Left Behind listening log: episode 2, “World in Turmoil.”
In this episode, Rayford lands a plane and all the people get off. Things are pretty much Hell after the Rapture.1 On the ground they find quite a different world, and now readers may find much the same.
How much has the world changed in just a decade? Consider:
- Cloud Ten Pictures may be “rebooting” the Left Behind movie with a Caged! version, but already Tyndale has reprinted the book series with updated technology and things.
- So will characters now have smartphones instead of squealing-clicking dialup modems?
- And waiting for payphones at the airport after the Rapture — did those scenes get cut?
I really don’t know how you can upgrade everyone’s tech without making the stories fundamentally different. For instance, I can see that the Amazon preview of the Left Behind (first novel) reprint version does show that it changed Time’s “Man of the Year” to “Person of the Year.” Yet Left Behind’s original emphasis on newsmagazine journalism now seems quaint, given the growth of internet outlets and the soon shutdown of even Newsweek.
That’s an inevitable risk of near-future fiction.
Like it or not, Left Behind is now history, or alt-history: what if the Rapture had occurred in the mid-1990s? For better or worse, the story simply can’t age well. It’s frozen in time.
But for me it’s still a reminder of how God used these stories in my personal history.
And now it’s proving a delight to step back into that alt-history and remember.
- Wow. Again, that dialup squeal sounds especially dated. (Yet some still use dialup!)
- The brief scene of the teenage boy who finds his family members missing is still very well-acted. (That guy later went on to play one of the kids in the spinoff LB YA series.)
- More details are heard when listening with headphones. Crowd scenes sound amazing.
- Very few cell phones. People are still crowding to use payphones at the airport. Indeed this now qualifies as an alt-universe in which a “rapture” occurred in the mid-1990s.
- Raymie’s friend Ryan is head on the answering machine. Nice callback to the Left Behind: The Kids ‘verse. Question: Did anyone ever read those? They also received audio dramatization, though much more compressed-adapted from the original books.
- Wow. Answering machines? I remember those things. Does anyone still use them?
- This episode adds diversity: not only with plenty of black actors, but with a male doctor from the original book now turned into a female doctor. She treats Buck at the airport.
- When Buck asks what she meant by mentioning a “Rapture,” the doctor says, “Some other time. The wounded before the curious.” That makes more sense than the book doctor, who to my memory really had no reason for walking away without telling Buck more about the Rapture. Adaptation win, credited to Chris Fabry and Todd Busteed.
- This is not the kind of acting you do if you hate how your voice sounds on recording.
- Just as I recalled: listening to this through headphones reveals the “People Get Ready” song — from the music-inspired-by-Left-Behind album — playing in the background of one flashback scene. Nice touch. However, I dislike its line “soon we’ll be going home.” Even more of the same default God’s-physical-creation-has-no-ultimate-meaning view.
- More flashback scenes as Rayford finds his empty house and “flannel nightgown” from his Raptured wife. They’re a bit kitschy, but I’d say the most artistic “kitsch” you’ll hear.