Exodus Movie – A Review

Moses004I was trying to think of some clever way to say, Exodus: Gods And Kings is a bad movie, but it honestly isn’t worth the effort. I suppose many people have already either seen it or made the informed decision to stay away. I, on the other hand, wanted to see this one because I missed Noah. Bad as the reviews were of the latter—or controversial—I still had wanted to make my own assessment.

Exodus wasn’t even good enough to be controversial.

Some time ago, I read a good article by Brian Godawa stating that Christians were foolish to think atheists could make good movies of Bible stories. They don’t believe in the truth of the supernatural as the Bible records it, so they will always mythologize it to fit their own tastes.

The problem is that in actual practice, “non-believers” by definition do not believe in the sacred story. Therefore, they will by necessity rewrite the story through their own non-believing paradigm, whether more subtly (Exodus) or more explicitly (Noah). Most people know this as “spin.” News flash: Every storyteller spins according to their paradigm or worldview. (“Can Atheists Make Good Bible Movies?”)

Based on that post, I was ready for the strange things atheist director Ridley Scott did with the supernatural events in the Exodus story—which, if you know your Bible, is present from start to finish. Well, let’s say I was ready for everything but the . . . ah, portrayal of God.

I suppose Scott was going for the antithesis to the cliched grandfather-ish image so often associated with God. His depiction was a boy about eight years old, with a strange accent. The problem was, this god was never clear what he wanted Moses to do; he never equipped Moses with the rod of God, never had him tell Pharaoh to let His people go. Rather, in the end, Moses declares the Hebrews are his people, not god’s.

Add in the fact that a disbelieving Moses first encountered God after he’d been injured in an avalanche. Throughout, there’s the lingering suggestion that Moses was simply delusional.

But I could handle that and chalk it up to a lesson about how atheists view a Bible story filled with God’s presence and the miraculous.

This movie, however, did not succeed as a movie either. What was it, a love story? No. The romance was fleeting at best. Was it a brother versus brother story as we’re led to believe at the beginning? Well, not really. Moses did not confront Pharaoh before each plague and demand that he release the Hebrews. And there was no great conflict between the two at the end. In other words, there was no resolution to their conflict.

Was it a coming of age story? That might be the closest, but it’s a bit odd to have such a story about a forty year old man, though Moses looks much younger in the movie and only passed nine years in the wilderness after he fled Pharaoh’s palace.

That and any number of other things took some getting used to. For instance, Moses consulted a map when he led the people from Egypt—no cloud by day or pillar of fire by night to lead the movie Hebrews. And when they got to the Red Sea with no visible crossing, Moses was sure he’d made the worst mistake of his life. Of course a way opened, but not on dry land. I kept wondering when the dry land would appear. It didn’t. The sea just got shallow enough for them to wade across.

Not only did the movie lack focus, which in the real version is centered on God’s actions on behalf of His people in answer to their cries to Him for relief from the oppression under which they suffered, but Scott’s version of Exodus was paced far too slowly and dragged on far too long.

All this to say, I’m glad I only paid $2 to see the movie. It was worth that much, but I couldn’t recommend it to anyone thinking about buying the DVD. Unless you simply want to see how an atheist mind handles Biblical truth, this movie really isn’t worth the time it took to watch it.

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Published in: on February 9, 2015 at 7:38 pm  Comments (9)  
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9 Comments

  1. You really should see Noah. I actually went to the movies for that one.

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  2. Am glad you were never disappointed by your experience because you already had an idea of what you were going to expect – an embellishment of the truth. They do not believe in GOD but they still want to profit from GOD’s recorded deeds. The paradoxical life of atheists. Ironical!

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    • Interesting point Exeocha. Yes, I think The Passion Of The Christ woke Hollywood to the potential for big bucks from Bible-based movies. But like their efforts to bring Narnia to the big screen, they missed the part that the story has to be faithfully transposed to this media, or we will hate it.

      Becky

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      • Becky, its Ezeocha. Thank you.

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        • Sooooo sorry for mistyping your name, Ezeocha. I’ll try to pay better attention. Glad you’re here.

          Becky

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  3. You missed the bad haircut on the wannabe-monk kid/God. :-). That role was so totally weird.

    Actually, I kind of enjoyed the movie. Although all your points are valid (and a well thought out review), I liked the plague part in that they just let them come without explanation. I imagine that’s how it felt to the Egyptians–total confusion. I liked the dynamic between Pharoh and Moses as brothers. Overall, I liked the movie as an adventure film, but it was a total loss as any kind of biblical depiction.

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    • Yep, the kid repping God was very strange. I liked the beginning of the movie because it brought Egypt to live and gave an authentic feel to the story—which was completely ruined by the entrance of “god.”

      I agree about the Egyptians and the plagues to an extent, but Scripture says Pharaoh’s advisers were trying to get him to let the Hebrews go. The movie missed that. And in the end, the people were handing their gold and silver and jewelry to the Israelites, and that was missed too. The point being, I think the Egyptians had a clear idea that the plagues were connected with the Hebrew slaves and their God. I’d be surprised if word didn’t travel that Goshen was untouched by most of the plagues, causing the Egyptians to look at the slaves in a different light, I would think.

      Anyway, I think it would have bee so cool if they’d shown the story the way it actually happened, because they had me in the beginning.

      Becky

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  4. Its a shame they did not use detailed accounts of the actual facts, I think the first 1956 movie “The ten commandments” is still a classic and cant be beaten.

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    • I agree, Adam. With the technology available, they could show some things that made the scenes come to life, but they didn’t tell the true story. I agree that’s why classic Ten Commandments remains so well-loved.

      Becky

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