It’s not a disaster of Biblical proportions but between bad casting, bad CG effects, and the bad decision to portray God as a bratty little boy, Exodus: Gods and Kings certainly isn’t a heavenly treat for audiences. Ridley Scott’s big-budget 3D film sluggishly moves through its 150 minute running time, with only occasional bursts of unintentional campiness to liven up the seemingly never-ending story.
So much has been made of the casting of white actors for the lead roles that harping on it now is an exercise in redundancy when what should be discussed is how miscast the players are, ethnicity aside. John Turturro and Sigourney Weaver lead the pack of actors who seem to have been tapped for roles simply because Scott wanted to work with them and not due to the actor actually fitting the character. It’s like an SNL parody of Exodus when Turturro and Weaver – two very talented actors who outside of this film always elevate the projects they’re involved in – appear on screen. When Aaron Paul shows up as a slave it seems gimmicky, as if the response to his appearance on screen is expected to be, “Oh, it’s Jesse from Breaking Bad!”
There’s really no need to explain the story that unfolds in Exodus: Gods and Kings so instead let’s focus on the meat of the film. During this frustratingly long action drama we’re treated to a very tan Joel Edgerton sporting guyliner (Colin O’Donogue definitely wears it better in Once Upon a Time) pouting his way through the part of Ramses. Edgerton’s a fine actor and no doubt has many stand-out performances in his future, but Exodus will not go down in history as his finest achievement. The same can be said of Christian Bale who never feels comfortable as Moses. Well, perhaps he felt comfortable in the role, but it’s uncomfortable to watch how he never settles into Ridley Scott and the multiple screenwriters’ version of Moses.
Was Scott rushed to finish Exodus before the special effects were complete? If not, then was he paying homage to classic Biblical films by attempting to make Exodus‘ CG look old-school? By the time a float of crocodiles show up to turn the river red, it’s quite possible you’ll be seeing red from having spent money and invested hours of your time in watching this bloated and surprisingly dull spectacle.
Exodus: Gods and Kings is rated PG-13 for violence including battle sequences and intense images.
Theatrical Release: December 12, 2014
-By Rebecca Murray
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