Tuesday, November 04, 2014

"No airline attendant would wear a blouse two sizes too small."--On the new Left Behind film

(Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On, October 16, 2014)

Quite the crash and burn, for the new Left Behind film starring Nicolas Cage, as it were.

According to the movie grosses site, Indiewire, as I write, Left Behind has dropped to number 10 on their list of movie grosses, earning just under $ 3 million in revenue in its second week of release.

I myself went to see it twice, the first time in order to make sure that it didn't disappear from theaters before I had a chance to see it. This was on the Saturday of the first week that it was out and there were nine people in the theater.

Guess that any hopes by the producer Paul Lalonde that Cage would give the film a boost at the box officer haven't been borne out yet.

Left Behind is getting a bit of a beating on the Internet as well from both "sides".

More liberal Christians are looking askance at what they see as the film's view of the "end times" . There'll be no Rapture or "end times'. The "end times took place either allegorically or back in the times of the Apostles.

More conservative onlookers such as Todd Friel, decried Left Behind as not being a Christian film, "at all".

His highlighted radio clip for October 6 2014 saw "nothing Christian about it [the film]."


He decried the lack of a Christian witness. Cage's suit looked like it was bought at Goodwill, and such. "I'd expect a film about the Rapture to be about the one doing the Rapturing," he added.

Not that Mr. Friel should have been surprised. Paul Lalonde did warn him, and other conservative Christians, if they read between the lines, in this WND interview.


WND reported (You'll need to scroll down):

But as more mainstream actors find their way into the film, WND asked, did the biblical content get pushed out?

“This movie focuses on the day of the Rapture, so there really isn’t any huge opportunity for anyone to do evangelizing, but the Christian worldview is there,” Lalonde said. “The message is there. Everybody who is watching knows it was the Rapture; they know where those people went; they know why those people left and why those who were left behind were left behind, so there is no attempt to hide the biblical theme of the movie.

“Yet it’s not in-your-face evangelism, because that’s specifically something I was trying to temper for a more mainstream audience,” he continued. “We wanted to hold true to the source material of the ‘Left Behind’ books, ultimately to hold true to the Scriptures and make sure we didn’t change any of the biblical realities.

But the funny thing is that Paul Lalonde used to evangelize for a living. Back in the '80s and early 90s, he and his brother Peter used to have a TV show on the Vision TV channel in Canada--This Week in Bible Prophecy. I used to watch it.

It concentrated on Bible prophecy, but was evangelistic too. Some clips of his videos are now on YouTube.

Back then, Peter was usually clean-shaven in those years, his brother Paul, now the filmmaker, with facial hair. Peter seemed to do most of the talking.

This is a link to a video that they sold, Front Row Seats. This YouTube clip is part 6 of 6. Start watching at 4:20 where brother Peter has no problem at all preaching first to the believer and then at 6:12 to the unsaved.


"Maybe you're not a believer..." Peter begins. 7:45 "...He is calling out right now for you to make a commitment to him..." and then he explains really quickly in a few seconds, how.
Maybe you'd want to take more than two minutes to being someone to Christ, but here the video is building up to this. In the new Left Behind Paul can't be bothered.
If Paul Lalonde thought he or his brother Peter could explain salvation briefly back then, why can't he do it briefly now. Or at least explain why the Rapture happens.

This video is not a fluke. I own another video from around that time from This Week... called Left Behind. In it appears several Bible prophecy experts such as Hal Lindsey and Dave Breese. It is designed for people who have missed the Rapture to explain what is going on. (Nothing to do with the novel.)

Sorry, this is not online, but it has a salvation appeal at the end as well.

What may be interesting about that particular Left Behind video is that it starts with a panicky man rushing in the door after the Rapture has happened. He watches cheesy stock footage of things that may happen after the Rapture on "TV news", and then puts a video into his VCR with the various explanations from teachers.

Couldn't the new Left Behind have started this way or had a character explain to Nicolas Cage's character what had happened and why?

Judging by the videos Paul Lalonde used to make with his brother Peter, this appeal to movie viewers to get saved and thereby miss all the things that Cage's character is going through, could have been taken care of in the Cage film in five minutes or less.

Paul Lalonde could have given Peter Lalonde a five minute bit part in the new movie to explain all this. Being the producer and all. But he didn't.

Look again at his WND quotes. He didn't "have time" to explain the Biblical background.

Well then, why did you spend several *years* on a Canadian TV show explaining about the "end times" and why people needed to turn to Jesus if that was not, or rather remains, crucial?

It's not as if the new Film that Paul Lalonde made, is much help.

I like Nicolas Cage. I have a fondness for so-bad-they-are-good movies. So, I might be letting things slide and not observe, as my mother did, "No airline attendant would wear a blouse two sizes too small?"

She said another good comment too: "Is this an airplane disaster film, or a God film?"

That's the issue. Paul Lalonde, I presume, is born again. But he makes it difficult for the viewers of his film to become born again as well?

The thing I most liked about the new Left Behind film is that it does a good job of giving the views of non-Christian characters. The daughter sees an evangelistic woman who quotes Matthew 24:7 is seen as a "wacko." Those "left behind" on the airplane raise all kinds of crazy speculation about what happened to the others. Panic and crashes happen. All well acted.

But Paul Lalonde chose to leave some things obscure. The characters eventually figure out that the "vanished"are all children or Christians.

Why specifically Christians have left remains a mystery. The closest they come is a short scene with a pastor who knew what to say, but was left behind. "You have to believe," he briefly says.

Believe what? Believe in who? Why?

All left unanswered. But there is a bus and plane crash. 'Cause Paul Lalonde is a film maker now, you know.

This problem with the film is reinforced by this comment on the Left Behind fan page on Facebook.

"Auntie Lori" writes this:

"Auntie Lori will be seeing it again.. and was given an idea... take some tracts, maybe try and speak with a person or two AFTER the movie Like · Reply · 124 · October 6 at 2:21pm"

Great idea. But shouldn't the film have done this, so we don't need to?

And what if Jesus tarries before the Rapture happens/ Say 20-30 years. And then the Rapture happens and someone remembers that they saw an old Nicolas Cage movie on millions of people disappearing.

How helpful would the new Left Behind film be to this person then? Presumably there won't be a lot of people around to say. "Oh, they forgot this this, this and you need to know.." after the Rapture.

1 Peter 4:16 comes to mind for Christian filmmakers, like Paul Lalonde, who should realize they really oughta have more of a witness, but are skittish about it.

I quite enjoyed the film, But given the subject matter, Left Behind needed to be a little more. Not everyone who sees it will be born again .