“Exodus: Gods and Kings” boring on a biblical scale


Eddie Sheehy, Arts and Entertainment Editor

When Exodus: Gods and Kings was first announced, many, like myself, were ecstatic at the idea of legendary director Ridley Scott taking on this biblical epic. By all means, this seemed like the perfect film for the aging Scott, who’s long and renowned film career has included movies such as Alien, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and American Gangster just to name a few.

Scott’s specialty seems to be taking larger than life, overly ambitious projects, and taming them, creating some of the finest works in cinema. Taking Scott and putting the acting powerhouse that is Christian Bale under his direction, with a script based off of some of the oldest and most respected stories in human history, should have easily resulted in a successful film.

Unfortunately for them, as well as us, it just didn’t.

And perhaps even more disappointing, it didn’t for more than a few reasons.

To start off, the movie is rushed. Yes, you heard me right; this two and a half hour movie is rushed. It’s a classic case of biting off more than you can chew. The bible is heavy source material, and properly executing its contents would take more time than you could possibly squeeze into one movie.

The time it would take to properly create a backstory that would make us truly care about Ramses and Mosses, and their apparent brotherhood, just isn’t possible. What we get instead is a rushed explanation through a prophecy that is supposed to sum up 30 years of relations between these two men in mere minutes. It starts the movie off on a very undesirable tone, and creates an apathetic point of view for the viewer throughout the rest of the film.

Now, for the record, I’m not boding for a sequel here, nor am I suggesting a longer cut to this movie. What I’m suggesting is not using the Bible as source material for films. Here’s the sad truth about the bible. It’s boring. And not just any type of boring, it’s a special kind of boring. The kind that has to develop over a few thousand years.

Albeit, they did use perhaps the most exciting part of the bible, but not even plagues and the wrath of god could save this movie from being a real snooze fest.

Another problem is the acting. I know I just talked at length about how the movie did not lend enough time to developing the backstory between Ramses and Moses, but the acting definitely didn’t help. Throughout the film Christian Bale attempts to convey emotion and empathy towards his now tyrannical brother and estranged wife and kid, but not even Bale could make us care about their storyline. In fact, the best piece of acting came not from Bale, but from Joel Edgerton who played Ramses. By no means was it an Oscar-worthy performance, but it was believable. Edgerton’s Ramses was the most dynamic performance throughout, and when an audience cares more about the supposed bad guy in a movie, you have a big problem on your hands.

And that is what brings me to my biggest problem with the movie. God. Naturally, every movie has their own unique spin on what god looks like, but Exodus: Gods and Kings may have the most unique version yet. In this movie, God is a 10-year-old kid. It’s clever, and unexpected, which is what I’m sure they were going for. But making God a 10-year-old kid did have some very negative effects on the movie.

For starters, you don’t really want to trust him. If god was some wise, old, omnipotent power, you’re inclined to believe him, but when he’s a little boy, you have to take everything he does with a grain of salt. Next, the role is just too demanding for a kid. God should convey something special, but a child, no matter how advanced their acting abilities are, will never be able to play the role with the gravitas needed for such a character. And finally, and perhaps most detrimental, God is just straight up whiny in Exodus. When you have a kid making decisions like burdening Egypt with a swarm of Locust, or making the rivers run red with blood, or killing every first born son in Egypt, every decision turns into a temper tantrum instead of the wrath of god.

Overall I’d have to say that you should really pass on this movie. It’s way too long, and way too boring to warrant spending your time and money on. It breaks my heart that this movie turned out so wrong, Ridley Scott is one of my favorite directors, and the fact that he dedicated this story of brothers to his own brother Tony Scott, makes it even harder to say that this is not even close to his best work.

Exodus: Gods and Kings opens in theaters everywhere December 12.