Saturday, December 20, 2014

Movie Reflection: Exodus- Gods and Kings

I just got back from the 8:45 pm showing of "Exodus: Gods and Kings" starring Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton.  I went into the movie with many questions and below are some of the answers I discovered while viewing the film.

Will Christian Bale use his Batman voice as Moses?

Sadly, no.  Imagine- "Let my people go..." in that voice!

Will the movie honor the biblical narrative?

There were scenes in the movie that were breathtaking.  The enslavement of the Hebrews was portrayed on a very large scale and the 10 plagues issued by God were very well done.  However, that was about it.  Director Ridley Scott has admitted to not believing the biblical narrative and this movie is a reflection of that.  Naturalistic explanations are offered for the 10 plagues and we really don't get a parting of the Red Sea, but more of a lowering of the Red Sea.  Moreover, Moses' encounter with God at the burning bush was most disappointing.

The Moses we encounter in this film is much different than the biblical Moses.  This Moses wields a sword and is a warrior.  He doesn't come before Ramses as recorded in the Bible, but sneaks up on him at night and holds a sword to his throat.

When I see a biblical movie I don't expect it to follow every jot and tittle, but this movie went far beyond creative license and bordered on silly at times.  So, did it honor the biblical narrative?  No. Not even close.

How will the movie represent God?

God is represented as a petty, vengeful brat at times.   He actually appears to Moses throughout the film in the form of a 10 year old boy.  Moreover, He is aloof and far off and doesn't clearly communicate with Moses.  Moses is often times left trying to figure out what is going on and just making educated guesses.  For example, when the 10th plague is coming, the death of the firstborn son, Moses instructs his people to kill a lamb and sprinkle the blood on the doorposts.  Then he says, "If I'm wrong pity the lamb.  If I'm right, we will bless them for all eternity."  I'm fairly sure Moses knew exactly was was going on there!

Let us just say that God was represented in a way that would have pleased Richard Dawkins.

Will the movie be entertaining?

I found the movie to be dull and uninspired.


I went to the film with an agnostic friend of mine and his girlfriend.  During the drive home I said, "I believe the account in Exodus.  I think we have good reason to trust the account and if God exists,  miracles are possible.  However, I understand Ridley Scott does not believe the account, but let us assume, for the sake of argument, that the Old Testament is just a book of stories.  These 'stories' have inspired people for thousands of years.  Why not honor that fact by representing them fairly and accurately?"

This movie was truly a missed opportunity.  Scott and crew have managed to take one of the most beloved and inspiring narratives ever written and transform it into an dull and sluggish tale.  I guess truth really is better than fiction!

If you have any questions about the film, please feel free to ask in the comments.

Courage and Godspeed,

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