Exodus: Gods and Kings (Movie Review 2014)

3 Kernels

Stars:  Christian Bale, George Edgerton, and Isaac Andrews

As I write this review, I do hope God doesn’t think I’m reviewing him. However, after you see this movie, that’s just about what you may end up doing. I have a mixture of emotions that are going to be difficult to sort out. Frankly, giving this movie three kernels is a stretch.

Let’s preface what I’m about to say with one thing–this is not Ten Commandments and Charlton Heston. It’s not even close to being a remake, so put those thoughts quickly behind you. I suppose you can criticize the original movie for having committed the same sins as this one does, but back in the 50’s it was a different world. In this day and age, we should know better, and Ridley Scott didn’t do the movie any justice by laying aside certain aspects that needed more attention.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Computer generated images today makes Ten Commandments look very amateur in comparison to the technology available in the 21st century. If you love to watch disaster movies, purchase a ticket, sit down, and watch the plagues arrive. You’ll be thankful that you didn’t have to partake in that experience–water turned to blood, plague of frogs, plague of flies, livestock dropping dead, plague of boils, plague of hail, and death of the firstborn (mingled with the plague of darkness). I think gnats and lice are in there somewhere, but I was too mesmerized by the flies to notice.

Why am I so critical about the remainder of the movie? Well, if I were a staunch believer looking for a hundred percent complete Biblical accuracy, you won’t find it. God appears to Moses not only in a burning bush, but in the form of a child throughout the movie. He’s an arrogant child, by the way, and a tad on the bratty side who challenges Moses at every turn. After Moses returns to Egypt, he begins to train and build a small army thinking that’s the way God wants it done. The Almighty, however, tells him that he’s doing a lousy job and it’s time for him to step aside and watch how he’s going to take care of matters. Afterward the plagues begin.

Having a child being a conduit for the voice of God is an interesting choice, but I don’t really think it worked for a variety of reasons.

The other criticism I have is two-fold.  One, the dialogue absolutely stinks; and two, the casting is terrible. Whoever wrote the screenplay didn’t write a believable script.  Good golly, the modernness of the prose was absolutely ridiculous, along with some of the lines. The cast, on the other hand, contains an entire mish-mash of various ethic groups from blue-eyed Egyptians to a God-like child speaking with an English accent.  Yes, I know that the Ten Commandments had all white people in that one, too, but as I said we should have evolved into making a movie close to reality.

As far as Christian Bale’s acting is concerned, I have no complaints about his performance. Actually, I feel sorry for him having to deal with such terrible lines. Edgerton, who plays Ramses, is okay. Frankly, the infamous Yul Brynner is a hard act to follow.  The remainder of the cast adds very little effect to make the story any more worthwhile.

Moses, by the way, really doesn’t like the way God works. The audience is bombarded with that one question, which I find interesting to my own questions about faith.  As Ramses holds his dead son in his arms brokenhearted, he asks Moses a poignant question. How can you worship a God that kills innocent children? Perhaps that is a question that we all wrestle with throughout the movie and afterward, for many die because of His wrath. God in child form says to Moses that he’s noticed something–that Moses doesn’t always agree with him. I think every human can relate to that comment.

The costumes, the sets, the computer generated scenes are some of the best you’ll see on screen.  I only hope as they rolled the credits there was a statement that said, “No horses were harmed in the filming of this movie.” If you’re a horse lover, you may cringe watching them suffer God’s wrath as well.

As far as spirituality in the story, I only experienced one part that moved me emotionally. It was watching the Hebrews kill lambs and spreading the blood on their doorposts. There is no reference to it being the first Passover as was shown in Ten Commandments or why they are even doing it, but if you’re a Christian or Hebrew it’s that significance of salvation that is noteworthy.

So that’s Exodus in a nutshell. Oh, and the Hebrews were freed from slavery.  Now comes the fun part. Will Moses be able to handle the complaining and idolatrous Israelites as they return to their homeland?  Well, you’ll have to crack the Bible to find out what happens next.

Oh, and please, whoever in the world is remaking Ben Hur, DON’T SCREW THAT ONE UP TOO!  It will be blasphemous.

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