Saturday, December 27, 2014

Exodus: Gods and Kings

Starring: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, Aaron Paul
Director: Ridley Scott
Running Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Rating: PG-13

I had some serious doubts about Christian Bale portraying Moses in Ridley Scott's latest snoozefest epic tale "Exodus: Gods and Kings." He won't be winning an Oscar for this role, but he was believable for the most part. Props though to Bale, for going from playing the love of my life in the 1994 classic "Little Women," to every little boy's hero in Nolan's Batman trilogy, to the Chosen One in arguably the most famous story in the Old Testament. Beautiful cinematography, extravagant costumes and a fairly strong supporting cast makes this a successful film overall, though it could have been shortened by about 45 minutes. And by the way, Egypt is supposedly banning its release.

Moses was hot!
Photo Courtesy of Wall Street Journal/20th Century Fox
Biblical films and TV shows are apparently trending this year ("Noah," "Son of God," NBC's "AD".) You know the story: Baby Moses' life is spared when his mother sends him down the Nile in a basket, where he is found and adopted by the royal Egyptian family. He ultimately leads the Israelite slaves to freedom in Canaan through the Red Sea. Joel Edgerton gives an honest performance as Ramses, Moses' adopted brother and the heir to the Egyptian throne. Ramses is clearly conflicted as a leader and as his father said, "those who want most badly to lead are those who are least equipped to do so."

Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley are familiar faces, who only grace the screen for a combined total of 7 minutes. Same goes for everyone's favorite meth maker sidekick Aaron Paul, though his first line really wasn't until the parting of the Red Sea. It's a risk, trusting writers and directors to present stories you've always heard about in the way they've always imagined them. God appears to Moses in the form of a 10 year old boy, an interesting choice, one I don't feel strongly about one way or the other. The 10 plagues that were cast upon Egypt took an impressive 25 minutes, and were beautifully portrayed, as horrid as they may have been. Scott's parting of the Red Sea wasn't at all like I imagined, but over the top special effects exist for a reason.

I was expecting this to be more of a holiday blockbuster, but I'm afraid this one has already gotten swept to the side. It's the strongest Biblical take I've seen in a while, but don't worry if you wait to RedBox this one.


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