Exodus – Gods and Kings: Flashy Version of Nothing New

ExodusDirector Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator) continues his slide into obscurity with another Bible movie that needn’t be made. Essentially, Gladiator does Biblical folklore, Exodus isn’t much more than a shiny surface.

Premise: The story of Moses leading the Jews From Egypt. Result: Again. But with more CGI and fighting. Of course!

The film begins (as does Gladiator) with a pretty cool battle sequence in which the Egyptians, led by Pharaoh Seti’s (John Turturro) son, Ramses (Joel Edgerton), and his quasi-adopted brother General Moses (Christian Bale), descend upon the Canaanites. It is one of the few noteworthy moments to recount in an otherwise glossed up version of a quite literally ancient story.

Scott does a fair job of establishing the characters and devises/recounts a plot where Nun (Ben Kingsley) and his unhappy band of slave-Jews blow Moses’ cover leading to his banishment from Alexandria.  This leads him on a dangerous journey in the desert where he happens to find hot women and God in the form of a child, for some reason.

And boy do they argue. But eventually Moses returns to Alexandria because of destiny and baby-God. There he reunites clandestinely with his slave-Jew brethren and takes it to Ramses, Jewish-guerrilla-style, which is quite fun, as if no one knows what’s going to happen. More arguments with baby-God/baby-God impatience and we have ourselves some well-orchestrated plagues, a la Ridley Scott.

Ultimately, the film is as an OK time. The characters appear to have actual motives and some depth, the sequences play out, despite the whole “God” concept, reasonably. The resolution is confusing and appears to have gotten away from Scott, but by then audiences will be clamoring for an exodus of their own.

To this point, what works against this movie is its inordinate, epic length that simply punishes all forms of entertainment. While it is actually on 2.5 hours, it feels like much longer.

We miss you...

We miss you…

Rather than prolonged enjoyment, audience interest will soon wane, especially considering that this is likely not the first time anyone has heard the story or even seen a cinematic representation (they are remaking the Classic for goodness sake). Further, much of the dialogue is either ponderous or otherwise pretentious, invoking all sorts of religious zealotry but without any of the zest commonly found in Jesus Camps or Jehovah’s Witness loiterers.

The acting is good overall, considering. Bale and Edgerton, two supremely talented actors have the chops to ground the film even as it continuously attempts to elude them. Kingsley and Aaron Paul are fair, Turturro as well, although Sigourney Weaver’s cameo only demonstrates her painful under use.

Meh. Not terrible. Some fun but too boring at too many points. Too long and unnecessary in general. Perhaps like this review.

Rating: 5 – A luke-warm Pinot Grigio

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