Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
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What's up with Hollywood? Other than spectacular visuals and 3-D, they don't seem to care enough about anything else. In Exodus, by the famed director Ridley Scott, he surpassed many elements in visual effects. I have never ever seen so detailed visuals of ancient buildings, slums of slaves, and huge ocean waves and what not. 3-D adds a lot of pleasure in viewing such effects.
That's it! There is nothing more that I could appreciate. It feels very empty. No emotions at all. Acting by Christian Bale is quite alright, but it is nothing special. Some scenes are memorable. But the lack of good writing, script, and no contribution from other actors diminish the effect of Bale as well. It is hard to imagine the same guy directed Gladiator (I haven't seen Aliens and blade runner). But there is everything missing in Exodus that made Gladiator a hit.
At many places, it is boring, even if the cinematography and visual effects are great. In the beginning, you would feel as if Ridley took you to the ancient Egyptian world, just because of the small details shown in the effects. However, any interest or so will end in next 10 minutes or so, when the story starts lacking.
So, my question remains. What's up with Hollywood? Is this much technology and huge funding to such directors destroying the creativity. Why no body cares about character building and good script? At one level, it feels extremely sad that with this budget and this talent in technology, even a slight efforts and honesty towards script, story, and dialogue can take such movies to a masterpiece level. But...no! "We are going to earn a lot of money. You are going to enjoy watching the magnificent sequence of millions of frog jumping in ancient buildings. Call it even?" Really?
Let alone the title,as I walked into the theater late, I only saw Christian Bale saving some kingly dressed Egyptian. And the next thing I see the Egyptian man calls him Moses. Where is this coming from? Sure, Moses lived in the palace raised by the Pharaoh's daughter but when did he save Pharaoh's son in the war? Moses, the author of Exodus himself would have remembered to give himself that credit if he did that, wouldn't he?
Well, the director tries to make a point about the 'valiant' Moses, But later you find it is little too much exaggeration of thought to give screen time of around 20 minutes to the whole act of Moses discovering about his nationality, when Bible just conveys that he already knew he is a Hebrew.Absolutely ridiculous thing is to use Ben Kingsley as Nun, who is the father of Joshua for the dramatic effect of letting the cat out of the bag that Moses is a Hebrew. All this successfully blurs the actual details of the character of Moses through the way he was raised. Truth about his nationality and race helped him choose the side and kill the Egyptian in the first instance he saw his people troubled. That is what truth does; it will aid you in judgment.
The most disappointing scene in the movie has not yet come until you see a bush burning and a small boy saying that he is the I AM. I was looking forward to this entire dialog between God and Moses but apparently this Moses was sinking in mud hit by stones and he wakes up getting convinced by his wife that it is all in his head. Yeah, as this Moses doesn't go with a staff on to this mountain like the one guarding the sheep, also misses God's instruction to use staff to work wonders to convince his people.
I know, now we just wait for him to get back to Egypt and set things in action, meet Aaron and negotiate with Pharaoh regarding the release of his people. But you will be shocked that this Moses is neither the one who stammers with tongue nor with his sword. He secretly ambushes Pharaoh in his palace and threatens him in the name of God.For whatever reasons, Moses here trains an army of handful of Israelite men the basics of archery, for what? to take down the entire Egyptian army? I doubt that! To deal with this adamant Moses, God says I will do my business, you can stop fighting, only to dampen the Moses's mighty spirit to save his own people.
I can't believe they showed the plagues to have had fueled from the river full of crazy crocodiles eating 10 men!! Whatever the director thought of the original story of Aaron using his staff on the river to change it into blood, he came up with this idiotic picture in his head. And all the other plagues are the effect of this blood plague! Clearly there was no effort made while narrating this story to convey that Hebrew people are not being affected by the plagues. On top of it, Moses is telling God to fall in line with the story by saying that everyone is getting affected by these bloody plagues can you like stop?
Thanks to the disobedient Moses, it helped the director not convey God's repeated messages to Pharaoh, warning him to leave Israelites from his country. Good God! Somehow, Moses cryptically warns Pharaoh that his son might die that night if he wouldn't let his people out of country by night. I couldn't stop wondering if it not for the actual Pharaoh, this Pharaoh would have listened if Moses just spoke the words as absolute God's word.
By now, we should know what to expect from this Moses, but I was totally unmoved by his concern for lambs over the preparation for Passover. We see that the movie might end soon when Hebrew people start to leave Egypt with anticipation about the great Red sea scene. Another disappointment greets us there as well, no amount of joy is shown on the faces of people who have been slaves for 400 years once they got freedom, I am sure the director very well knows how America celebrates 4th of July!
I think I need to let go of some more failures of Moses here and just come to the end, yeah there is no parting of the red sea! You will be aghast to discover the reason for water to recede, Moses flinging his sword into the water! Moses has absolutely no clue where he is going, no God to talk to him. Pharaoh hasn't lost the lead, follows him soon. Given the confused emotions of Moses about his love for his Pharaoh Brother putting him in turmoil, fighting his own personal battles he waits and waits to be drowned in the flood. Oh no, they didn't kill him and our hero comes out of the sea to the side where Hebrews are waiting. Now, who led who exactly! Sigh!!
The onward journey began, and there comes the Mt Sinai, God called Moses to write 10 commandments, the futility of the movie became crystal clear as God serves him tea and asks him to write a commandment if he agrees on the validity of that particular command.
In conclusion, it's a story told but the truth left untold!
Its empty, like a chocolate cake with sawdust inside. I feel cheated, extremely disappointed, and unenlightened.
Apart from the incredibly distracting casting choices, we know ancient Egyptians were brown to dark brown, the costumes and setting just didn't ring true and continuously brought me out of the movie and into the increasingly monotonous script that lacked any originality, spark or wit.
Yes, this is straight by the numbers; even including a more 'scientific' approach to the story that I think was supposed to be clever or original, but just fell flat and drained even more life from the movie.
Performances I felt were very ordinary; Bale played his usual character role, serious faced throughout, as did Edgerton, although yet again and again I found distracting his manicured eyebrows and shaven head, clearly a poor attempt to look 'other', when his role should have clearly gone to another. The so called must have big names Scott whined of, such as Weaver, had hardly a word to say.
Its also overlong, or seems it. Large segments between set pieces drag on and on, you check your watch and instead of 30 minutes gone, you realise only 4 minutes have. This is nothing like gladiator. Scott has gotten old. Hes not going to get better.
Only watch if you like a biblical epic with no originality and dour presentation. Everyone else, save your cash and if you are tempted, don't bother with 3D.
"The Ten Commandments" movie of 1956 at 3 hours and 40 minutes, with No CGI, and No battle scenes is easily 10 times more enjoyable than "Exodus Gods and Kings."
Every moment of "The Ten Commandments" is so captivating with top quality story, scripts, acting, directing, sets, costumes, visual effects, and music that time really flies by when watching it. "Exodus Gods and Kings," however, is so desperately dull, with horrible script, cheap looking sets, lack luster performances, I can honestly say that it's the worst movie I have seen in a very long time.
Even the music was forgettable (except when it sounded like the original "Stargate" movie soundtrack, which it did a lot of times).
And don't even get me started on the visual effects in "Exodus Gods and Kings." The plagues are done so well they're stomach churning, but they don't even happen in the way that the original Bible stories say they happened. But the ONE scene in the entire movie that's really spectacular CGI is directed so completely without thought that it makes no sense whatsoever...
SMALL SPOILER ALERT: The water in the Red Sea is rapidly receding to the right, sort of like what happens before a Tsunami. It only takes a few minutes for that area of the Red Sea to be shallow enough for the thousands of recently freed Hebrews to start walking across. This is disappointing as far as visuals go, but does make sense so far. Then just before the giant wave comes we see absolutely spectacular storm clouds and multiple tornadoes and waterspouts develop. These visual effects are some of the best ever in the history of CGI, but the tornadoes didn't actually do anything at all in this scene. They did not pull the water away in the first place, like the storm clouds created by God (or spaceships) did in "The Ten Commandments." They simply appeared in the distance for no reason, just before the huge Tsunami wave crashed down on Pharaoh's soldiers.
To show the outright sloppiness of this movie again, in scene after scene there are one or two guys spying on Moses, and nothing ever happens as a result. It's a big set up to a big nothing.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: If you happen to be a fan of the "Ancient Aliens" show or believe in Hebrew Mysticism you will be sorely disappointed in "Exodus Gods and Kings." Mostly because, the only reason Moses sees a burning bush or talks to God the first time is that he just got conked on the head by a huge rock. Then, every time a miracle happens, this sassy little boy (who is just now angry at the Egyptian Pharaohs after 400 years of Hebrew enslavement) is the one doing the miracles, not even through Moses. Moses really does none of the miracles in this movie. He has a sword through most of it, and never even carries a staff.
In the Bible, when Moses came down from Mt. Sinai his face was shining. This is important no matter what your beliefs are. They at least touch on this in "The Ten Commandments" but in "Exodus Gods and Kings," the only thing that happens on Mt. Sinai is that the little boy dictates the ten commandments to Moses as he carves them onto the rock tablets. And they don't even show him actually saying any of them. He's just sitting there watching Moses work.
Finally, I have to say that it would have been very nice to actually see the Ark of the Covenant in a movie about Moses. Moses is shown riding with presumably the Ark in a basket on a veiled wagon, but still the only time in the history of the movies that we get to see the actual Ark is in an Indiana Jones movie, which is also easily 10 times better than "Exodus Gods and Kings."
So if you feel like seeing a Biblical movie or a movie about ancient Egypt, definitely buy or rent "The Ten Commandments" (1956). Also, "The Robe" (1953) is not a Bible story, but is the best portrayal of true Christian principles of faith and unconditional love that I have ever seen. Both have amazing, high quality stereo and surround sound for their time. Their original soundtrack albums are two of the all time best in the history of Hollywood also.
In fact, as inaccurate as it may be, I even found the 2008 adventure "10,000 BC" hugely more enjoyable than "Exodus Gods and Kings." Likewise the 1994 sci-fi film "Stargate."
Wish Mr. Scott has the courage someone like Mel Gibson had when he made this movie. Passion Of The Christ & Apocalypto are prime examples of a director willing to risk everything for what he believes in(even if you disagree with it). And after watching this film. I can safely say Ridley only believes in money.
Moses & Ramesses should've been played by middle eastern actors. Christian Bale should've played Moses' brother Aaron(according to old scriptures, he did most of the talking for Moses). While John Turturro & Sigourney Weaver casting was just plain wrong!
The story has been told so many times and it would've been much better if Ridley told the story of the Hebrews after leaving Egypt. Their 40- year Sinai plight for example. Started the film with the plagues & the Red Sea parting, then took off from there to show us events not many know of.
Don't waste your money on this. Wait for the director's cut then rent it. Maybe Mr. Scott can save this from the $4.99 shelf.
Why is this so dull? When you have this much money at your disposal, you got to try to make as much of a HUMAN connection, to make the drama really stand out (this was something another filmmaker in 2014, Aronofsky with Noah, actually understood and really made palpable and intense amid the spectacle). Or, go the other way into broad and campy material. Scott is just there to shoot a lot of this much the way he did Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood - in other words, substitute out the pyramids with colisseums, or castles, or other things, and you'd have similar hyper-kinetic action (sometimes but not always too fast) and actors who are well-trained and versed and there to do the work, but not much more.
Actually, those other films, even Robin Hood, would be preferable to sit through again than Exodus. There's just no joy or excitement to the filmmaking; the closest part where it really gets engaging and exciting and full of 'Wow' material are the plagues. Those work well, just as eye-candy. People in the cast like Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton, as Moses and Ramses respectively, are giving it their all - or as much as the script is asking them too, which is pretty similar relatively scene to scene (Ramses rarely is anything other than a "God"-type d***head). But other actors are completely wasted amid the scenery and effects: Sigourney Weaver, Aaron Paul, Ben Kingsley, they're only there to look on with awe and "huh" moments, or deliver exposition glumly. Ewen Bremmer, of all actors, as the sort of court-jester-summarizer of the plagues steals the show far as supporting players go.
It's all just flat, monotonous story-telling, and for all of those moments - that mid-section with the plagues - that are visually striking and cool-looking, there's still not much investment with the characters. We know how this will play out, but what do Scott and his screenwriters do to add anything extra aside from that been-there-done-that "lived-in" dirty quality? Uh... extra violence (albeit just up to the line of R-rated)? An opening battle? For all of the intensity of the two main actors, and the tremendous special effects, it's practically wasted on a story that is 90 minutes shorter than DeMille's 1956 Ten Commandments, feels long and sluggishly paced - this despite the fact that certain other characters who could add some human dimension (like Moses' wife) are underdeveloped and under-utilized. Just put the actor there, prop-like, shoot, go on with the next scene.
Where's a good 'Golden Calf' sequence when you really need one?
This year, yet another attempt is made by director Ridley Scott with big star Christian Bale as Moses, a combination is too promising to ignore. So despite the lukewarm to negative early reviews, I wanted to see and judge this film for myself.
We all know the story of Moses from the book of Exodus. He was a Hebrew who grew up in the Egyptian palace side by side with Pharaoh's own son Ramses. When Moses' real origin was revealed, he was exiled. There in the wilderness, he obeys God's orders by way of the burning bush to return to Egypt to ask the new Pharaoh to set the Hebrews free from slavery. Only after God sent ten dreadful plagues did Ramses relent. Moses led the Hebrews across the Red Sea and into the Promised Land of milk and honey.
This film is basically faithful with the biblical story, with the advantage of higher technology in special visual effects to create grander vistas and more realistic plagues. It tried to inject some scientific logic into the supernatural events, particularly the Red Sea crossing. However, the explanation for the turning of water into blood was quite a stretch. Moses did not have a staff that turned into a snake nor part the Red Sea. The Angel of Death scenes were presented curiously just like the way it was done on "The Ten Commandments"!
The lackluster portrayal by the actors added to the coldness of the film. I don't know if Christian Bale did not make a very good Moses. He felt like he was going through the motions here, no passion whatsoever. Joel Edgerton was totally wrong as Ramses. He looked ill at ease the whole film, and it was obvious from the posters alone! The presence of Ben Kingsley, Sigourney Weaver and Aaron Paul in cast were wasted in small unremarkable roles.
Some people may expect this to be a religious film. However, the whole film felt soul-less, and this made the long 150-minute running time seem so unbearably slow. The very way God was portrayed did not sit very well with me. God in this film was personified as an imperious young boy who was projected to be mercilessly violent and vindictive. There was no hint of compassion nor magnanimity here. Moses was even arguing against God. The film felt like it had an anti-God undertone, even atheistic, which was uncomfortable for me. This is yet another disappointing Biblical film debacle this year, though I would not consider as bad as the total disaster that was "Noah". 4/10.
Amazing visuals aside this was a poor movie. When will filmmakers realise the MAIN reason the majority of people watch films is for a story to be told and to relate to the characters involved - NOT to see amazing visuals, as entertaining as they are! The story of Moses in the Bible is rich, amazing and epic. Unfortunately the story in this film is slow, lacks heart, but more importantly, completely betrays the original "true" story.
The scene where Moses kills an Egyptian was flat, empty and over before you could blink. What should have been one of the biggest moments in the movie to help understand Moses passion for his people, character, disdain for Egypt (according to the movie he LOVED Egypt) and origins ended in a flash. Moses showed zero remorse in what was more an act of self defense over empathy.
When you don't tell the whole truthful story the characters involved are ultimately betrayed. The movie suffers from this particularly in God's character. Ridley Scott seems determined to focus on the supposed relationship between Moses and his supposed brother. But we never really care about either of them or their relationship. Not to mention the Bible never mentions this, in fact it implies that the Pharaoh at the time of Moses return didn't even care about him or perhaps even know him?
Ridley Scott would have done well to concentrate on staying true to the story and establishing a connection between the audience and the two central characters: God and Moses. Unfortunately we end up with a movie that is desperately trying to be epic in scale and visuals but somewhat confusing in it's story and it's characters.
There are some minor differences from 'The Ten Commandments (56)' that explains the human interactions. Ridley Scott brings the big action. There are great actors doing good work. In the end, this is simply another version of the epic with some changes. It is technically sound. The pace is uneven with some very slow sections. It doesn't add anything to the story or cinema. It can only redo some of the iconic special effects. It doesn't dive into Moses' personality. It tries to make him more human and less icon. It's not as compelling. It leaves me wondering why this movie needed to be made. This movie is made to be forgotten.
'Exodus: Gods and Kings' is totally uncomplicated and very resourceful for those who didn't knew much about the story of Moses.
The special effects was also a stunningly incredible experience, especially in 3D.
However the first half of the movie is wordy and a bit low on action, but also writing. I find the second half of the story absolutely pretty well told and it really paid off our time we have spent on this long journey. Our much given time felt worthy and most important satisfying.
Because after two hours of watching, coming to experience the ending was so sentimental and extraordinary well done. I think you just can not get no goose bumps. It was mind blowing. It was a masterpiece to watch.
All in all I'd say stay far away from this film. Unless you are an insomniac and low on Nyquill, or need a laugh. Then watch it. Again, who casted this film? This depiction of this era in time is not only inaccurate it is hilariously played out on the big screen.
Save your money and see something else. Trust me. You too will be soon wanting to shove razor blades in your eyes if you see this film.
I'm amazed and amused at the same time by the many negative reviews given by angry religious people who are mad at the film makers for not sticking to the "historical facts". Are you kidding me? These people read a story that for centuries was orally passed from generation to generation, until it one day, some 2,500 years ago, i.e. many centuries after the supposed events, got written down, and they call it "historical facts"?!
If this story happened the way the Bible tells it, then biblical literalists really are worshiping a sadistic tyrant, who kills innocent people and even children. Is this what they want?
Please think: You have 400 years of Hebrew presence in Egypt and about 2,000,000 people (600,000 men + their families + a number of non Hebrews) walking for 40 years in the desert, and despite 200 years of intense search absolutely nothing has ever been found that shows that this biblical tale really took place. Zero, nada, niente! Even many Jews don't believe in it anymore. In the 1970s archaeologists gave up searching for evidence.
So, why should a film about the Exodus stick to the "facts" when this story is not based on facts?
If religious people want historical facts, how about this one: according to the Jewish Encyclopedia, fact is that the Hebrews were polytheists. After the Babylonian exile (around 500 BC), the prophets compelled them to stick with Yahweh (Jehovah), who was just one of their many gods, but had become the main one.
And if you think Moses was a man of God, then open your Bible now and read Numbers 31:13-18. That was Moses! And in Deuteronomy 13:6-10 Yahweh himself commands the Israelites to kill their own families, if they turn to other gods. If you believe in the Bible, this is the god you are following!
Again, the film is not superb, but not bad either.