As I mentioned in the first part of my treatise on the Left Behind movie, the plot of the movie, while following the basic premise set forth by the book on which it’s based, veers wildly away from the source material in a lot of significant ways.
Many of the changes are due, as I said, to time constraints, but I really have to believe that other changes were the result of the filmmakers reading the book and coming to the realization that pretty much every character – especially the “heroes” – is a complete and utter douchebag.
Further, the filmmakers clearly put more thought into the actual consequences that would follow from millions of people suddenly disappearing, which is to say that they put any amount of thought into it.
For example, in the book, post-Rapture, we have Chloe making her way back to Chicago from California in like a day. A day. With cars crashing, trains derailing, and planes falling out of the sky all over the world, a trip from California to Chicago would be a long, arduous journey, and that’s assuming that the government hasn’t declared martial law and totally clamped down on unnecessary travel.
To get around this in the movie, Chloe was on her way to California when The Rapture occurred, making her journey back to Chicago much more credible.
A sub-plot in which Buck fakes his own death after the murder of a friend and an attempt on his own life that costs yet another person his life is dropped as well, which is good news, as in the book this leads Buck to make a deal with the people trying to kill him, promising not to speak a word of the murders – bear in mind that we’re talking about an investigative reporter here – in exchange for their promise to not try to kill him anymore.
The time constraints of the movie make it much more fast-paced than the book, and some decent effects give us some moderately exciting visuals that the book just could not provide, so, as I’ve said, while the movie is still dreadful, it’s vastly superior to the book in almost every way.
(Except for the music. As Dr. Chaim Rosenzweig, who, I believe may be Jewish – so hard to tell with a name like that – might say, Oy vey.)
That being said, in a very perverse way, I can’t help but feel cheated and outraged by how far the movie deviated from the source material. I mean, no Pan-Con Club? No scene of Buck reaching over to wipe a piece of chocolate from a cookie she’s eating off of Chloe’s face with his finger, and then licking the chocolate off of his finger? (Bearing in mind that Chloe is someone that Buck just met less than half an hour before.) Come on; I desperately wanted to find out if it was as creepy to watch as it was to read about.
So yeah, I couldn’t help but feel cheated by the fact that the Left Behind movie was not a more faithful transliteration of the book, even though it was superior in many ways. It was a horrible movie, but it wasn’t anywhere near as horrible as it ought to have been, so how could I not feel cheated?
Maybe the sequel, Tribulation Force, will live down to my expectations.
There’s a lot more I could say about the whole mess, both the book and the movie, but as Fred draws close to the end of the first book, a review of the movie is up next, and given how incisive his examination of the book has been, and his examination of the movie is likely to be, why re-invent the wheel? If you want to learn more, head on over to Slacktivist and check it out yourself.
Bonus: Here is the trailer for the movie:
Extra Special Bonus: Left Behind The Music Video
Whooo! (Sorry for the crappy quality of the video. Oh, and for how choppy the playback is. Zing!)