By Phil Boatwright
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Cloud Ten Pictures, the production company responsible for “Left Behind,” a new film dealing with the rapture of the church, has come up with a provocative way to promote the picture before it has a theatrical release. The producers released the video to stores on Oct. 31.
Cloud Ten is banking on a groundswell of support from the religious community to help spread the word of this film’s theatrical debut on February 10, 2001. To help guarantee a grand opening weekend, two theater passes will be included with the purchase of each video. The producers hope that if the Christian community enjoys the video they will give the tickets to non-believing friends and relatives for its theatrical release.
Based on the runaway best selling series of books by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, “Left Behind” introduces us to several people abruptly facing an apocalyptic event referred to by religious theologians as the Rapture of the Church. The film’s central characters, journalist Buck Williams played by Kirk Cameron, and airline pilot Ray Steele, played by Brad Johnson, look for answers amid chaos and anarchy after millions of people around the globe suddenly vanish simultaneously in the twinkling of an eye.
Buck has been interviewing a Jewish scientist about a breakthrough food growth formula that makes any type of soil arable. This formula would enable Israel to barter for world peace. In the midst of the interview, a full-scale surprise air attack threatens Israel.
Mysteriously, the attacking planes begin exploding in midair, without a defending shot being fired by the intended victims. Later, on an overseas flight back to the U.S. in a 747 piloted by Captain Rayford Steel, Buck and others are thrown into turmoil as several fellow passengers instantly disappear.
Ever the professional reporter, Buck begins looking to the scientific and political communities for answers. But it doesn’t take long for the astute reporter to realize that the age-old biblical predictions of the rapture are for real.
A confused Ray Steele returns home from the ordeal only to discover that his wife and youngest child also vanished. Reminded of his missing wife’s belief in God, he turns to the Bible for understanding. There, Ray finds God’s final warnings to mankind that explain the disappearances of his loved ones.
With a $17-million dollar budget, “Left Behind” is the most expensive Christian film ever made and the money was well spent. All production values are extraordinary, and some are downright astonishing, considering that similar movies made by Hollywood cost $50 million and up. It contains two very important messages: God is ultimately in charge, and we must accept Jesus Christ as Savior.
Director Vic Sarin moves the storyline along with good pacing and sensitivity. The musical score by Jim Covell supports the action sequences and gentler moments without overwhelming the listener. And George Jiri’s cinematography puts us in the center of the action and keeps us glued to the screen.
While the film does have some minor flaws, and perhaps other actors could have given the lead parts a bit more depth, in the final analysis, the powerful story in Left Behind does a great job of holding the viewers’ attention — not to mention capturing their imaginations.
Best known as the budding con man Mike Seavers on the long-running ABC family sitcom, Growing Pains (’85-’92), Kirk Cameron had this to say about his participation in the making of this unique action thriller: “I think ‘Left Behind’ is the most important film I’ve made. Besides being very scary, very dramatic, it has a soul-stirring message.”
Although each generation of Believers has suspected that they were living in the final times predicted by the Scriptures, if the theories of the Rapture are correct, Cloud Ten Productions’ “Left Behind” could be one of the most important films ever made. Several books of the Bible indicate rather strongly that He will return like a thief in the night (2 Peter 3:10, Matthew 25:13, 2 Peter 3:14, 1 Thessalonians 5:4, Revelation 3:3, Matthew 24:43-44). Scripture also warns us that there are specific signs we will witness that will tell us the Lord’s return is near. The incendiary activities taking place in the Middle East should not be ignored, for they may well be forewarnings of the apocalypse. The producers of this suspenseful and insightful action movie are commissioning viewers to get out the Good News to the world — before it’s too late.
Baptist Press. Used with Permission.