By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B- (3 stars)
20TH CENTURY FOX
From director, Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator, Prometheus) comes his latest historical epic, Exodus: Gods and Kings, based on the classic Moses story. Like some of his previous epics like Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, and Robin Hood, the cinematography is big, the visuals are appealing, and there are armies from both sides clashing with one another.
My expectations weren’t very high to begin with when I first saw the trailer before Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but the visuals and Scott-style cinematography were enough for me to give it a viewing. And I was pretty much right, the plot was a bit lacking, scenes dragged on a bit too long, and it lacked character development, not really from the main characters, they held up okay, but the side characters could have been developed better.
But with that said, the cinematography is big and epic, the special effects are impressive, and the action is gripping, so there were a few things I really enjoyed from this 3D epic.
Christian Bale (The Dark Knight trilogy, American Hustle, 3:10 to Yuma) and Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom, Zero Dark Thirty, Star Wars: Episodes II and III) star as brothers, Moses and Egyptian Pharaoh, Ramses living in ancient Egypt where the Hebrew are slaves and no one is free. That is until Moses finds out he is Hebrew and rises up against Ramses as he leads 600,000 slaves on an epic journey to escape from Egypt and its cycle of deadly plagues.
Along the way Moses finds out about all of these tragic events occurring back in Egypt, massive hale storms, swarms of flies and insects, and the children of Egypt suddenly dying, all as a sign from God.
The film also stars John Turturro (Transformers, Mr. Deeds, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan), Sigourney Weaver (Alien franchise, Avatar, Ghostbusters), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), and Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, Iron Man 3, Ender’s Game) as other characters that are mostly very forgettable, with the exception of John Turturro, which leads me to one of my issues with the movie.
Overall, Exodus: Gods and Kings is pretty much everything you would expect from Ridley Scott, big cinematography and special effects, exciting action, and an iconic cast. However the film really lacks in character development, at least for the side characters, it felt like a waste to feature Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley in the movie if we’re going to forget they were ever put in the movie.
I didn’t realize they were in the movie until I saw their names during the end credits, what was the purpose of having them here if they’re not going to speak or do anything important.
Thankfully Bale and Edgerton were able to save the movie with some decent acting and development, though I would have preferred more Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley. And like I said, the cinematography and special effects are absolutely incredible and feels like an Egyptian version of Gladiator, which makes sense because Ridley Scott directed both movies.
So if you just want to see some impressive set designs and special effects in 3D, chances are you might enjoy this movie, but if you want something with more developed characters and more exciting action, I’d say wait until next week when The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies comes out.