Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
April 12, 2004
Left Behind: The Movie is weird, creepy stuff.
Category: Serious … TV, Film, & DVDs

Tonight's one of those nights on which I'd like to hang myself and talk to the jellyfish. One of those nights on which I'd just like to go to sleep, yes, and not wake up in the morning, or ever again. Tonight is filled with envy for the dead.

I don't think I mentioned it, but on the day that I saw the new Dawn of the Dead (see my blog review of it here), I also bought Left Behind on dvd. Now, I already own Judgment -- which was was also a Cloud Ten Pictures production -- so I had a better idea of what to expect going into this film. When I reviewed Judgment, I noted some of the stranger aspects of the film -- namely that Lucifer himself is the head of the world government and makes it known to everyone. It's not like he's really Satan but everyone else thinks he's just a regular human; no, they all know quite well that he's the friggin' devil. (In one courtroom scene, he denounces the Bible as "an outdated book written by someone who hates [him].") So yes, it was a rather odd film, but it wasn't without its share of interesting moments. Watching Left Behind, however, the one thought that remained in my head throughout the movie was, "Wow...this is really weird."

Arguably, that's to be expected. This is, after all, a movie in which a number of Earth's population outright vanishes -- supposedly spirited up to Heaven by Jesus -- leaving behind heaps of clothing where they were only moments earlier. Note also that some of these people were apparently taken up on high while driving in traffic, such that their vehicles, with no one left to drive them, were the cause of a number of serious accidents. There was one scene in which, after one of these crashes, a man stumbled out of his car covered in blood. Another depicted a dog lying next to a shirt and a pair of trousers and staring off into the distance. There were a number of really creepy images along these lines, and it's worth noting that the same kinds of shots -- pans of areas filled with chaos and discarded clothing strewn about the streets -- were used in "Dragon Ball Z" to depict the destruction and horror of Cell's killing spree, during which he devoured a hefty chunk of the population (leaving behind only their clothes). It was chilling stuff. And to be honest with you, I don't see how anyone could truly find something like that to be comforting -- even if he/she believed that he/she would be among those taken up to Heaven with God. Not only would that be to exhibit a real lack of care and concern for those people "left behind" (after all, several of the main characters had family members who had vanished), but it ignores the fact that much of the chaos in the movie was directly caused by these people being spirited away. Maybe if the God in this movie had waited until those people driving had gotten to their destinations, there wouldn't have been a guy stumbling out of his car covered in blood. Well, at least it gives me a reason to use italics in abundance.

There was another thing that really bugged me about the movie as well. I mentioned in the Judgment review that the world had allegedly become a "utopia" with a perfect and peaceful society (though it hardly looked or seemed that way to me in the film), and that this was attributed (and rightly so, the movie seemed to say) to Lucifer. But Left Behind seemed to go out of its way to make "peace" a dirty word. Like in Judgment, shady politicians were in control of the government, and thus were the ones making the decisions that supposedly aimed to benefit society and keep the peace, but unlike Judgment, Left Behind also depicted the politicians discussing things in their private chambers, outside of government and business. Here is where, in another film, we'd find that peace was only a means to achieving something else -- like money, power, influence, etc. Here the politicians would laugh about how the people were dupes and about how this peace would only serve to make them weak, so that when the aliens touched down in a few years the people would be unable to resist them and the politicians could sell them to the extraterrestrials as slaves with little fear of revolt. But in Left Behind, where they should have been discussing their evil schemes, what did the politicians talk about? Bringing peace to the world! Granted, they did it in their unctuous way -- these actors were apparently only capable of pulling off sleaze mode, even when they were supposed to be exhibiting compassion and tender feelings -- but still, they talked about peace, and I'm convinced that the movie meant for them to be sincere in it. There was consistent mention (supposedly per Daniel 9:27) of "seven years of peace" that would signal the rise of the Antichrist. Peace was depicted as the gift of evil men and the herald of the Devil's own. It was a really strange thing to watch, given that I not only value peace as a good, but I've never seen anything that so vehemently insisted that it shouldn't be treated as such. Even when people call for war, they never go so far as to transform peace into something Satanic.

I'm out of things to say. It was just a weird, creepy movie. And it seemed to say, "Become a Christian so these terrible things don't happen to you. After all, God is love -- but only for Christians. God hates the living fuck out of everyone else, and if you don't repent NOW you'll be left in a fucked up "Twilight Zone" world in which people disappear, leaving behind only their clothes, and in which evil politicians cackle in their private quarters as they piece together dastardly schemes to bring peace to all nations! BE AFRAID, O MORTAL!!!" Anyone who finds him/herself comforted by this film and finds his/her faith in the goodness of God strengthened frightens me. Seriously. If God is truly good, this movie is tantamount to some kind of blasphemy.

But then I think the same thing about much of the Bible, too.

-posted by Wes | 12:37 am | Comments (0)
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