by Robert Earl Houston
“This movie was horrible” was the first thing that crossed my lips at the conclusion of the new movie “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” It seems like Hollywood is hell bent on using promising Biblical narratives (see: Noah) and then turning the story upside down. My problem (and I suspect the problem of many) will be if you have even a rudimentary knowledge of the story of Moses and the flight of the Hebrews from Egyptian captivity – what you see on the screen will not jive with the Biblical narrative.
I too was distracted by the lack of people of color in the starring roles. It was like watching a high school production of “Purlie” and there were no black actors available. They seemed oddly out of place, pale, and spoke more European english than American english. The costumes were not strong enough to be convincing that there was a person of color shortage in Hollywood.
The script is very loosely based on Biblical fact and unbelievable.
SPOILER ALERT – if you have not seen the film and don’t want things exposed to you, stop reading here. Otherwise, here we go:
There are five things that are ridiculous in this movie:
First, Moses’ encounter with “God” is absolutely insane. According to the movie, Moses is rounding up three sheep on the side of a movie, for some unknown reason, in the midst of a driving rain storm and becomes the victim of a mudslide, which results in him being knocked unconscious. While unconscious, he wakes up engulfed in mud, and is face to face with “God” who is a small european descent child who allows Moses to argue back and forth with him. There is no “let my people go” and the “I am” phrase is uttered and then “God” disappears.
Secondly, Moses’ encounter with Ramses is way off key. Instead of Moses killing an Egyptian for torturing a Hebrew, Moses is “outted” as a Hebrew by his sister and is reunited with his birth mother, at the insistence and persistence of Ramses’ mother. Their rivalry is strange as well, especially since Pharaoh is obviously a huge Moses fan, but has made it clear that his blessing is upon Ramses.
Thirdly, the plagues were difficult to watch. Instead of confronting Ramses/new Pharaoh, “God” tells Moses “you won’t have to do a thing” which is not sensible or biblical. In the Bible, Moses and Ramses were confrontational. In this context, Moses sits on the sidelines while “God” sends plagues seemingly for no reason. The Nile River is turned to blood when “God” causes alligators to appear from the waters and attack a fishing vessel and then the alligators turn on each other and the Nile River is full of blood. The other plagues were interesting to watch but the reaction of Ramses and Egypt was strange.
Fourthly, these slaves were not caught in the mechanics of slavery. They didn’t look that oppressed throughout the movie. I saw more oppression in “Twelve Years a Slave” than I did in this movie. When they left slavery in Egypt, it looked like they were packing up entire neighbors and a mass exodus looked like a mass gentrification.
Fifthly, the Red Sea. Oh my friend – it ticked me off to see how this played out. Moses is scared of Ramses and he has a four day head start on their army. (By the way, Moses is a master military genius and in the movie, he trains the Hebrews (who are supposed to be in slavery) how to fight as marksmen). Moses decides to cut through the mountains which will slow the Egyptian armies because their vehicles and supplies can’t endure the slopes and hills. Oddly, Moses and “dem” make it through without few problems, but when Ramses and his boys come through, the whole hillside collapses, wiping out about a third of his army.
Then they get to the Red Sea and Moses is waiting for “low tide” instead of a miracle from God. Not only that, the ground is noticeably wet and ponding, unlike the Biblical account that they crossed through the Red Sea “on dry ground.” When Ramses and his army shows up, the Red Sea all of a sudden raises up and kills the army, some Hebrews, and even Moses is caught up in the water but protected.
These five reasons alone are a reason not to go. Not to mention that when “God” and Moses meet up on the mountain after making it to the other side, Moses has to construct, build and write his own tablets, taking dictation from “God.”
This movie was terrible. If you want closer Biblical accuracy, rent or download “The Ten Commandments” or catch it this Easter on ABC. Otherwise, I recommend going to any other movie accept this one. This movie should die of gross neglect from the Christian community.
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