SIP Movie Review Blog

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Jonathan Hinshaw - Saturday, December 20, 2014

Just saw Exodus, Gods and Kings, starring Christian Bale (Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rising), Joel Edgerton (Great Gatsby, The Thing-2011), John Turturro (O Brother Where Art Thou?, Transformers-Dark of the Moon), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad, Need For Speed), Sigourney Weaver (Alien, Avatar), and Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, Schindler's List).  

First things first, the movie was originally titled Exodus, but 20th Century Fox could not get the rights to that title from MGM, so they lengthened it.  God and Kings is also the title of a biblical movie in production by Steven Spielberg.  Secondly, it is a biblical movie, but made by Hollywood.  So don't expect it to follow the story of Moses exactly as the Bible tells, it just ain't gonna happen.  Many have expressed their frustration in the way the movie depicts Moses, and some of the scenes, but you have to understand this is another Hollywood movie, not a Bible story on film.  

The movie starts out with Moses (Bale) and Ramses (Edgerton) in a war strategy meeting with the Pharaoh (Turturro) discussing an eminent battle with the Hittites.  A sorceress has predicted that "a leader will be saved, and that savior will lead".  Ramses looks at Moses and tells him "if I fall, run the other way!".  He doesn't.  Moses saves Ramses in that battle, and Ramses now realizes he may have a battle of his own after his dad dies, which happens quickly.  

Moses makes a visit to Phithom, where he sees the Hebrew slaves, and is told about his back story, him being a Hebrew and all.  He rebells against that idea, kills a couple of Egyptian guards while getting out of the slave camp, it starts a downhill slide. Soon he finds himself at odds with Ramses, who suspects he is not one of them after all.  He comes out of the closet, is banished as a 40 year old man, wonders in the desert until he comes across a family who takes him in.  He falls in love, takes a bride, tends to his sheep.  All is fine until one day he climbs the forbidden mountain, where he meets God (in the form of a burning bush) face to face.  He then sees God as a 12 year old boy.  Hollywood has some original ideas, never would have thought of showing God as a pre-teen!  God told him to meet with Ramses, he was to tell him to free the slaves.  

Moses does that, is not successful, and here is where the movie takes a new direction.  Instead of the famous "Let my people go!", followed by warnings of frogs, boils, all sorts of plagues, we get the sea turning red, frogs, locusts, boils, all the biblical horrors, all in a row, no break in between.  Ends up with the angel of death, Ramses looses his son, then he says, leave!

All 600,000 plus slaves and family members and animals pack up and leave.  A few days later, we see Ramses has a change of heart, decides to go after them.  You know this part, when God parts the Red Sea.  It is visually a awesome sight, to see the Hebrews get through drty land, then a huge wave comes crashing down.  This is not a scene spoiler, you will see that in the trailer.  In fact, that is the signature scene, the chariots and horses in front of a 50 foot wave. 

We then see Moses on Mount Sinai, watching the people go crazy, having a long talk with the 12 year old God.  Not the best ending.  

What was a disappointment was how they developed the characters, or rather did not develop the characters.  Moses, Miriam his mom, Ben Kingsley playing a lead slave who delivers the Hebrew message to Moses, none of these are developed completely.  Just phoned in their parts.  So I am glad we saw it, but we were let down.  We will go with 3 frog outbreaks, cause it is a great story of God's blessing the Hebrew nation, but would have been a great TV movie.  

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