Exodus: Gods and Kings Movie Review

Earlier this year, we had a great biblical epic in the form of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. In that adaptation, Aronofsky was able to recreate the story of Noah by inserting his own unique spin on it. The film was extremely personal, ambitious, and was filled with imagination, emotion, and heart. So, with Ridley Scott joining the Biblical genre with his own film and all-star cast, there has been obvious comparisons. Unfortunately, that is where the comparisons need to end. Exodus: Gods and Kings is no Noah. In fact, it is painfully underwhelming.

Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings

Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings

Exodus: Gods and Kings is an epic adventure that tries to give a new modern spin to one of the most well known stories in the Bible. The film follows the courageous military leader Moses (Christian Bale) as he learns of his true past and is guided towards his destiny. After seeing the excessive Egyptian lifestyle and the horrific conditions the 600,000 slaves live and work in, Moses must fulfill his prophecy and rise up against the Egyptians. This leads to the monumental escape from Egypt and the journey to reach the Promise Land.

Exodus: Gods and Kings is one of the most disappointing films of 2014. It offers very little to be desired and not enough of substance to remember it. By tackling the Exodus story, Ridley Scott and his screenwriters had a golden opportunity to tackle big themes and morals. The Exodus story is filled with great messages. The right to freedom, betrayal, fulfilling one’s destiny, and an abundance more can be found throughout the story. While these themes are still present in Exodus: Gods and Kings, they exist in the most generic and witless way possible. There is no powerful message in the film, and Ridley Scott does his best job at avoiding these themes. It also seems that Scott is avoiding history and religion here. This leads the film into a dark place where it has nothing to say. There is no connection to the story and by default there is no emotional attachment to the characters. About thirty minutes into the picture, it becomes quiet clear that Ridley Scott’s only objective is to show off the expensive set pieces, the immersive CGI, and the numerous stylish battle scenes. That wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, but it even fails at that level. Its lethargic in its pacing and never hits a stride in which it becomes an exciting biblical epic. The action scenes are mundane, and are strikingly conventional. Scott is simply trying to make another Gladiator.

Along with the indifferent Scott, the cast seems to be going through the motions. The always great Christian Bale does his possible best to bring life to Moses. However, there isn’t much depth for Bale to play with. By turning Moses into a warrior, Exodus has made Moses into a modern day action character that gets the job done and the woman. There is no complexity to Bale’s Moses and all of his relationships on screen, especially with the villain Ramses (Joel Edgerton), lacks chemistry, emotion, and significance. Speaking of Edgerton, he plays the obvious villain and gives a performance that is bland. The rest of the cast barely shows up and are terribly misused. Fans of Aaron Paul will be greatly disappointed in only seeing his limited screen time. This can also be said of Sir Ben Kingsley and a handful of others. This leaves the movie lifeless and empty.

Ridley Scott and his screenwriters simply dropped the ball. Exodus: Gods and Kings had all the makings of a modern day biblical epic that excites audiences much like what The Ten Commandments did 58 years ago. Unfortunately, the only thing Ridley Scott managed to accomplish in this dreadful adaptation was to take all of the heart, emotion, and intelligence out of this story. It is far from compelling or exciting, and within minutes it numbs you. However, there still might be a religious experience to be found in this film. There is a great chance you will be praying for this madness to stop.

The cast includes: Christian Bale (Out of the Furnace), Joel Edgerton (Warrior), John Turturro (Transformers: Dark of the Moon), Ben Kingsley (Hugo), and Aaron Paul (Need for Speed). It was written by Adam Copper, Bill Collage, Jeffery Caine, and Steve Zaillian. It was directed by Ridley Scott (The Counselor).

1 out of 4 stars

-By Louie Coruzzolo

In case you missed this week’s video review, check it out below:

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