Movie Review: Exodus: Gods And Kings

Jean-Paul’s Rating: 3/5 stars

Bottom Line: A visually gorgeous movie with great acting and a middling story.  Ploddingly long at points.  How can you make plagues boring?

Given that a vast majority of the population of the United States is either Christian or Jewish, the story of Exodus will be familiar.  Moses grows up like an Egyptian prince, later finds out he’s a Hebrew, gets told by god to free his people from Egyptian slavery, leads his people to the promised land.  Throw in some plagues and you got yourself the basics of the movie.

Visually, the movie was stunning.  Given, life at that time was much harder, more brutal, and shorter than any of us would be comfortable with, but man, would I want to see Memphis in its prime.  I don’t know how much historical accuracy Ridley Scott went for in portraying it, but it was beautiful.  It is too bad, the visuals were the best part of the movie.

The acting was great, as you would expect from a movie starring Christian Bale, Ben Kingsley, and Sigourney Weaver.  The kid who played Yahweh was also quite good, though I can’t seem to find his name.  There was this one part where he goes all Old Testament that was just exceptional.

None of that can make up for the plodding length of the movie, however.  Weighing in at 150 minutes, much of the movie just goes from scene to scene without much background and often leaves you wondering why things happened the way they did.  The missing background, like Moses’ youth, would have made a much better story.  Also surprising was how boring the plagues were.  They seem to have been an afterthought of the movie.  It went kind of like this: story, story, story, story, plaaaaaaaaagues, overly long death of the firstborn, story, anticlimactic Red Sea showdown, story, story.  Yes, there was a completely pointless rationalization of the plagues thrown in the middle somewhere, but that didn’t seem to fit at all.

This one’s difficult to recommend.  There’s some good stuff, but I’m not sure it’s really worth the time investment.  Oh, and you can ignore all the biblical criticisms of the movie that you read.  Yes, liberties were taken, but choosing Moses to speak to a child-god just makes dramatic sense.