Exodus : Gods and Kings (2014)
Epic adventure Exodus: Gods and Kings is the story of one man's daring courage to take on the might of an empire. Using state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues
Genre : Action/Adventure/Drama
Country : USA/UK
Christian Bale : Moses
Joel Edgerton : Ramses
Aaron Paul : Joshua
Director : Ridley Scott
“Follow me and you will be free. Stay and you will perish.”
I have a feeling that the Catholic Church has done quite a bit of lobbying in Hollywood, after noticing that their fanbase started to dwindle. First there was the biblical story "Noah" with the famous boat builder who started constructing a huge ark, insisted by "The guy upstairs", just so he and his family could withstand the announced tidal wave together with a pair of every animal species. And now they even convinced Ridley Scott to make a film of the incomparable epic story of Moses who guided his people through the desert to absolute freedom (It's clear he hasn't pointed out the right place, because they still haven't found the right spot). Ultimately, this film won't convert me (it didn't appeal to me either), but I did expect great things from this pimped version of "The ten commandments" from 1956. In the end it was just a boring spectacle in which the whole bag of CGI tricks, special effects and contemporary modern camera technology was opened, to ensure a stunning visual show. I couldn't find any added value compared with the original film from 1956. Indeed, it was dead boring and disappointing with some non-impressive performances in comparison with those from "The Ten Commandments".
Writing a spoiler-free review for a film like "Exodus" isn't really difficult, because most of us know the initial story. In contrast to the story in the Bible with everything miraculous, wondrous and divine described, this film looks at it from a scientific perspective. There's a meaningful explanation for every Egyptian plague. Even the highlight with the Red Sea didn't look as if the hand of God was in play. As Scott announced it himself, the intention was to give all miracles a scientific twist. Similarly, the big trick with the Red Sea. A giant tsunami caused a drawback of the Red Sea. As a realist, I can live with this, and it's a more plausible explanation for the course of events. As an avid movie lover, this was a rather disappointing choice. In my honest opinion this ruined the magic of the movie. To be honest, my high expectations about this scene made sure I persisted in looking further to this rather miserable-long film. I was expecting an impressive fragment (compared to that of the film of 1956) but was treated to an empty, muddy seabed (and judging by the immense noise of the flying birds, it was swarming with air gasping fish) which got flooded again by huge tidal waves. So it wasn't an impressive moment with a sea opening itself. Waiting impatiently for this moment was just a waste of effort.
Is there anything positive to report ? Yes of course. Visually it is a feast for the eyes: the whole decor, the costumes, Memphis and the surrounding slums were impressive on screen, the monuments and the ongoing labor, the mandatory large-scale battle scenes (I got that "The Lords of the ring" feeling again), the Egyptian plagues look slick and some images are real gems. The subtle interpretations of the biblical story, were surprising. Firstly, He-who-always-talks-with-a-reverberating-voice is represented by an irritating young boy who speaks with a British accent (Not an uninspired burning bush). He's a real brat who gets terribly worked up when his demands aren't met. I'm not a religious type and certainly no expert when it comes to the content of the Bible, but I'm pretty sure that while His Holiness let the 10 plagues rage over Egypt, he still was working on the 10 Commandments, because the rule "Thou shalt not kill" and the concept of "to love thy neighbour" wasn't applied here. The term "turn the other cheek" apparently wasn't customary either. He rather used the slogan "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" I guess. But that's a subject for a theological debate. Furthermore, I think it's wonderful that Moses had to chisel the 10 commandments into the stone tablets himself, instead of "The Big Chief" using some lightning.
PS. It's certainly not my intention to offend those who believe. Who am I to judge if believing is a good or a bad thing. That would make me God, God forbid. But let me quote Ridley : "Religion is the source of all evil. Everyone is tearing each other apart in the name of their personal God". Ultimately, this film will cause a fuss among the devout audience. For me it was simply a simple story.
Links : IMDB