Movie Review

Film Review: EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS (2014): A Story Better Realized Previously

Christian Bale Joel Edgerton Exodus Gods and Kings

Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) Film Review, a movie directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Aaron PaulSigourney Weaver, Ben KingsleyJohn Turturro, Indira Varma, Christian BaleJoel Edgerton, María Valverde, Emun Elliott, Golshifteh Farahani, Hiam Abbass, Dar Salim, Serhat Metin, and Kane Headley-Cummings.

The story of Moses isn’t anything new to Hollywood. The Prince of Egypt and The Ten Commandments instantly come to mind. What director Ridley Scott does bring to the epic biblical tale are scientific answers to the plagues of Egypt, a white Moses, and enough CGI animals to make a CGI zoo.

It’s a bold take, bringing new perspective on events and new character portrayals to the story of Moses. Christen Bale is a Moses that is quick to the sword compared to the Moses of the Bible, who was slow of tongue. Bale’s Moses is also an atheist, not wanting to believe in premonitions and Gods. He slowly gains his faith in the God of Abraham by witnessing God’s murderous acts. Unlike in other films, Moses’s role in the great Exodus is downgraded to some message delivery, a modest guide, and some light chisel work. Moses does manage to create a militia that causes enough explosions to make Michael Bay drop to his knees and say “My God.”

Moses’s brother Rameses, played by John Edgerton, is the much more interesting and relatable character. He plays a man not ready to be lead but thanks to God’s unknown first plague, the plague of coincidence, he is thrust into the position of all mighty Pharaoh. He is a loving father looking over his son like a treasure and fears Egypt coming under threat. Rameses also has his strange moments, cuddling with snakes during his personal time and confronting Moses’s about his Hebrew origins like a bad episode of Maury Povich‘s show.

The cast also features Aaron Paul as Joshua, whose hardest task is to keep the hair out of his face. John Turturro is comedic and out of place Seti while Ben Kingsley sees his talent completely wasted in this film. The luckiest actor in this film is the young boy who plays God, Andrew Isaac. We get to learn a lot about God in this film. He can make tea, has a British accent, and wants revenge on the Egyptians for selfishly praising other Gods over him, oh, and for the slavery thing too.

The story of Exodus: Gods and Kings dips, twists, and as mentioned before turns into the biblical account of Moses offering a scientific account of the plagues. The river of blood is caused by crocodiles killing themselves in the river Nile for no reason which triggers frogs, which triggers maggots, which causes lice, which eventually somehow triggers darkness over all of Egypt. The writers try to explain the plagues but they fail for the most part. The writers also sneak in a love interest for Moses, whom he marries after spending less time with her than his horse.

Also gone from this adaptation is the brotherly bond between Moses and Rameses. What we get now is akin to two feuding office workers that used to work in the same office and one wants his supplies back. We also miss out on such famous scenes like baby Moses being floated down the Nile and Moses’ staff turning into a snake. The writers do give us one of the most epic translations of the death of the first born child, which is not to be missed even if Rameses’s emoting is enough to make Darth Vader blush.

My final thoughts is this is an adaption of a well know story that takes chances and delivers nothing new or interesting to the tale. The acting is sub-par but the actors are given little-to-nothing to work off of. The recreation of the ancient world is uninspiring, a CGI Memphis with a CGI army, including some painted on six packs I might add. The entire film trudges on with a slow pace, which made me long for the musical numbers of The Prince of Egypt or the superb performances of The Ten Commandments. Truly one of the best things this movie does is make the movie adaptions that came before it just that more sacred.

Rating: 5/10

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Tyler Morgan

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