Now I have to tell you out right that I am not much of a religious guy. I definitely respect any and all religious believes and I would never try to convince anyone to turn their believes, I just don’t personally much care for it.
With that said when I was younger I did indeed go to a Christian church, every Sunday, were I would attend Sunday school and learn the teachings of the bible. My favorite biblical tale was always the Book of Exodus, about the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt being lead my Moses. I mean it had everything from deadly curses, to parting of the sea, to the Ten Commandments. I always thought that I would make an excellent Hollywood blockbuster and with this film director Ridley Scott almost proves me right.
Scott has made a big budget, go for broke re-telling of the classic story. He isn’t so much concerned with getting all the details right, or making the film a five-hour classic. This is just Scott taking one of he most action pact moments of the bible and turning it into a piece of entertainment, for which the most part is pretty damn fun to watch.
I firmly believe had Scott trimmed out some parts in the saggy middle of the film, he could have had one of the best balls to walls action epics of the year.
The story starts in 1300 BC were Moses (Christian Bale) who is a general for the Royal Family, joins Prince Ramesses (Joel Edgerton) as they prepare to attack the Hattie army. Before they go they are told about a prophecy by Seti (John Turturro), in which one of them will save the other and become a great leader. Of course during the attack it is Moses who saves Hattie from near death and this sets off a bit of jealousy from Ramesses and a troubled mind for Moses.
Moses takes a trip to check on the city of Pithom, to met with Viceroy Hegep (Ben Mendelsohn) a wealthy beyond his needs Hebrew slave driver. Moses is disgusted by the way the slaves are being treated. After telling Hegep how he feels, Moses meets with Nun (Ben Kingsley) who informs him that he is actually Hebrew and his parents sent him with his sister Miriam to live with the Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses is angered and does not believe the tale and storms off, but two Hebrew slaves over hear the conversation and tell Hegep.
Soon after Moses returns Seti dies and Ramesses takes over as the Pharaoh. Hegep tells Ramesses what he has learned about Moses and this starts a feud between the two when Ramesses sends Moses to the desert to die. Moses does not die, he ends up in Midian were he marries Zipporah and has a son Gershom. Nine years later Moses has the important encounter with the burning bush and a boy called Malak who is meant to be a representation of god. The boy tells Moses what he most do and Moses begins his journey training Hebrew man to attack Ramesses and his army.
From there it goes into the 10 plagues, the parting of the sea stuff and a brief introduction to the Ten Commandments at the end of the film. The story is widely know by now so I don’t feel like I am giving much away by telling this do you. I figure it may even enhance your chances of wanting to see it, if you no exactly what you will get.
As I said above this is not meant to be a faithful to the book type movie, this is more entertainment than fact and it takes liberties with the story to make sure the film never gets boring. The first half of the movie does a nice job setting up the story and the way between two “brothers”. The middle portion of the movie is were the film starts to drag its feet a bit and the slow pace is really off setting.
However once we get to the plagues the movie picks up again and doesn’t let up till the very end. Visually the movies is stunning with the ancient world being wonderfully reconstructed by the standout CGI work in the film. Shots of pyramids, mountains, buildings collapsing, giant waves will provide you with some of the most breath taking shots of any movie this year.
This is a big epic and the CGI really makes it have that feel.
For me the standout of the movie is the costume work here, as they beautifully recreated the classic style of that area, with glorious head pieces, dazzling gold plated body wear and stunning dresses for the ladies. I can’t think of a film this year that has better work in that department and I have to believe and Oscar nomination is assured.
What doesn’t really work for me here is the acting.
Not to say that anyone is really bad, but nobody really stands out much and it seems like the actors are giving it there all but stalling perhaps as the movie becomes more of a visual treat than a talent based one. Also the running length is simply too long. At two and half hours the movie clearly has moments that feel like they are just filler and with a bit more editing this could have been a tight epic.
I am sure there will be those who are offended by this film and its lack of accurate history but I must once again point out this film is meant to be taken as a piece of entertainment and nothing more. There is no need to beat a dead horse going on about its accuracy, it simply doesn’t matter in this film.
Besides, lets say this film actually inspires someone to seek out and read the Bible and they find God because of it … wouldn’t that be a good thing? I know I am pulling at straws here but stranger things have happened.
So if you are just looking for a big budget action film that will keep you well entertained throughout most of its running time this is the film for you. Just don’t expect to much from it.