27 October 2008

church basement really awesome apocalyptic B movie festival (part two)

MOVIE TWO: Left Behind (2000)

This movie has one two awards, both documented in Jason Boyett's Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse (2005): 1) "Best Use of a Former Teen Heartthrob, and 2) Only Use of a Former Teen Heartthrob Named Kirk Cameron.  Way to go Cloud Ten Pictures!

(Seriously, if you don't know the basic plot of this one by now, what rock have you been under for the last ten years?!?)  OK, OK, OK, OK . . . Based on the 1995 runaway best seller endie series, Left Behind: The Movie chronicles the events of the rapture, and the events which follow.  Thus we see the world reaction to millions of people who have disappeared, the rise of the antichrist, the unravelling of a grand government conspiracy, and the seeds of a one-world religion.  Classic.  The rise of darkness inspires a band of those left-behind-who've-now-converted to join together so that they can ride out the next seven years (which are conveniently mapped out for them in Daniel, Revelation, some stolen blueprints, and a VHS of T. D. Jakes - which, in a surprising twist for him, actually uses Scripture!).

We see clearly that the rising antichrist is clearly evil and have some seeds that he is Satanic, though it is all a bit confusing at this point.  Following what is possibly the best men's restroom come-to-Jesus scene ever documented on film, we see how sinister this Nicolae really is - he rids his path to power from those who obstruct it and brainwash everyone who did not have an extended men's restroom come-to-Jesus scene.  But, according to a note in Boyett: "He gets named People magazine's 'Sexiest Man Alive,' though, so no one bats an eyelash" (155).

Enjoy the movie trailer:

Many.  Too many to include.  Too many to count.
The beginning of the movie has a voiceover by Kirk Cameron as we are given a view of the world, in which the viewer is challenged with the question: what if the rapture is true and we didn't believe it?  A clear move by church basement apocalyptic B movies - the use of fear to inspire one's relationship with God.  We are seldom given any opportunity to consider what if there is not a rapture and the church is summoned to working through the tribulations of this world.  Some call it fire insurance theology, I call it stupid biblical interpretation.  Especially in light of the fact that many who accept a rapture theology have a very anemic view of the kingdom being made known into an increasingly hostile world.

And speaking of stupid biblical interpretation, the movie (and the book) is filled with misreadings of Scripture and hermeneutical fallacies that even Jim West wouldn't commit.  Specifically, the approach to the Bible which is little more than an end times manual for those who are left behind, as though it has no message to those who who are not living in the time following the supposed rapture.  I mean, God so frequently gives us revelation in order to hide important things from our lives and keep secret those things which will only affect a small sliver of humanity and history, right?  The cross-reading of Daniel and Revelation is also nauseating since the two are complete messages in and of themselves (AND, the term 'antichrist' doesn't even appear in Daniel or Revelation, let alone all the things that the antichrist is going to do in the post-raptured world!).

Finally, I think the guy who plays Nicolae sucks at it.  But that is pretty much just my own preference coming through.  I mean, what do I care about who plays a fictional character in some stupid movie that is so loosely tied to Revelation that I'm shocked they even mention the word 'Bible' in the film?  But I do care.  He could have been better.  I'm thinking Dolph Lundgren would have been perfect (you know, the Soviet boxer in Rocky IV).  Yeah, there's an antichrist we can all get behind.

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