Biblical films have been present this year. We have seen the likes of Son of God and Noah grace this silver screen and both films were welcomed with mix results. Now we have come to the end of 2014 but there is one more Biblical Film to get through. This film comes acclaimed director Ridley Scott as he adapts the story of Moses in a new light with Exodus: Gods and Kings. The film centers on the story of Exodus and how Moses (Christian Bale) must free the Hebrews from Egypt and go up against his former brother Ramesses (Joel Edgerton). The tale of Moses has always been one full of spectacle and drama and it seemed that this film would adapt this biblical story in a realistic manner. However, a factor going against the film was its director. There is no denying that Ridley Scott has had his masterpieces, but recently the director has not had the best of luck with his recent movies. So does Exodus sink to the bottom of the Nile or does this Biblical film free itself from Ridley's recent rut?
The plot to Gods and Kings does follow the story of Moses; but again, it tells the tale in a different way. We are use to seeing the story of Exodus being told as a tale full of miracles and liberation. While both of these elements are a part of this interpretation, the story focuses more on Moses being a warrior prophet oppose to being just a messenger of God. Changing elements to a story is never a bad thing as long as you keep to the source's root. So the movie's presentation on the classic story was not a bad decision, but it did take a lot of liberties. Interpreting this story was not a major problem, but this plot does suffer from many flaws. While the plot features an interesting take on the book of Exodus, it seems to forget the concept of solid storytelling as there were several plot holes such as the film being unclear about Moses' exile. Though things get more intriguing when the plagues appear, the progression to Gods and Kings was just underwhelming. The story had many good ideas within it, but its lack in execution is what killed the plot from standing out.
Exodus: Gods and Kings had a major ensemble and two leads worthy of a movie of this caliber. Christian Bale provided a solid performance as Moses as he usually does. Moses is portrayed a man who is doubtful of both God and his role as the Hebrew leader. This direction for Moses was not bad one, but it was hard to follow the character's development. Ramesses was also hard to follow. Though Joel Edgerton does a great job as Ramesses (and personally I believe Joel is underrated as an actor), it was difficult to tell what the movie was trying to do with the pharaoh. There were times where I could sympathize with the character, but then Ramesses would come off as just a typical antagonist. I compliment the movie for attempting the brotherly bond between Moses and Ramesses, but the direction for both characters made it hard to follow.
You think that with a cast like this, there would be more to talk about when it comes to the supporting characters, but there is not. You may ask why? The reason for this is because of the rest of the cast did nothing! The likes of Aaron Paul, Ben Kingsley and Sigourney Weaver were great additions for this movie, but the characters had no time to develop; particularly Sigourney Weaver. The only person in this cast who made for a good supporting character was Issac Andrews who played the character Malak (aka God). Aside from the young actor, the remaining cast had nothing to offer the film.
From a technical standpoint, Exodus did not have a lot to offer; but that is not to say this aspect had nothing noteworthy. Effects such as the plagues and the climatic tidal wave were great to see, but they could have had a bigger impact in the overall film(though some moments stood out). The score to the movie was alright, but the best cues to the soundtrack were at the end of the film. In the end Exodus: Gods and Kings had elements that could have made the movie into a spectacle, but the lack of direction prevented these moments from being effective.
Exodus: Gods and Kings had some good ideas behind it. If handle differently, this film could have been a unique interpretation that did the Biblical story justice. However, dues to Ridley Scott's direction, this epic suffer from being just that. Scott has neglected the simplest foundations of filmmaking in his recent movies for the sake of style, and Exodus is no exception to this. Although, Exodus: Gods and Kings may be the most tolerable of Ridley Scott's recent films; but that is not saying much.