Left Behind - Second attempt to adapt the best-selling novel by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Rayford Steele (Nicolas Cage) is an airline pilot on a flight from NYC to London. He's grown frustrated with his home life, as his wife (Lea Thompson) has become a serious bible-thumper. Steele has even reached the point of wanting to start an affair with a beautiful flight attendant (Nicky Whelan). Also on board is famous globe-trotting TV journalist Cameron "Buck" Williams (Chad Michael Murray). Meanwhile, Steele's college student daughter Chloe (Cassi Thomson) has come home for a visit, and she doesn't share her mother's extreme Christian views, either. When Chloe takes her little brother on a trip to the mall, the Rapture happens, wherein God "calls" all of the world's true believers and saved souls up into heaven, leaving only empty clothing behind. This naturally causes a bit of panic, as most of the world's children disappear, leaving frantic parents, as well as now-driverless cars crashing here and there. Things are bad onboard Steele's jet, too, as many passengers have disappeared and chaos is breaking out. Also featuring William Ragsdale, Gary Grubbs, Martin Klebba, and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks.
Before the Harry Potter books came along, the biggest phenomenon in publishing was the Left Behind books, a multi-volume series detailing the events from the Christian Bible's Revelation, aka the End of Days. Many of the books topped the best-seller lists, and they were a ubiquitous fixture of bookstore shelves for the better part of a decade. Naturally someone would want to adapt them for the screen, and the first such effort was released in 2000, starring Brad Johnson and Kirk Cameron. It was a terrible film and ended up debuting on video. They made two more awful sequels, but the whole effort was so bad that co-author LaHaye sued to gets the rights back. That lead to this belated attempt at a reboot. And the bad news is it isn't really any better.
The film follows two story arcs, one on the airplane and the other following young Chloe on the ground. The Chloe stuff is generic, mass panic stuff, produced with sub-TV-movie effects. The majority of the time we're with the plane, and the broadly drawn, irritating characters. Cage gets a few of his patented overly emoted yelling scenes, but he's largely wasted, as is the bland former Tv star Murray. This ends before the later in the series, more ludicrous yet more entertaining stuff about the ascendant Anti-Christ, so instead you're left with a sub-par disaster movie with dull characters and poor production values. This isn't quite the nadir of Nicolas Cage's career (I still think The Wicker Man is worse), but it's pretty damned close. This received 3 nominations at the Golden Raspberry Awards, for Worst Picture, Worst Screenplay and Worst Actor (Cage). 3/10