Steve Bremner

Author, Podcaster & Writing Coach

My Favorite Bad Reviews of The New Left Behind MovieThis post is a 7 min read

 

Bad Reviews Left BehindThe new Left Behind movie premieres in most cities today, and already last night critics who’ve seen it were posting their reviews online. For the most part they’re giving it an absolute trouncing.

So far at the time of writing this, it has a 6% rating 3% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That means 97 percent of the people who’ve seen it and reviewed have not given it a very favorable review! That’s not just bad. That’s Superman 4 bad!

Yesterday I got the brilliant idea to write some kind of blog post (which I might still write later) to commemorate this movie we’ve all been waiting for like a candy addict in a dentist’s office. Then I realized I can’t. I just can’t, nor have I found time. Not when way too many people have already said it better than I can.

We’ve seen blog posts show up in our Twitter and Facebook news feeds showing articles with clever titles like “The New Left Behind Movie Should Be Left Behind” and clever (or not so clever) plays on the title like that.

So instead of writing my own blog post and just throwing a penny into the lake of commentary out there about this subject online, I thought I’d be lazy and just curate the best commentary and lines from reviews I’ve come across.

Now you may be thinking, Steve, you sure do have an awful lot of time on your hands. Do you just sit on the internet all day looking for these?

Nope.

They’re flooding my newsfeed by both well-meaning friends who are sincerely promoting this movie and viewing the bad reviews as persecution for the faith (as opposed to mockery for a poorly done movie based on a poorly written books). Or other post-tribulationists or preterists having a good laugh at the commentary that they rightly view as being an accurate take on both the movie’s quality and bad theology. That and someone shared this link with me from Metacritic, compiling a lot of them in one place.

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Quite entertaining reviews.

Here are some of the best and/or funniest lines from both mainstream reviewers and Christian reviewers. Here we go:

“The Rapture is a piker in this film; of its reported $16 million budget, roughly $15 million appears to have gone to Cage on a dare that he maintain a straight face.” –Review: ‘Left Behind’ 0 stars, by Michael Philipps of the Chicago Tribune

“But when one character says, “I’m afraid it’s only the beginning,” it comes off less as a warning and more as a threat to moviegoers.” – Left Behind Doesn’t Have a Prayer by Brian Truitt, USA Today

“You know a movie’s in trouble when the extras are incompetent.

In the faith-based apocalyptic disaster film that is “Left Behind,” we get a lot of scenes of mass panic. People running amok in the streets, looting, arson, cats and dogs living together — that sort of thing.

Usually the madness is happening in the background while a main character is on the phone or trying to make some sense of it all. The extras zig this way and zag that way, waving their arms about and generally behaving as if they’re running an obstacle course on a reality competition show. They are distractingly bad.”  Left Behind: well intentioned but comically inept, By Richard Roeper, Hamilton Spectator.

“Featuring local-cable production values and dialogue that seems written by a crack team of Sunday schoolers, director Vic Armstrong’s “Left Behind” does no favors for the Christian proponents of its belief system — that only those who’ve said yes to Jesus will be poofed up into heaven, while the rest of us slog it out in some kind of “The Road” scenario to follow shortly.” Audiences get an earful and little else from preachy Left Behind, Sara Stewart, NY Post.

“What it [the Left Behind movie] isn’t: a rehash of Fireproof or Facing the Giants or God’s Not Dead or any number of movies not just “for Christians,” but for Christians who want a Christian Movie badly enough that they’re okay with sacrificing quality to get it.”

“If the Left Behind books were just pulp novels injected with Christianity, then the Left Behind movie is just a disaster flick injected with the slightest, most infinitesimal amount of Christianity possible. This is, in one way, good—no one needs to be upset, or get angry, or be offended, or question their beliefs, or the beliefs of those around them, or anything, because the film takes no stance on anything. The film is so inept, confused, and involuted that there’s no danger of even accidentally cobbling together something that could necessitate a defense of Christianity.”

The above two quotes come from Christianity Today‘s review, Left Behind: Not a “Christian movie.” Not even close, by Jackson Cuidon. But the proverbial cake is taken with this quote:

“Hollywood producers now know that American Christians feel that way about their faith—that Christians so desperately want to participate in the mainstream, that they’re tired of having sanctioned music that’s likeother music and movies like other movies and politicians like other politicians but always still being on the outside, that Christians just want to feel identified without having to carve out little alcoves or niche markets that exist alongside the Big Boys. And, now that they know it—that is, now that they know they can make back 5x their initial financial investment—they want to exploit that, by pumping out garbage (not moral garbage, just quality garbage), slapping the “Christian” label on it, and watching the dollars pour in.

They want churches to book whole theaters and take their congregations, want it to be a Youth Group event, want magazines like this one to publish Discussion Questions at the end of their reviews—want the system to churn churn away, all the while netting them cash, without ever having to have cared a shred about actual Christian belief.

They want to trick you into caring about the movie. Don’t.

(We tried to give the film zero stars, but our tech system won’t allow it.)”

Ouch. You know your movie and theology is bad when a mainstream mag like CT is saying they wish they could give you zero stars.

And while we’re at it, the images in this post are actual marketing images used on the movie’s official Facebook fan page. Such as this one:

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I actually would assume that since Biblically we’re not going to be raptured, Satan would love it if more and more people fell for this movie’s theology and were lulled into believing it would actually happen. So wouldn’t he actually want more people to see it?

Here’s a comment about that one:

There is nothing in the Scriptures that prohibits the good-natured enjoyment of schlocky B-movies, no reason faith-driven audiences can’t have a “Showgirls” or an “Army of Darkness” to call their own. Had the filmmakers embraced even a little bit of the plentiful camp value here, “Left Behind” at least could have been entertaining. As it stands, only the cheeky marketing person who thought to quote Satan in the film’s ads seems to have really understood what this pic’s proper tone should have been, Film Review: ‘Left Behind’, Andrew Barker, Variety.

And then there’s this one:

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Notice the subtle implication that the rapture is the same as judgment day. Take your young child with you to see this movie. Actually, I honestly still have no idea how to interpret the thoughts and logic and what exactly is being conveyed by this photo…

Anyway, here’s more commentary:

“With a “Sharknado”-inspired visual style and a deeply weary lead performance from Nicolas Cage, “Left Behind” is cheap-looking, overwrought kitsch of the most unintentionally hilarious order, its eschatological bent representing its only real shot at box office redemption. The film hits theaters this weekend, but as for when believers can expect to see the tenets of their faith reflected with any sort of sophistication or intelligence in a mainstream genre film, we still know neither the day nor the hour.”  Film Review: ‘Left Behind’, Andrew Barker, Variety.

Anyway, I could go on and on, but you get the idea. These are comments that made me chuckle or groan.

What are some you’ve found?

Have you seen the movie yet? Does it live down to all the hype?

About Steve Bremner

Steve the coffee drinker is a Canadian missionary to Peru, who is called to raise up disciples who flow in the power of the Holy Spirit within a missional community named Oikos. If you like Steve's blog, you'll also like his Kindle books. Note: this post may have contained affiliate links of which the author receives a small commission if you purchase something recommended in the post.