On a day no different than any other, Rayford Steele says goodbye to his daughter, goes to work, and flirts with flight attendants. While piloting an international flight, the impossible happens. People onboard and all over the world, vanish. While those left behind struggle to understand the implications of what's happened, civilization sinks into chaos. Unaware of what is happening in the rest of the world, Rayford and a handful of passengers fight to maintain some sense of order, while trying to make their way back to a world in the grip of an emerging apocalypse.
Based on a novel and a series of books by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, "Left Behind" follows a handful of characters, after a large portion of society has apparently been raptured. The film adaptation is based on the first book of the 'Left Behind Series,' which consist of 16 books, a good number of which have been bestsellers around the world. Directed by Vic Armstrong, the film features a good number of Hollywood heavy hitters, including Nicolas Cage, Chad Michael Murray, Lea Thompson, Jordin Sparks, Cassi Thomson, and Gary Grubbs. While "Left Behind" has been adapted for film before, starring Kirk Cameron and Louis Gossett Jr., the 2000 release was neither received well by audiences or critics. However, just based on the first trailer for Armstrong's remake of the religiously fueled flight into revelation, Armstrong's version may fair somewhat better, despite its limited budget and character driven production. Unlike the majority of films out there, the latest remake sports a budget of less than $16 million. According to Variety , in a time where many actors can expect to earn that amount per film, "Left Behind" was made on a shoe-string budget, shot in less than 7 weeks.
Most reviews like to focus on the religious material which inspired "Left Behind," Armstrong had this to say about the film and its plot, in a recent story posted by Yahoo Movies (Aug 5th) .
“My agent said, ‘Well, what about the religious aspect?’ And I said, ‘What religious aspect?’” Armstrong says with a laugh. “He said, ‘Didn’t you find it strange when people disappeared on the plane and everything?’ I said, ‘David, I did Starship Troopers, and I didn’t question it when great big bugs came climbing over the hill and ripped people’s heads off. That’s the world I live in!’”
While the Rapture may be old news to Armstrong, the first trailer for the film was release on Aug.5, getting critics excited about Cage's latest dabbling in the apocalyptic genre. Based on what has been released, Cage will spend most of his time trying not to crash a jet, while the rest of the planet freaks out and goes up in rapturous flames. While it is probably just one of those crazy Hollywood coincidences that a television series called "The Leftovers" explores the aftermath of a similar scenario, "Left Behind" is a sci-fi thriller, not a soul sucking exercise in being more odd than interesting.