Movie Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings: (3 ½ *’s) (2014)

Exodus: Gods and Kings is the latest Hollywood attempt at making a movie from a biblical story. The film stars Christian Bale as Moses, as well as Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley in two minor roles. There are other actors, of course, but none with names as big as these.

The story is basically the main story of the book of Exodus in the Bible. The Israelites are forced to seek refuge in Egypt from a famine (I think that’s accurate). At some point in their stay there, they are declared slaves and forced to build many of the great structures of ancient Egypt. Their slavery lasts four hundred years, giving them time to multiply, be beaten down, and ruthlessly oppressed. They call out to God, but it seems that he does not hear, until a savior is born. A child by the name of Moses who escapes certain death by being abandoned in the Nile by his mother and found by a member of the royal family. He is raised a prince in Pharoah’s house unaware of his true heritage. He visits the Jews in their servitude. One of them tells him the truth; he does not believe him, so goes on his way. He is accosted by an Egyptian guard whom he kills. He is banished from Egypt for the murder, sentenced to live in exile. In the desert he is tested and tried until he finds a new home and family. Then, he has a terrible fall and encounters God and his whole life changes.

Strengths: the acting was good, the story was engaging, and had one or two embellishments which added to it in an acceptable fashion. There were no terrible holes in the plot. The God in the movie acted through nature as opposed to in contradiction of nature … which can be a plus or a minus depending on how you want to look at it. Biblical purists probably won’t like that aspect of it. Weaknesses: they had an Egyptian counselor who explained the plagues of Egypt in a scientific fashion that seemed too advanced for the time in question. But that is what you are probably most likely reduced to when you have a God that works through nature. Also, the plagues were over in a heartbeat. Finally, I didn’t like the portrayal of God as a child; in fact, God, at times, seemed almost demonic to me. Oh yes, and one more thing, the movie didn’t seem to have a clear grasp that Moses was the servant, and God was the God. When he was inscribing the Ten Commandments Moses said, “I wouldn’t inscribe them, if I didn’t agree with them.” That’s a bit touchy. It’s really not Moses place to agree or disagree with God. And Bible purists will probably take issue with that as well.

Anyway, despite its faults, it was an entertaining movie, and I’ll give Exodus: Gods and Kings three and a half stars out of five.