THE MERCURY doesn't send me to a movie if they think it's going to be great. But even still, I had high hopes about this one. I thought the immovable object that is the Left Behind Christian book and film franchise would get run the fuck over by the unstoppable force that is Nicolas Cage. Turns out, Nic Cage is a very stoppable force.
Left Behind is an inexplicable remake of the 2000 Kirk Cameron stinker, and the latest in a series of Hollywood's half-assed movies for the religious right that feature bumbling atheists learning tough lessons at the hands of intellectually and morally superior evangelicals. Like Christian music, the actual quality of the performance is less important than every single line being about Jesus, and in that, this Left Behind succeeds magnificently.
If you're not familiar with the concept, Left Behind imagines a world in which God discovers a manufacturing defect in all of the evangelical Christians (which here represent a far, far higher percentage of humanity than in real life) and magically recalls them all to Heaven, leaving behind piles of neatly folded clothes and a bunch of tense arguments. Moments after all the boring religious people disappear, the entire world falls into chaos! Cars crash, planes fall out of the sky, and every single atheist (and Muslim and Catholic and non-apocalyptic Christian) immediately starts looting. Like the only thing holding us back from stealing TVs is the mere presence of religious nuts. That's pretty much the whole thing. Meet some dumb characters, oh look! a pile of clothes!, looting and havoc, the end.
Insofar as this deeply boring, incredibly slow movie has a plot, it's the drama of whether Frumpy Pilot (Cage) can land a plane after his coworkers and a bunch of children are magic-tricked away mid-flight. Somehow the autopilot and fuel supply were also raptured away, so there's lots of turbulence and a dramatic emergency landing.
Since Nicolas Cage was what got me to the theater in the first place, I can't stress enough just how disappointing he is. He reaches cruising altitude in the first five minutes and never deviates. There's no trademark Cage Scream, and tragically, nobody ever pours bees on his head. He just sits there looking slightly uncomfortable the whole time, like he's at a Halloween party and he's trying not to look at his ex who's having fun across the room.
Whether Nic is just hard up for cash, owed somebody a favor, or honestly believes this shit, he isn't trying hard to win you over. You'll only enjoy Left Behind if you want to reinforce your current beliefs about God's plan for your clothes.