Darren Aronofsky's Noah, since its release last Friday, has caused major controversy and generated a heap of reviews ranging from awe-inspiring to nausea-inducing. A lot of people held out hope that the film would bring the biblical epic back to Hollywood as a faithful interpretation. Those who knew of Aronofsky's previous work knew what to expect, but those who weren't received a rude awakening. The film turned out to be a loose interpretation, taking extreme liberties and rendering the film almost unidentifiable, at least to many. So it would seem that biblical epics are still a ways from making a major return to Hollywood... at least until December 12th.
That's the release date for director Ridley Scott's interpretation of the biblical story of Moses, which, according to the International Business Times, has just received a shiny new title. And that title is.....
EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS
First of all, how great of a title is that? Strong, eloquent, and evocative of some truly epic imagery; imagery of thrones, palaces, kingdoms and power. And, given that this film will tell the story of the exodus of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, that kind of scope seems fitting.
But moreover, this new development has gotten me even more excited about this movie than I already was (and I was pretty darn excited). And here's why:
This movie's got some serious writing talent behind it.
Imdb credits three people with writing the script: Bill Collage, Adam Cooper, and Steven Zaillian. Now, the hiring of Bill Collage and Adam Cooper is confusing to me, and possibly a red flag. Until now, their most prominent works have been New York Minute (2004), Accepted (2006), and Tower Heist (2011), all comedies. Why they were brought on escapes me. However, the enlisting of Steven Zaillian makes total and complete sense, and has me pretty stoked. His past works include:
- Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)
- Schindler's List (1993)
- Clear and Present Danger (1994)
- Mission: Impossible (1996)
- A Civil Action (1998)
- Hannibal (2001)
- Gangs of New York (2002)
- All the King's Men (2006)
- American Gangster (2007)
- Moneyball (2011)
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
There are more, but those are the most prominent ones. Zaillian won an Oscar for Schindler's List, which was arguably the most important movie of its decade, or any decade. And with Gangs of New York, American Gangster, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo under his belt, I think we can all forgive Hannibal, which was more misguided than outright bad, at least as a collective effort.
Christian Bale and Aaron Paul are set to star.
They're set as Moses and Joshua, respectively. We all know Oscar-winner Christian Bale from Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, American Hustle, The Fighter, The Machinist, Empire of the Sun, and others. Aaron Paul is most widely recognized for his role as meth head Jesse Pinkman in AMC's Breaking Bad, as well as the recent like-it-or-hate-it Need for Speed. Bale is a tremendous actor and should be more than able to carry this movie on his own. Luckily, he won't have to. Paul has played off of Bryan Cranston for years, and proven he can shine perfectly well next to a powerhouse star. But even with that amount of acting power, we can look forward to seeing Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, and John Turturro starring alongside them.
But there is one more reason, one MAJOR reason, that I am looking forward to this film.
Ridley Scott is back with a vengeance.
The Counselor bombed, Prometheus came up short, Robin Hood received pretty harsh criticism (though I actually really liked it). There have been a few hits along the way, but nothing from Scott's canon has fulfilled our insatiable hunger for epic filmmaking since Gladiator, his masterpiece of revenge and glory in ancient Rome. And with this upcoming film, it looks like we may have that Ridley Scott back.
The story of Moses and the book of Exodus is big, sprawling and epic, already having spawned a couple of impressive films historically. Gladiator was a monumental achievement, and it won Best Picture in its year along with four other Oscars, and that is a good argument for Exodus: Gods and Kings. Plus, Scott is a classic visionary, always wanting to build organic sets whenever possible, instead of CGI, and judging by past work he's clearly of the "Bigger is better" variety. One of the best things about the classic The Ten Commandments was its visual appeal, the monumental sets, the lavish costumes. It all left a lasting impression, still a classic today. Scott has built amazing sets for this movie, if the images released thus far are any indicator. This means we can expect stupendous production design, huge sets, and filmmaking on an epic and classical scale.
I am beyond excited, and I am holding out hope that Exodus will not only exceed expectations, but will sweep the Oscars next year. Fingers crossed!