A Mediocre Biblical Film | Review of ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’

By: Cynthia Ayala

Egyptian Princes Moses (Christian Bale) and Ramses (Joel Edgerton) are raised together as brothers. When Ramses becomes pharaoh, Moses is his most-trusted adviser. However Moses soon discovers his Hebrew parentage, and Ramses banishes him to the desert — often a death sentence. But God has a mission for Moses: Free the Israelites from slavery. Moses returns from exile and demands that Ramses let his people go, but the arrogant ruler is unmoved, leading to a battle of divine wills.

The 10 Commandments is much better. Sorry, Ridley Scott, you may be a great director but you missed the mark on this one.

Exodus follows the story of Moses and the future pharaoh Ramses. Now this is a story that everyone knows, that has been told in again and again from, animated movies to live action formats. So the challenge here is how does one reinvent an old biblical story? Simple, you add war and mush up the story.

The opening of the story was okay. It would have been better had the writers decided to add the scene with Moses being pushed along the river towards the pharaohs palace. It would have fit within the context of story and taken up some of the time made for the acts of war; it is also a foundation of the story. Another alternative would have been to add scenes of the two as children, bonding like brothers. But all of that was passed over for the future, for more war. Action sells after all so why not add it. Yes, the acting was great and there was a lot of humor in the story, but the overall feel of it was not well done.

The whole point of the story is that Moses is a caring man, which is why he would have made a great pharaoh, it’s a reason he was favored over his own son. That is the reason for the jealously that has always been there between them, even through the brotherhood. Sibling rivalry and all that. But what also made Moses powerful was not only his connection to god, but his ideals for equality and peace, his kindness. He wanted to do things peacefully, Ramses refused, so God unleashed his wrath. And eye for an eye. They are supposed to be opposite forces, Moses & Ramses, but the movie portrays them as equals, and doesn’t teach, as the story does, that violence begets more violence and that to fight violence you use peace. The bible already has so much violence in it and to add war for the sake of adding it diminishes the story. The Jews are supposed to be the peaceful protestors and the Egyptians are the violent dictators.

The construction of the story just did not work. It was unfortunate because this story is amazing.

However, what loved the was the way the writers used science to explain the events. Personally, I believe God is a scientist and does everything with a method and this move captured exactly what I believe.

But like I said before, The 10 Commandments and The Prince of Egypt are way better. (★★☆☆ | C)

–    Film Credits     –

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Screenplay by: Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine & Steven Zaillian

Starring: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, Sigourney Weaver & Ben Kingsley

Genre | Rating | Length: ActionHistorical dramaAdventure | PG-13 | 2 hr. 30 min.

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