This film is another retelling of one of the most famous Biblical tales of all time. Moses (played by Bale) rises up again Ramses, the Egyptian Pharaoh, to free 600,000 slaves on a journey of epic proportions to escape from Egypt’s clutches and its cycle of terrifying and deadly plagues.
What I Liked: The special effects were well done. I also enjoyed the cinematography.
What I Didn’t Like: Unfortunately, there was very little to enjoy as a whole for me. The pacing was terrible. The film has a 2.5 hour run time and I still wonder why.
The 3D was pointless. It wasn’t distracting at all, but it could have been incorporated much better, especially during battle scenes. Its PG-13 rating held it back for sure, especially when it comes to portraying their struggles as well as the violence. I believe it could have been done without being gratuitous while still being effective for the viewer. The Bible is brutal. Certain films should be too.
Certain scenes made it come off as borderline satirical and part of the problem is the casting. It was very difficult for me to suspend my disbelief in a few instances. Sigourney Weaver for one. She is one of my favorite actresses. She makes one hell of an Avatar (that was honestly my favorite part of that film), but a believable Egyptian she is not. It honestly felt like she and other cast members were playing dress up. I’m as much of an Aaron Paul fan as the next person who knows anything about Breaking Bad. But I honestly found myself giggling inwardly at his portrayal of Joshua. I am not saying he should be type cast, but in the moment I could only think of him as Jessie Pinkman transported back to BCE. And of course we can’t forget the main man himself, Christian Bale. He does not come out of this one unscathed either. Obviously he has iconic roles and is a fine actor. But we all have our misses and this is definitely one to file away in the “miss” pile, along with his John Connor. While I like his acting, he is just not suited for everything.
The romance was super rushed too. I don’t even think Moses and Zipporah interact for not even five minutes before they are married. No, romance is not at the forefront of the story, but I didn’t find it believable and couldn’t buy into their chemistry, or lack thereof.
Overall: Exodus: Gods and Kings lacks depth that hinders it from being a truly epic retelling. The time was right for it too, so I can only chalk it up to an unfortunate missed opportunity. The best film portraying the story of Moses for me remains The 10 Commandments (1956) with Charlton Heston. That has withstood the test of time. This version won’t even withstand the test of the year.
**This review is also a guest post for my friends over at The Grand Shuckett.