Ridley Scott's EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
Having heard all the negative press about this movie I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It’s a big movie and the director wisely focuses on the characters of Moses and Ramses’s relationship which is not diminished at all by the surrounding spectacle.
Three criticisms however:
First, the movie appears to be edited down from a longer film. Some transitions are abrupt anda several characters are short-changed. It looks like Scott cut out everything viewed as nonessential to the Moses and Ramses story arcs.
Second, I wasn’t comfortable with the various color balances used throughout the movie and what they signified. Prometheus was more artistically photographed and lit, I think; there the light/dark and inside/outside color transitions just seemed to me to be better handled than here.
Third, I was disappointed that Sigourney Weaver was so underutilized. I suspect her character was cut much as Aaron Paul’s Joshua. Were there money troubles that forced a rushed production? Was Scott just tightening things up at the expense of secondary players? Or was Scott just weary of managing vast armies?
That said, the movie kept my attention from start to finish. I enjoyed the character and personality focus on the major characters and was somewhat surprised at how closely the story tracks to the familiar Bible story — with modern embellishments, of course, that no doubt are disliked by Bible purists.
Finally, the special effects do not disappoint. City flyovers, vast armies, tornadoes, massive landslides, and the cataclysmic deluge at the end are all masterfully done. Most visceral and horrifying are the plagues. The “Wrath of God” stuff shown here pulls no punches as the Egyptians are made to suffer. Scott has one of the pharaoh’s courtiers attempt a scientific explanation but we know better who was responsible for all this death and destruction; we read the book!
Movie review copyright 2015 by Dennis D. McDonald