Friday, April 3, 2015

EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS

Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton,
Ben Kingsley, Aaron Paul,
John Turturro

"Once Brothers, Now Enemies"


Everybody knows the story of Moses. Regardless whether you learned it in Catechism class (like I did) or from books, movies or online ... it is a classic epic that has transcended through generations and through time. 

My earliest memory of Moses in celluloid form was portrayed by Charlton Heston in director Cecil B. DeMille's epic "The Ten Commandments".  For a movie filmed in the year 1956 it was clearly impressive with its massive set designs, authentic costumes, poignant narrative and a cast of famous actors.

So any director who decides to take on such a monumental project should be given due credit for his sheer efforts to replicate the events associated with Moses. Ridley Scott takes the helm in "Exodus: Gods and Kings" with Christian Bale as the adult Moses and Australian actor Joel Edgerton as Ramses.

While the story offers the prerequisite back story of Moses up to the time he is exiled and tasked to lead the slaves towards the promised land, the entire movie definitely lacks or fails in the emotional quotient aspect. 

The heavily scripted dialogue was a complete turn off. Come on, nobody talks that way, certainly not during those biblical times. The English accents of the cast were also quite a distraction although I have to give credit to Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton for trying their best to get into their characters psyche. They cannot be faulted if the script was poorly written and the narrative failed to effectively draw from the rich history it was based on. It lacked conviction and essentially did nothing to inspire us. 

The only positive thing about this film were the high quality computer generated visuals of the various plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the carefully choreographed fight scenes and the aerial shots of the exodus. There is no doubt that they were all visually stunning and quite spectacular to behold.

I was quite disappointed because I expected a lot more from this much hyped epic saga. In fact, I have to admit I had more fun watching the inspirational animated film "The Prince of Egypt" than I did seeing God portrayed as a creepy, chubby young boy with a distinct British accent.  What a travesty and to think I watched this today, Good Friday of all days! 

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