Epic in scale, but lacking in passion and conviction, Exodus: Gods and Kings is directed by Ridley Scott and stars Christian Bale as Moses, the adopted Egyptian prince and prophet who saves the Israelites. The story of Moses is captured in the Bible’s Book of Exodus, hence the movie’s name, which is Hebrew for “going out”. His story is essentially the story of how the Israelites escaped from Egypt and the perilous life of slavery by following him on a treacherous journey through the mountains and across the Red Sea.
As a viewer with no religious or historical background, Exodus: Gods and Kings will be intriguing but also a little confusing as the background of Moses’ upbringing is skimmed over and not properly explained. Watching as an individual who is well-versed in the Biblical story and other theatrical interpretations of it, the movie will be frustrating and, aside from the impressive CGI, it will be boring. While the older theatrical versions of the story of Moses for the most part interpreted the Bible literally (i.e. the burning bush, the plagues, and the parting of the Red Sea), Exodus: Gods and Kings actually attempts to make some aspects of the story more realistic and believable for the 21st century audience; and in this, it succeeds. The visual effects were refreshing in the sense that they were not completely over-the-top and mostly stayed within the realm of the believable. Despite this, however, it never truly meets expectations and the rather abrupt ending leaves one feeling impassive regarding the 150 minute experience.
It is quite rare that an animated movie, namely Disney’s The Prince of Egypt (1998 – animated), can do a better job at explaining this historical event and provoke more emotion with respect to the main character, but in this case it’s true. Even 1956’s The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston seemed more true to the story and put its 220 minutes to relatively good use.
As movie-goers have come to expect a great performance from Christian Bale, the fact that he is convincing and quite good in the role of Moses just isn’t enough of a reason to watch the movie. His stellar performances are typically enough to carry a bad movie and appeal to audiences who appreciate the art, but due to the movie’s grand scale and lack of depth, it simply isn’t the case here. Unfortunately, this film missed the mark and will leave most viewers disappointed and underwhelmed.
Exodus: Gods and Kings was released in theatres in December 2014 and is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
As published on Examiner.com