Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Movie Review: "Exodus: Gods and Kings" (2014)

Image Source
Movie"Exodus: Gods and Kings"
Director: Ridley Scott
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Moses (Christian Bale) has been raised by Egyptians and is treated like a son by Pharaoh Seti (John Turturro) and treated like a brother by Seti's son Ramses (Joel Edgerton). After the death of Seti, Ramses takes the throne and appoints Moses his adviser. When Moses advises the Pharaoh to arrest the Viceroy in charge of the slave camps for embezzling from him, the Viceroy inform Ramses of rumors that have been circulating among the Israelites They believe Moses to be one of them and that he will lead them to freedom. When the Ramses finds out that Moses actually is Israeli, he cannot bring himself to have him executed, so instead, Ramses banishes Moses to the desert. Moses has moved on, settled down and started a family, but after nine years in exile, he receives a message from God that he is to lead the people of Israel to freedom. Moses reluctantly accepts the tasks and with the help of God unleashing a series of plagues upon Egypt, he starts to lead the Israelites to Kanen, but Ramses is ready to unleash his army to stop them from getting there. 

Holy whitewash, Batman!
And this time it works because Batman is actually in this movie!!!!

Lately in cinema, there have been a lot of visually epic films on screen. From the stunning 3D of "Avatar" to the massive spectacle that was "Jurassic Park," visuals can often make a positive mark on an otherwise bad movie, not that those are bad movies to say the least.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case for "Exodus: Gods and Kings."

It has been hard to write this review between the disappointment we felt during and after watching the movie and the mediocrity of the entire essence of the film itself. Mediocre is sort of being nice at this point as I have been waffling about my feelings for the past few days. There are a lot of things wrong with it, so I guess we will start with the good this film brings to the table. First, Joel Edgerton manages to prove he was a good casting choice and performs wonderfully as Pharaoh Ramses. Somewhat physically changed and sporting a chrome dome and shaved body, his bronzed appearance oozes both power and petulance. His goldened skin, jewelry and selfish, childish demeanor scream of excess and getting his way, and Edgerton really performed the hell out of this role. Christian Bale also did a good job as Moses, though I feel like I'm at my threshold with him as an actor. We get it, you're method. Moses is represented as more of a non-believer at the beginning of the film and it's not until mid-way through the movie that he eventually gets to his spiritual revelation and is placed into his anointed role. His beard was pretty epic, though. And while we're on the subject of the actors, almost everybody did a decent enough job with in the respective roles, except for a few, but more on this later. We really like that almost everyone was kept very, very dirty throughout the course of the film. Plus one for good makeup application. The score of the movie was your typical epic instrumental one, though I thought it helped carry the weight of some of the scenes that were lacking in connection, but again, more on this later. Overall, the visuals are relatively strong throughout the duration of the movie. Director Ridley Scott does a superb job in portraying the plagues of Egypt. Each plague, though first initiated by God, has a clear natural cause and effect where one incident directly leads to the cause of the next plague. This more natural portrayal might offend some moviegoers. Only the plague of Passover is straight magic and/or hand of God and the only one that isn't too exciting on screen.

Now, onto the bad, and there is a lot of cover. The worst part of the entire movie was God himself, or the messenger of God, or the voice of God, none of this is ever clearly stated. God is portrayed in this film by a young boy named Issac Andrews, who seems more like a bratty child throwing a hissy fit than a deity. Though one may expect his holiness to be a bit condescending, Andrews is overly snarky, grating on your nerves, rude, and downright annoying. It might have worked with a different child actor, but we're not even too sure about this. Scott has said in interviews that Malak, an angel messenger thingy, is pure and innocent, and this kid is anything but. The visuals, while they were mostly pretty good, when poorly executed, were overtly obvious, and sometimes, they even drifted into video game-esque territory. This was mainly seen during the final climax, which was extremely underwhelming after such a huge build-up. Sigourney Weaver plays Tuya and has literally 3 lines in the entire film. Instead of helping the movie overall, her presence is just distracting. She doesn't play a developed enough character to warrant her, a huge star in her own right, filling that role. In the end, audiences won't see Tuya, they will only see what looks like Sigourney Weaver going to a costume party. Ben Kingsley is in the film for a brief while and is wholly underutilized in our opinions. In fact, all of the Israelites are underdeveloped and Ridley Scott really fails to connect the audience to their plight. While we're on the subject of connections, there are few to be found, and where there was a connection, it was with Ramses, who is the villain and had it coming. We as an audience are supposed to connect to Moses and his journey, as well as the struggle of the Israelites, and we just don't because it's not there. Maybe Scott hoped that people's familiarity with the story of Exodus was enough to offer a preexisting connection, but this was a gamble we believe he lost. Finally, it feels like everyone in this film was on their A-game, except for Ridley Scott. He spent so much time and money investing in this story that ultimately turned out to be a flop. We don't know if he has lost his spark or if he's just getting lazy as a director. It seems like he felt this movie would be like a biblical version of "Gladiator," but the end, it's not epic enough, not developed enough, and frankly, not good enough to merit such a comparison.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 28%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Philomena"

No comments:

Post a Comment