When I was in middle school, I read and was borderline-obsessed with a popular teen series called Left Behind: The Young Trib Force. For those of you who have never read or heard of the series, it was basically the original teen disposition series, largely based off the Biblical book of Revelations. I can honestly say that this was one of the first YA books that I really fell in love with.
Six years later, my dream came true—they released a movie based after the popular Christian series from the nineties, which I could not wait to see. Thus, considering how big a fan I was of the book series, I felt it was fitting to review the movie on my blog, doing my best to avoid spoilers (Though be warned, there may still be some).
The movie starts out with three teens and one preteen—Gabby, Josh, Flynn, and Claire. If you’re a fan of the original, I should probably warn you that Vicki, Judd. Lionel, and Ryan have been replaced, which was probably the most difficult thing to get past for me. Nonetheless, if you think of it as a story of it’s own, independent of the books, you’ll quickly grow to like the new characters.
Gabby is basically you’re all around girl-next store with a whole lot of bravery. She’s quick to take care of her sister, and is a good friend to Josh—AKA the archetype boy-next-store. Josh is also quickly likable, as he’s portrayed of the all around good guy of the film. He watches out for Gabby, adapts the role of an older-brother-figure, and is faithfully loyal and dependable. He also, has a huge crush on Gabby, along with a new guy who falls into the picture, Flynn—a homeless teen who turns out to be surprisingly more sensitive and compassionate than anyone would have initially guessed. Lastly, there’s Claire, the adorable and innocent younger sister of Gabby.
The movie starts off with Gabby narrating her life, and than quickly shoots to her doing normal teenage-things. Talking to her mom. Hanging out with her best friend, Josh. She never foresaw the tragedy that was about to take place—a rapture that would take her mom, eventually leaving her as an orphan. Cars crash. Criminals run rampant. Things blow up. Nothing is safe as drivers are taken from their cars and children are taken from their parents.
Therefore, Gabby, Claire, and Josh flee—heading for the countryside to try to escape the danger of the city, where they meet Flynn, who joins their group and quickly becomes friends with the rest of the main characters. Before long, as they search for Gabby’s father, they stumble upon a backwards “doomsday prepper” man who they stay with, as his sister cleans up a nasty gash on Claires leg. But, are these people who they think they are? And who can be trusted?
From this point, there’s mostly nonstop action, along with some poignant moments of faith and redemption, and a couple of sweet romantic moments. Their goal is survival, and as they’re left alone, they soon begin turning to the only One who can help them through a long period of tribulation. Backstories are also revealed, as two characters soon learn that they both had difficult family situations growing up. At the end, they finally return home, where they discover that a frightening world leader has risen to power.
Overall, despite it’s drastic differences from the origin, I would highly recommend this movie. Though the characters are different, this story stays true to the heart of the original. The action will keep you on the edge of your seat, as you root for four unlikely heroes. The faith element comes of very authentic, avoiding the cheesiness of some Christian films. And, of course, many girls are bound to enjoy trying to figure out which attractive guy Gabby will end up with.
I’d give this movie a good four stars, only leaving out the fifth star because of the change of the original cast and a cliffhanger ending. If you want a good action packed Christian movie, Vanished is a great choice for viewers twelve and up.😃