An "Exodus" Plagued by Extravagant Mediocrity | Nick Olszyk | CWR
Ridley Scott's telling of the story of Moses has numerous flaws. Better to read the Good Book instead.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
USCCB Rating: NR
Reel Rating: (2 out of 5)
There are several film and television adaptations of the story of the Exodus and subsequent events—most notably, of course, Cecil B. DeMille's classic 1956 epic, The Ten Commandments—so director Ridley Scott had to do something distinct with Exodus: Gods and Kings. Unfortunately, aside from one interesting (but not positive) development, most of the film’s 150 minutes consists of a rehashing of old approaches and a reworking of ideas that covered many times already.
Granted, these do come with some pretty awesome special effects, although the parting of the Red Sea is still better in DeMille’s version, despite being produced almost sixty years ago, with obvious technical limitations. In short, Exodus isn’t a bad movie, just one that’s better enjoyed on DVD, with doughnuts, while writing a high school religion paper comparing the biblical account to the cinematic re-telling.
The first half is almost verbatim a combination of The Ten Commandments and Dreamworks' animated 1999 feature, The Prince of Egypt. Like Commandments, Scott paints an epic world of towering statues, brilliant costumes, and exotic accents. Like Prince, Moses (Christian Bale) and Ramses (Joel Edgerton) were raised together “as close as brothers,” then gradually grow apart when a closely guarded secret is discovered.
Many good actors have played Moses, including Charlton Heston, Val Kilmer, and Mel Brooks. Bale’s prophet is a pragmatic general who puts his faith in knowledge and skill rather than the Egyptian religion.