Exodus: Gods and Kings

exodus-gods-and-kingsMarketed as this Christmas Season’s “epic,” Exodus: Gods and Kings delivers from a visual standpoint. However, amid controversies from both Christians and non-Christians alike, Exodus was already set up to drown in its own waters.

Moses (Christian Bale) and Rameses (Joel Edgerton) were raised like brothers in the luxurious palace as the Hebrews slaved away in the rest of the kingdom. When Rameses succeeds his father as Pharaoh and discovers Moses’s Hebrew roots, Moses is exiled from Egypt. Nine years later, Moses heads back to Egypt to free his people after he receives a vision from God, who appears to him through an angry 11-year-old child.

I understand that the movie is not meant to be the most accurate interpretation of Exodus, but there were some choices I questioned as a mere moviegoer. Now it is a good thing when Joel Edgerton is nearly unrecognizable as Rameses, but Christian Bale and Ben Kingsley are simply too white or too famous to fit in with the extras who are mostly of various minorities. Director Ridley Scott also interprets God as a child, and perhaps I would have been okay with this if “God” was less childish, irritable, annoying and condescending. Perhaps this was the filmmakers’ intent in trying to be original, but I just couldn’t take it seriously.

Putting aside the controversies, the film still can’t stand on its own two legs. I liked where they were taking the two-brothers-split-apart trope, but after Moses left Egypt, it dried up with no further interaction between the characters. In fact, Rameses completely undid all his development by deflating to the flat cliché antagonist.

Just like the title itself has an unnecessary extension/subtitle, I believe a good 40 minutes of the movie could have been eradicated in favor of a more concise story. Within a few minutes of the beginning, Exodus: Gods and Kings delves into an unnecessary battle scene. Dear screenwriters: if you’re going to write an action scene, please make sure it serves a purpose. It’s as if the whole movie stops just so that Joel Edgerton can have a chance to fight in a battle. Additionally, the movie could and should have wrapped up at an earlier point.

The only thing I did enjoy was the visual aesthetics. Yes, the battle was pointless, but it was loud and epic. Egypt was beautiful. I’m no historian but it seemed as if I had been transported back in time. The 10 plagues including locusts and frogs and hailstorms are visually well done, but because of their nature, those scenes were hard to swallow at times. Exodus: Gods and Kings milks the PG-13 rating for all its got, bordering on an R rating with stabbing, blood, and carnage.

If I had a choice I would have walked out of the theater an hour in, but because I’m a movie critic I stayed put for the 150 minutes of nauseating 3D. But now, the choice is yours.

First Published @ Crixit.com 

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About Cassandra Hsiao

Cassandra Hsiao is a senior at OCSA (Orange County School of the Arts). Her work has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and National Student Poets Program. She has been chosen as finalists of playwriting competitions held by California Young Playwrights, The Blank Theatre, Writopia Labs, and Princeton University. Her poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in TeenReads, Jet Fuel Review, Feminine Inquiry, Aerie International and more. She also conducts print and on-camera interviews as a Star Reporter and Film Critic for multiple online outlets. She won a National Gracie Award in Student Online Video Host Category by The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation . https://twitter.com/Cassandra_Hsiao

Posted on December 7, 2014, in Movie Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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