Saturday, December 13, 2014

"Don't let your people go" see this version of the Bible's Exodus story

Movie:  Exodus: Gods and Kings
PG-13, 2 hours 22 minutes

Grade: C for Could have been so much better

In a Nutshell:  

Don’t “let your people go” and waste their hard-earned money on this.  How can a movie full of attacking alligators, oozing boils, and fighting Egyptian armies be so bland?  But it is.  While full of action scenes, impressively grand scope, and vivid imagery, the movie lacks heart, soul, and inspiration.  It's so disappointing, especially because it had all of the tools to make for a great movie, but sadly, it misses the mark.

Director Ridley Scott is fantastic at creating “sword and sandal” 
battle sequences, but I wish he had consulted some faithful Jews, Muslims and Christians who are passionate about the story behind the action.  He seems to have studied the general story line, but not the  source of the source material, if you know what I mean.

One of my biggest gripes is that Moses, God’s prophet, is clueless and faithless most of the time in this film.  Apparently, God is a bratty child who throws tantrums and wants revenge.  That’s not how I picture either of them.   If you want to see a REALLY great movie about the Biblical Exodus story, revisit Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments .”   Better yet, read the book.  It's always better and it's pretty popular this time of year...

Uplifting theme: 

*  God will save you after 400 years of slavery.   (wink)   Sadly, this movie depicts a vengeful god, rather than a loving one.

Things I liked:
  • ·         The CGI and 3D immersion techniques were stunning. 
  • ·         There was a lot of rich texture the fabrics, architecture, landscape, clothing, and faces.
  • ·         Joel Edgerton was a convincing Ramses, but I wish Oscar-winning script writer Steve Zaillian had given him more meaningful and layered internal motivation than just revenge.  Joel must have gained weight during the filming, because practically every time we see him as Ramses, he’s eating something.  ha ha
  • ·         I wanted to laugh when I first saw comedic actor John Turturro as Seti, Ramses’ father, but I was pleasantly surprised at the mature elegance with which he played the part.
  • ·         I’m always happy to see Ben Kingsley in anything.  It’s too bad he didn’t have much to do or say.
  • ·         Some of the movie was filmed in Spain.  I lived in Spain for 2 years, so that wins it some points.  The landscapes and aerial vistas were truly awesome.
  • ·         Ridley Scott is 77 years old!  Wow!
  • ·         The musical score was sweeping and fitting.
  •        I really like the subtitle: "Gods and Kings."  It also seems sweeping and fitting.  Ridley Scott said he picked it because the title "Exodus" was already taken.

Things I didn’t like:

  • ·          It’s a bit slow-moving in parts.
  • ·         The parting of the Red Sea wasn’t as dramatic as it was in The Ten Commandments , but the gigantic, crashing waves were.
  • ·         I wanted to see more faces of the Children of Israel.  They were treated en masse, so the audience never felt emotionally invested in their personal stories and everything felt very one dimensional.
  • ·         Many are criticizing Ridley Scott’s casting decisions that did not include Middle-Eastern looking actors.  He recently told Variety magazine “I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such. I’m just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn’t even come up.”
  • ·         The ending was anti-climactic.  Bland.
  • ·         At least this movie wasn’t as terrible as Hollywood’s attempt at Noah.  Read why I hated that movie so much. 

Did you notice?
  • ·         Christian Bale seemed to dig a little deeper than he did in his role as the monotone Batman Begins .  The spot in his mustache where he can’t grow hair was a bit distracting for me.  Was I that bored that I noticed such a small thing?  Did you notice his curly-toed sandals?
  • ·         Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad: Season 1
  • ·         All of the actors attempted a British accent, except Sigourney Weaver.  It reminded me of the Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves where he didn’t even try.
  • ·         The beautiful Indira Varma from the pornographic Game of Thrones: Season 1 plays Miriam, Moses’ wife.  Their scenes together are the only ones that come close to feeling any emotion.
  • ·         Ben Mendelsohn from The Place Beyond The Pines
  • Egypt actually banned this movie from their country because of "historical inaccuracies."

Interesting lines:
  • ·         “You can tell a lot about somebody by looking him in the eyes.” – Moses
  • ·         “The leader will be saved and the savior will lead.” – Sefora
  • ·         “A little venom in your blood is a good thing.  It makes you less vulneravble to the next bite.” – Ramses
  • ·         “The men who want power are the best fit to acquire it and the least fit to use it.” – Ramses
  • ·         “You have honored me with your trust.  Now I honor you with my faith.”  - Moses

Tips for Parents:

·         Children will get bored in parts, but they may be frightened by bodies being burned and hanged.  There is a lot of fighting, violence, and scenes with disturbing plagues that might also scare your kids...vengeance is a messy thing.

Now, if you want to learn more about the story behind the action, check out some of these:

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