Back in my earlier post I said I’d buy two tickets’ worth just to spite the protesters of this movie. Turns out I did even better, I had two people accompany me. So take that! And my efforts were not in vain, as Exodus: Gods and Kings is a fantastic movie in its own right and easily the best biblical epic of the year (with its massive competition of… Noah).
Just like Noah, Exodus takes the stance of God being a massive dick to humanity up until the somewhat happy ending. And while in Noah God acted like a bit of a temper tantrum-filled child, in Exodus that is literally who he is, an angry, mouthy boy. It’s an interesting design choice and while it might offend certain people, it definitely illustrates that if any of the events of the Old Testament are to be believed, then we cannot collectively ignore the fact that God was a pretty bad entity on more than one occasion.
Another good design choice was to not make this a conversion movie. God really isn’t the absolute focus of this movie, it’s more about faith and the concept of going through with something that you can’t be one-hundred percent sure of. And that goes for anything, which is why I thought this movie was so good, is that it could speak to all of us regardless of religion or cultural background. For example, when I go to see a movie, I go to it because I have faith that it will be good. I cannot know for sure until I’ve paid for the ticket, sat in the seat, watched the movie and ultimately invested my time and effort in something that may not amount to anything at all. Sometimes that faith is misplaced (Transformers 4), but what keeps me coming back is that more often than not that faith pays off, such as in the case of Exodus.
I have some minor nitpicks, but they are just that: minor. This movie is fantastic. Ridley Scott does the setting of ancient Egypt complete justice, making it a grand, scenic locale with some of the best visual effects in the industry (not Dawn of the Planet of the Apes good, but still top-notch). Not to mention that he actually used real frogs for the frog plague scene. Nasty but awesome stuff right there.
-Ridley Scott’s still got it
-Amazing realization of ancient Egypt
-Great set design, costumes, make-up, etc. (I rarely commend this department but these guys absolutely nailed it)
-Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton do admirable jobs as Moses and Ramesses, respectively. Aaron Paul was a good Joshua.
-The plague scenes are fantastic, powerful and morbid
-The movie has balls. For what should be a very dark story of slavery, brutality and absurdly graphic plagues, Ridley Scott manages to make a PG-13 more raw than some R rated films I’ve recently seen. One particularly noteworthy bit of brutality was *mild spoiler* Ramesses ordering the hanging of a family of slaves (father, mother and child). When the bench was kicked out from underneath the three of them I actually cringed at their writhing bodies. It’s THAT kind of a reaction that gets us to sympathize with the revolt-ees, in this case the Hebrews.
-Pacing issues; the movie could’ve been a solid twenty minutes shorter
-Sigourney Weaver’s role has no reason to be in this movie, especially given how bad her performance was
-Ben Kingsley was lacking and simultaneously underutilized
-The final, climactic wave scene was slightly underwhelming. Just slightly. But it was a very good interpretation of the event, and far more realistic than what most of us might picture after reading the book version.
-Animal safety. The movie had a horse trainer present and most of the animals looked to be relatively safe, as a lot were also CGI, but when dealing with 400+ frogs and dozens of live horses, I can only hope they were taken care of during filming (there was no Humane Society or PETA certification in the credits, but to its credit I feel as though we would’ve heard something a la the first Hobbit movie had there been actual animal neglect [I still refuse to see that movie for that reason]).
In short, you have every reason to go and see Exodus. Screw the protests that there isn’t enough diversity in this movie, there were PLENTY of darker skinned people in the film (far outnumbering the “whitewashed” leads). Not to mention the movie itself is glorious. I can’t under-emphasize how worth your time Exodus is; it’s the best not-overly-religious religious epic we’re likely to ever get.