he can be with flight attendant Hattie, a beautiful young woman who has turned his head despite him being a married man. Left Behind: The End Begins begins to give us the basis of the Steele family, showing us the difficulties and struggles in their various relationships.
It seems that the Steele family is headed for incredible struggle when all of the sudden disaster strikes. All of the sudden, in the blink of an eye, millions of people disappear off the earth -- including every single child in the entire world. This leads to mass chaos and a large portion of the film shows Rayford Steele trying to keep control of his passengers. In Left Behind: The End Begins, we begin to see panic in the airplane as families begin to notice that their spouses or children are gone. And when it becomes obvious that dozens of people have disappeared off the plane, people begin to panic. It doesn’t seem to make sense -- how can dozens of people vanish off a plane when they’re miles up in the air with no safe way in or out of the plane? As the mystery begins to unravel, it becomes increasingly clear that the Christian rapture has taken place. And this is only the beginning. As they learn, this marks the beginning of seven years of trial and tribulation. As Rayford, Buck, and Chloe begin to realize that they are in the final seven years of the world, they begin to see that it’s about to get much worse. Which side will they be on when Jesus returns? In the meantime, Rayford has more critical business as he discovers there is absolutely nowhere for him to land his plane -- and he’s running out of fuel fast!
After millions of people around the globe abruptly disappear without explanation, veteran pilot Ray Steele must fight to protect the passengers that remain on his flight.
I read a lot about this film, the events leading up to it, the lawsuit between Tim Lahaye and Cloud Ten Pictures, and I was extremely curious to see how this new film would be received. As the story goes, Lahaye claimed Cloud Ten Pictures breached their contract by not giving Left Behind: The Movie the full theatrical release that was expected, choosing to instead give it a smaller direct-to-video release. So, this was their opportunity to reboot the franchise, with 10 million dollars and a big name Nicolas Cage attached. What could go wrong?
Well, apparently, a lot. Unfortunately, while this film may have had a bigger budget, it was not well produced and the overall production quality was lackluster at best. While I appreciate the company trying to revive this franchise and stay faithful to the book, I struggle to give this film an overwhelmingly positive review. There were some good moments, and a few of the scenes post-rapture are rather compelling. Sadly, though, it doesn't completely live up to the hype, and I would honestly recommend the original Left Behind with Kirk Cameron over this one. (Posted on 7/6/15)