Movie Review for Exodus: Gods and KingsWhen established directors make a mediocre film, you tend to give them a certain amount of leeway, because they've earned it. Even Spielberg has lain an egg or two. Ridley Scott is no exception. When looking at some of his bad films, you might balance it out by saying that one of his other films was better. When Prometheus failed to satisfy the fanboys- "At least Alien was good".
When The Counselor left everyone shaking their heads- "It would have been better if it was more like Blade Runner". And when Kingdom of Heaven bored us to death with Orlando Bloom using a bow & arrow for the hundredth time- "Thank God he made Gladiator". His most recent films have been more on the side of lacking lately, and his newest one is definitely that. But don't fret. We'll all look to something greater from his past to once again right the wrongs.
Exodus: Gods and Kings is another of Scott's films that looks great, but has a black hole at the center of it. And no matter how much sand or eyeliner that you throw into it, it will never be filled. The biggest problem with this movie is that its two and a half hour run time isn't long nor smart enough to contain such a large story. For a film that focuses entirely on Christian Bale's Moses, it's not completely sure what to do with him.
Every time that there's a moment that needs to grow between himself and another character, the film shifts to days or even years later. How can we care about the man who "let his people go", if we are not shown his development with those people? I'm also still trying accept Bale (who's Welsh) as a Hebrew. He neither looks nor sounds like it. But he's not the worst. Joel Edgerton (Warrior) as Ramesses II, is almost laughable. His spoiled brat of a performance is only surpassed when he has the constant look on his face of "who dealt it?". Oh wait, that's because of the large amounts of eyeliner that was applied to him and the other white as hell actors in this (I thought that Tammy Faye Bakker was dead).
My other big problem with this movie is the cast. Good to great actors like Aaron Paul (Need for Speed), Ben Mendlesohn (The Place Beyond the Pines), John Turturro (The Big Lebowski), Sigourney Weaver (Paul), and Ben Kingsley (Sexy Beast), are relegated to a mere few scenes, and/or are mostly quiet when shown. With such a powerhouse cast, wouldn't you use them to the best of their abilities?
Those major problems aside, the movie looks really good. The location filming is beautiful. The costumes are beautiful. And so is the cinematography. The visuals are impressive on their large scale. The battle scenes aren't bad but, the film's PG-13 rating hurt their effectiveness, and I swear I saw a guy fake like he got stabbed by holding his arm to his side. The overall look of the film really clouds its shortcomings and, some scenes are shot so well that you might temporarily forget about another one the film's many missed opportunities.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Exodus: Gods and Kings
The Good- Bring on the plagues! The large scale crocodile attack and the chariot chase through the mountains were very cool.
The Bad- I guess the whole "ten commandments" and "wandering the desert for forty years" thing was only worth devoting about five minutes to. What????????
The Ugly- If blackface is so frowned upon in this society (Tropic Thunder excluded), then how in the hell is it socially acceptable for them to makeup people who are pastier than thou into Egyptians?
Final Thoughts on Exodus: Gods and Kings
Exodus: Gods and Kings is a good looking, large scale spectacle that left me emotionally unsatisfied. There was so much more depth into the characters that we should have seen. Scott himself has said that he originally filmed this at four hours long. If that's the case, then waiting for his final cut on Blu Ray may be the best way to go. Either way, it still doesn't make up for all of the honkies in it. If a "racist" like Mel Gibson can be more authentic by using appropriate actors (Apocalypto), then why can't Sir Ridley?
Rating- 6 out of 10
Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
PG-13 | 2h 30min | Action, Adventure, Drama | 12 December 2014 (USA)
The defiant leader Moses rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: Adam Cooper, Bill Collage
Stars: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley