Obviously a Ridley Scott film from the get go, take that as you will. I could leave the review there but I must expand as one sentence doesn’t cut how pointless this film truly is. Surely everyone must know the story but yet Scott and his team go and remake it with no flair or intrigue to at least offer something exciting.
‘Exodus’ tells the biblical story of Moses (Christian Bale) and his raising in Egypt as prince alongside brother figure Ramesses II (Joel Edgerton). Slaves are subjected to horrific labour and soon Moses comes to realise he’s from a Hebrew background leading him to find God and send Ramesses an ultimatum to let his people go otherwise Egypt and the well off will be punished.
That’s the main factor, I mean you must know this story whether religious or not. Stemming from the Old Testament and the vengeful God, this sees the cruelty of man punished and the humanity of innocence tested but eventually restored, though they do omit the craziness of Moses descending from the mountain and killing his followers. This needn’t be made, a Biblical story of this grand scale looks good but that’s about it, it’s only justified if the director or creative team are plating something new to audiences but this is a typical brainless Scott outing. At least ‘Noah’ was inventive and blurred the lines of religion and Eco-warrior, this is just an out and out hashed job.
The music is suitably grand to to mirror the sweeping shots of Egypt and multitudes of slaves, it echoes with a Mediterranean sound, an almost haunting touch to make you feel the pain and subjection of the Hebrew masses. Though it never quite stirs as much as you might expect it to do, moments of emotional imagery forgone for battle sounds and sequences. The music concoct a high level of dread as the horrors of locusts and dying livestock befall the Egyptian land but it’s nothing new to see.
Just go and watch the classic DreamWorks production ‘Prince of Egypt’, it’s lovingly animated with beautiful songs and a religious edge that doesn’t pander or overwhelm but doesn’t rely on actors or fight scenes to entice people. This movie doesn’t have any spectacular moments that stay fresh in the memory, I will always remember the march of slaves fleeing in the cartoon or Moses challenged to ‘Playing with the Big Boys’ against the Pain and Panic like sorcerers. ‘Exodus’ doesn’t even use the parting of the Red Sea, it just pushed back one side!
The main problem this movie had before it was even released was the petitions and refusals to be watched by people based on the clear whitewashing it was utilising. Black or Egyptian race actors were left with minor roles as Welsh or Australian performers took the main seat, just in the name of making the film financially viable, which is a real utter shame of the way Hollywood works that they don’t think real life creeds can act as well as gravelly shouty Bale or slap head Edgerton. When you have Jesse Pinkman and Ellen Ripley cast as a Jew or an Egyptian you know something is skewiff.
Christian Bale is good enough as the mighty then fallen Moses, being broad and then sullen as he’s exiled from the city, though the Welsh accent doesn’t falter much and rubs major friction along with all the other shaky uncommon accents of the feature. Joel Edgerton looks the part actually but just grimaces and scowls to portray the evil ruler we’re meant to hate. Ben Kingsley has hardly anything to do which is a shame. Maria Valverde is one of the finer actors, exuding a precious and gentle air to proceedings. Everyone is just as expected really, plastered in fake tan and guy liner to convince us they’re the real deal.
I won’t even get started on the is he, isn’t he? aspect of God and his appearance as a boy, sufficed to say this epic film has a few more weaknesses than positives, mainly in not being meaty enough to get invested in, the substance is lacking and creativity is underused to tell a story told time and time again.
Entertaining to a little degree but the eleventh plague is this film itself.