Christian Bale is Moses in Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Reel Reviews: Exodus: Gods and Kings is a fair commandment

Don’t pass over this movie, despite what critics may be saying.

  • Dec. 21, 2014 12:00 p.m.

After the Pharaoh Seti dies, his son, the somewhat inept Ramses (Joel Edgerton), takes his place ruling Egypt. When it is discovered that Moses, (Christian Bale), the beloved brother of Ramses who was known to be adopted, is actually a Hebrew, Ramses banishes Moses to live with his people.

Moses goes about living his life, raising a family, until God (Isaac Andrews) instructs him to ask Ramses to free the Hebrew people.

Ramses refuses, causing God to unleash a series of horrendous plagues upon the Egyptians. When the plagues cause Ramses to give in, he lets Moses and 600,000 Hebrews leave Egypt, but not before one last battle where Moses parts the Red Sea and then brings the water back, drowning the Egyptian army.

We say, “Don’t pass over this movie.”

BRIAN: There are plenty of times where a movie can simply get reviewed for what it is, a story told in pictures and sound. Occasionally, a film comes along that generates either a negative or positive buzz outside the theatre that requires addressing. Thus, I spent a few hours reading the Bible with my wife and discussing the story of Moses. I can confidently say that Exodus: Gods and Kings does edit and change the story a bit. However, people’s complaints aren’t only with the story: Critics are complaining that the film fails to move people, which is not true. Purists (if I may) are unhappy that two caucasians with blue eyes play Moses and Ramses. This is a movie after all, as it turns out, it’s not terrible. It’s also not great. As poor Mr. Howe fell ill this week, let’s ask my wife Dawn what she thinks.

DAWN:  The edits that Ridley Scott makes to the tale of Moses communicating between God and Pharaoh save a lot of repetition. It keeps things tidy and moves the film along, but also removes some of the mystery of God’s work.  Pharaoh seems to have hardened his own heart in this telling of the tale. Moses might be more confident on the big screen than in the Bible and relied less on his brother Aaron to do his talking. I was engaged for almost the entire two-and-a-half hours of the film. It has beautiful sky shots, the effects were mostly good, Christian Bale was almost completely endurable. It was fine.

BRIAN: Christian Bale overdoes things and sometimes ruins them. He should play Macho Man Randy Savage in a movie. I preemptively give that movie 5 out of 5! However, he didn’t Bale on Exodus: Gods and Kings, delivering what I would call a passable performance. It has moving moments, exciting scenes, one wet spectacle, and a bit too much fighting. The sets and costumes are lavish and the film is very large in scope. See it on the big screen.

DAWN: A lot of swords, a lot of killing, an epic treatment, a Hollywood movie.

– Dawn gives Exodus: Gods and Kings 3 matzah balls out of 5.

– Brian gives it 3.5 bonks on the head out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C. Their column Reel Reviews appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.

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