The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled
Exodus: Gods and Kings (20th Century Fox)
Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine and Steven Zaillian
Okay everybody calm down about this movie. This is just your standard Ridley Scott action adventure epic with a strong biblical background. But I think the best way of thinking about Exodus: Gods and Kings is as a pre-pre-prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark. Sure there are too many white faces in roles that would better be served with a darker hue but that doesn’t bother me as much as it did when I was a kid. Back when Elizabeth Taylor or Yule Brenner or who the fuck ever played North Africans without tans. Before Cheikh Anta Diop proved definitively that the Ancient Egyptians were dark as pitch. Darker than I am… and I am the darker brother. But anyway, Exodus is a decent enough movie with a few good battle sequences and an epic chase at the end. If you don’t know the story my review may spoil it because I’m just assuming that most of my readers at least partially know the story of Moses. But Exodus: Gods and Kings is good enough to be spared.
Exodus is a movie about a prince of Egypt; Moses, who discovers he was actually born a slave and how he doesn’t want to believe it and struggles with it. And it’s also about his brother, Ramses, who was born into royalty but isn’t the leader his father was or his brother is. And how he doesn’t want to believe and struggle with that. But , at its core, It’s just your classic sibling rivalry. “My slaves!” “My people!” “I’m telling dad.” “Well I’m telling god.” You know. The same old story.
Here’s what I did not like… The casting. The casting is awful. And again I’m not talking about the complexions of the actors but Christian Bale and the dude who plays Ramses are garbage in this. And they carry the bulk of the movie. Aaron Paul is decent and the other characters are well portrayed but those two are hilariously bad. And they are the stars. So bad. And I also didn’t like all of the animal deaths. Too many animals are killed in this movie. Not cool Ridley… or God… or whoever is to blame for that one.
I enjoyed the effects sequences however. I really liked the plagues and I liked the way the parting of the Red Sea wasn’t all cheesy like there were walls holding back the water but it was more organic. As if to say a miracle like this one is highly implausible but not scientifically impossible. Thought that was cool. And I liked God as a child. A couple of country banned it for that. I always like gods represented as children. It makes them much more formative and scary in my opinion.
And I enjoyed the battles. I love epic battles of any era with any weapons. Wooden or iron. By the way Ridley, wooden weapons not iron from that era. And yet Exodus: Gods and Kings really brings the grand scale battles to life. It is an epic tale. But because it is such an epic tale, there is very little character development outside of Moses and Ramses. I’m guessing because there’s no room for it. That’s sad and also serves to make the movie more mediocre. Exodus has and will always be a story best told as a multi-night television event… on cable. Ridley Scott almost completely abandons the story of Moses as a child. (It’s told in dialogue). And he rushes through the Ten Commandments like it’s just an epilogue in the life of Moses. No character development and a truncated story but still a two hours plus running time.
But here’s the reason why I liked it. My favorite part of the entire film is the last scene. Moses has the pieces of the Ten Commandments in the… and he’s carrying them in a covered wagon and… I wish John Williams Raiders theme had kicked in at that moment. I would have died right then and there. But with the way he shot it and dressed it, you know that was what he was going for. Ridley Scott’s tribute to Raiders of the Lost of Ark. Because my two favorite films when I was a kid were Raiders and Ridley’s Blade Runner. So it was just one of those moments I was like hell yeah.
So, yeah. It’s a mediocre movie but forever I will think of Exodus: Gods and Kings as the pre-pre-prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark… really. The last shot in the film helped me like the movie a little more than it actually deserved.