I mean when you really think about it moses was kind of an Israelite Batman. So the casting kind of makes sense.
“Exodus Gods and Kings” Stars Christian Bale as Moses, yes that Moses, in Ridley Scott’s retelling of the classical biblical tale of how an Israelite baby was adopted into a royal Egyptian family and what happens when he finds out his true heritage and decides to wage a battle to free his people from the slavery they find themselves trapped in. It touches on all the key points, from his life in the palace, to his nomadic days, to the burning bush, the plagues, and of course the escape across the red sea, which makes for a broad and epic tale that fits the story itself.
In fact, I’d call that the best thing about the movie. It’s scope. The way these events are brought to the screen are beautifully rendered and awe inspiring. There are moments in this movie where all the elements come together from effects to score to acting, to really make it worth the view on as big a screen as you can find. And Christian Bale is up to the task as well. Even as other well known actors around him are underused and often stale (I’m looking at you Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley) he finds new life in this complex man of scripture. In particular his conversations with God are genuinely engaging and some of the only interesting moments outside the grandeur, portraying God as young boy trying to break through to this stubborn man. Unfortunately when these few moments aren’t happening, the movie is about as interesting as a Sunday School lesson told with paper cut outs.
OK, so that may be a little harsh, but seriously, you are telling a story that many people have heard many times, so find a way to show us something different. There just seemed to be such a lack of imagination and insight to anything new here. I mean the much superior animated “Prince of Egypt” did the exact same story over 15 years ago and they at least made it a musical. This movie is a reminder to me why I piled some praise on the somewhat maligned “Noah” earlier this year. It at least had the guts to try something new, to paint a fully realized and conceptualized version of a story, rather than just painting by numbers. I mean for goodness sake, Veggie Tales did a version of the Moses story that was set in the Old West, with the same beautiful themes and story points, only Moses was a rancher, and they crossed Death Valley not the Red Sea. My point is, if you’re creativity is being shown up by a cucumber and a tomato, you might want give it another go. This is even more evident when the movie drags it’s feet spending too much time telling us parts of the story we already know, making the 2 and a half hours feel even longer.
Overall, Exodus, Gods and Kings is a shoot for the stars epic that only occasionally hits its target. Even with a great performance by Bale and some awe inspiring moments, it’s run of the mill approach and lack of risk taking are enough to plague the movie with a disappointing C-.