Exodus: Gods and Kings

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -2

FILM SYNOPSIS: Moses (Christian Bale) rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton), setting 400,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.

PREVIEW REVIEW: If youíre looking for another comic book-ish actioneer to finish off the year, youíre sure to get your moneyís worth (the production cost an estimated $140 million). I can assure you that what you see in the theatrical trailer is what you get in the film Ė one enormous CGI spectacle after another. Thereís also lots of defiance, lots of battles, and lots of slo/mo splattering of blood. What there is little of is the true nature of the biblical story. Moses as played by Bale is equal parts Streetcar Named Desireís Stanley Kowalski and General Patton. The moody Christian Bale has his character more a military figure than humble messenger of God. Both his performance and dialogue seem anachronistic and detached. And God is played by a little boy (silly artistic choice done possibly to take from the Almighty his authority).

Rather than the reverential appeal that has caused biblical epics such as The Ten Commandments and Ben Hur to remain popular with DVD enthusiasts, Exodus: Gods and Kings seems more in the mold of trendy superhero comic book actioneers. The filmmaker chooses not to have a meek Moses approach Pharaoh with Godís warnings, but just lumps all the plagues together (the writers take plenty of latitude with the actual story).This is a shortcoming, because without the warnings, you belittle the fact that the leader of Egypt kept hardening his heart (a symbolic characteristic that indicates manís nature).

Itís a vibrant but shallow screen adaptation thatís more Marvel magazine than Old Testament scripture.

DVD Alternatives: The Ten Commandments: Cecil B. DeMilleís 1956 epic retelling has some weaknesses, including the miscasting of Edward G. Robinson (great actor, but not right for this genre), but for sheer pageantry and spectacle, itís hard to beat. It tells the story of the life of Moses (Heston). Once favored in the Pharaoh's (Yul Brynner) household, Moses turned his back on a privileged life to lead his people to freedom.

The Prince of Egypt: Taken from the book of Exodus, the story of Moses and the enslaved Hebrews is vividly brought to animated musical life through the sophisticated work of DreamWorks Studios. To borrow a line from another movie marvel, "No expense has been spared."

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
20th Century Fox

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: From beatings to battles, from whippings to hangings, it is a film that spares not the rod.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time: 150 minutes
Intended Audience: Teen and Up

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