Tuesday, 30 December 2014

#93 EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS

#93: EXODUS: GODS AND TINGS

Christian Bale IS Moses. Joel Edgerton IS Ramesses II. Aaron Paul IS Joshua. Sir Ben Kingsley IS Nun. Ben Mendelsohn IS Viceroy Hegep, John Turturro IS Pharaoh Seti I and Sigourney Weaver IS Tuya in Ridley Scott's 154 minute biblical-epic, bio-pic, remake of Charlton Heston's - 220 minute - 1956 classic, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.

HOLY CRAP!

Actually, I wish I could just leave my review there at Holy Crap. But it wasn't actually holy crap, it was a sort of HOLY MEH.
 

For this film, Christian Bale is using his faux American accent, while everyone else, the Americans that is, seem to be trying for an English one. Bale's Moses is a rugged, atheist warrior general with a few rugged facial scars to show us how rugged he is. He is the adopted son of Seti I and considers his brother, Ramesses to be his bestie. But when a Seer's prophecy seems to come true on the battle field, you can see the cracks in their relationship.

After that, life is good right up until Seti confides in Moses that he'd much prefer him to be his heir and before you can say, 'Wow, just like Gladiator.' Seti's dead, Rams on the throne and Bale's been outed and exiled as a Hebrew. Cue years spent in the wilderness, raising goats, finding a wife, having an heir of his own and acquiring (just like the name-sake of this year's other religion epic, Noah) a really nasty head injury that allows him to see, first a burning bush and then later on, God himself and boy is he pissed! I mean really pissed. He and Moses bicker quite a bit about that, Moses points out he's left it a bit late to come to the party and complain about the dip and God points out that Moses seems to have come along and not brought a bottle.

After that it's the usual Bible story of Moses waging a terrorist war against the Egyptians in a war of attrition, before the biblical plagues - now nearly all neatly explained by science - forces Rams to 'Let his people go'. Then it's a race against time for the Red Sea while the entire chariot army of Rams chases after them, all before the truly epic tsunami that makes a clean sweep of everything.

Then it's a quick chat with God and some commandments knocked out on a stone tablets before the nation of Israeli goes looking for a home.
If there's one thing Ridley Scott can do it's grand epics on a biblical scale and boy, is this one an epic, with fantastic sets, a cast of thousands, sweeping vistas, slow pans across vast deserts, scenes that can only be described as hell on earth, amazing set-pieces and all of it art-directed to within an inch of its life.

So it's sad to report that the whole thing is all just a bit meh, sure it looks good but it's so bloody poe-faced and sombre, I'm not asking for slapstick or gags but once again it really does seem as if humour was only discovered in the 20th century and until then everything was really hand-knitted and bloody grim.

I doubt people will be watching this in fifty years, like the Charlie Heston original but it's okay. Just can't think of a lot of reasons to make you want to see it.

7/10

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