Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 “The Ten Commandments” still shimmers as one of the most iconic films of all time; technological wizardry, blatantly remarkable, set the bar for future filmmakers; it is a masterpiece enjoyed yearly by millions as a Passover/Easter traditional viewing experience; Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner are memorably cemented as the eponymous embodiment of “Moses” and “Ramses”.
Christian Bale has more than metamorphic mountains to scale as Moses in “Exodus: Gods and Kings”, passably successful, he imbues the general/nomad/reluctant leader with an abundance of sincerity and angst; flawed is his relationship with Ramses; raised as brothers, from the commencement only a meager trace of affection lies between the two; Ramses, played half-heartedly by Joel Edgerton, is whiny, inept, and jealous; a self-centered, cruel Pharaoh who is justly served, and forced to devour his humble pie.
Gargantuan, egregious error was a child (Isaac Andrews) playing a mean-spirited, vengeful, wrathful “god”; Moses would be hard- pressed to deliver his ten commandments, let alone spend eternity with a spoiled, entitled brat.
Director Ridley Scott’s powerful handling of the “plagues”; furiously plummeting, viciously scarring, torturously crippling Egypt’s inhabitants; negotiation, minimal but finally resolved when Ramses allowed the Israelites to go. The Red Sea tsunami is stunningly satisfying.
Exodus is mentioned twice in the Bible (Exodus 20: 1-17 and Deuteronomy 5-4-21); redundancy can be effective, but alas in this biblical epic dedicated to Ridley Scott’s brother Tony, it is a stale rendition, repletion of an exhausted topic.
True this is sort of terrible, but Ridley Scott is 77 years old! Ya gotta hand it to him, he does not stop. Just last year ‘The Counselor’ was sort of great and disturbing. He’ll be back.