Movie: Exodus: Gods And Kings
Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)
Review: The story is not a new one. Back in the days of ancient Egypt, there was a pharaoh named Seti (John Turturro) who had a son called Ramses (Joel Edgerton), and another young man named Moses (Christian Bale) who had been raised like a son. Ramses and Moses, two princes of Egypt, go off to fight the invading Hittites and crush them in battle. Moses fights quite bravely, and saves the life of Ramses with his quick thinking and skill with a spear. The seeds of jealousy and resentment are sown within Ramses, as it is apparent that Seti favors Moses over his own son in many ways.
Even though pharaohs are worshiped as gods, they are still mortal, and eventually Seti dies, making Ramses the new pharaoh. Moses soon runs afoul of the new leader, and is exiled from Egypt. Moses wanders somewhat aimlessly, and eventually comes to a small group of sheep herders where he stops for water and rest. Enchanted by young, beautiful Zipporah (Maria Valverde), the former prince and soldier takes a wife and settles into the quiet life as a herder of sheep. That is, until some of his sheep wander up Mt Sinai, and Moses hears a voice from a young boy next to a burning bush who declares himself as God. Moses is commanded to return to Egypt to free the Hebrews and lead them to freedom in the Promised Land.
Most people know the basics of the story. Moses confronts Ramses a number of times, only to anger the pharaoh more and more, which in turn caused the Hebrew slaves to be treated more harshly than before. The film is very successful in depicting the plagues sent by God to punish pharaoh, such as turning the waters of the Nile into blood, and frogs to overrun the land. I think a few plagues were skipped over, such as the lice. Personally, I should have thought that by plague #6 when everyone got boils that Ramses would have caved and sent the Hebrews packing, but he was obviously a stubborn dude (It took 10 plagues to get the job done). The movie in places had the look of a real epic motion picture in its depiction of the city (Memphis), and the thousands of slaves at work on the pyramids. The battle scenes were well done and visually stimulating. It is hard to pinpoint, but perhaps there was a lack of suspense and anticipation for a climatic confrontation. The film just seemed to run out of steam a bit after two hours before the Red Sea climax. Still, I found it a worthwhile effort.
Actor To Watch: Not Moses, but Ramses. I think this was really a stellar performance by Joel Edgerton. An Oscar nomination for Best Supporting? Possibly….
Huh, What The….: Did Zipporah really have facial tattoos? Was that supposed to be a turn-on?
Twenty foot crocodiles leaping high in the air to take out the mast of a boat on the Nile? Maybe in a cheesy Sharknado movie, but this was supposed to be a classy film.
To me, Moses seemed way too snarky and rebellious when dealing directly with God.
Okay, hard enough to portray the old testament God in the person of a young boy. But He shouldn’t be depicted as having a hissy fit when Ramses acts up.
Dialogue Nuggets: “This is your famous Uncle Moses. He was once a prince of Egypt.”
Egyptian Viceroy: “You know what the problem is? People live too long these days.”
Moses: “Why is he smiling?” Slave Overseer: “He says he feels no pain.” Moses: “Then why whip him?”
Ramses: “I am glad you are alive.” Moses: “Is that why you sent two assassins to kill me?”
Doctor: “There are still a few diseases that we don’t completely understand.”
Ramses: “I am a God!”
Egyptian General: “We might need more than three divisions to recapture 400,000 slaves.” Ramses: “We’re not recapturing anyone….” (Critic’s note – In fairness to Ramses, he said he’d let them go. He never said he wouldn’t go after them. Just saying….)