Lately, it seems Nicolas Cage has been ribbed to near career death with all his movies and his overly familiar acting style. Perhaps it doesn’t help that career when you see the poster for “Left Behind” and Cage looking intensely into the camera as shots of a burning city blaze off in the distance. So it is with a more mainstream take on the “Left Behind” series that now perhaps turns into a movie that resembles many other Nicolas Cage movies. Then again, we may be surprised that Hollywood found a way to deal with Revelation in the Christian bible and turn it into something all can relate to.
When it comes to The Rapture, you’re obviously not going to find complete agreement among Christians whether it’s real. From my own personal perspective, I think it’s a misinterpretation based on the confused wording of different bible editions. This isn’t to take away from the reality that the biblical “End Times” seem to be happening (or starting) now and the idea that all of us could play a part in making it happen or at least observe it as it unfolds.
It’s that very idea and questioning what we’d do if it all unfolded in a short time where a more mainstream take on the “Left Behind” series could be something interesting. The psychological reaction may provide more insight than the more elaborate speculation brought on in the original “Left Behind” movies that found a successful (yet critically lambasted) indie niche starting in 2000. With the prior three films snubbed by the original writer of the books, Tim LaHaye, there was good reason based on the clunky dialogue plaguing the movies. After a lawsuit years ago, LaHaye vowed to remake the movies into something more worthwhile and not ultimately mocked.
You have to give credit to LaHaye for wanting a compelling film since the books are far better written than the movies ever managed. And it must be frustrating with the continual stigma in Hollywood that any movie with a Christian theme has to be contrived with awful dialogue. Then again, some people think of that in many Nicolas Cage movies, so you have to wonder if LaHaye is worried yet again.
Will they get it right so we can finally see a movie that balances Christian predictions with a more mainstream action frame of mind? It hasn’t been done often in an action film.
Mixing Christian Views with Mainstream Action
While many cite the “Lord of the Rings” saga as the ultimate in Christian allegory, it’s still hidden enough where it isn’t obvious. The same with the movie adaptations of C.S. Lewis’s “Narnia Chronicles”, which may not continue due to waning box office and strong adherents to the unbeatable books.
It’s a much stranger balance to have a film that refers to real biblical situations unfolding with A-list stars. This becomes even more surreal when you have Nicolas Cage at the helm. Based on how the rebooted “Left Behind” is put together, it’s going to focus on those apparently ignorant to what’s happening and become the ones said to be left behind to suffer here on Earth. No doubt this involved having to tone down direct references to biblical text and focus more on the outsider point of view as a more astute angle.
If anything had to be done to reboot the series, it had to be done strictly from the point of view of those observing rather than focusing on characters already in the know. You have to hope news of The Rapture won’t be uttered until later in the film so we can experience characters learning what’s happening slowly. It’s a situation we’d expect when a massive spiritual event happens out of the blue and doesn’t add up to what people were expecting.
The more interesting take would be the Second Coming and the immediate reaction of the populace all around us. Hollywood has yet to take on such a thing, though it could be coming later if “Left Behind” happens to catch on.
Regardless, it’s probably going to be a difficult sell for many, particularly with the prior “Left Behind” movies possibly setting a longstanding public stigma on the series. Also, Nicolas Cage in epic disaster movies doesn’t always seem to fit his style when many of us grew up watching him in more quirky indie character studies.
The collision of the Cage rage style with controversial Christian themes is a mix that could be brilliant or terrible. Even if you remove The Rapture plot point, the basic plot idea is already terrifying enough in a “Twilight Zone” way. Perhaps the film could have been better leaving what’s happening up for interpretation, which may have already been the unheeded advisement of story doctors.