Exodus: Gods and Kings Parent Review
Just be prepared for more of a G.I. Joe Moses than a God-fearing one.
Hollywood has taken another Biblical prophet and turned him into an action hero—the militant Moses. Even NRA-supporting Charlton Heston (who played Moses in the 1956 movie The Ten Commandments) isn’t as radical as this Moses (portrayed by Christian Bale) who initially attempts to free the slaves by arming a group of terrorist-like zealots and making furtive attacks on the Egyptians.
In Director Ridley Scott’s version, when God speaks to Moses it’s in the form of Malak (Isaac Andrews), a young boy who looks like he’s been in a scuffle. After Moses and his insurgents burn a flotilla of Egyptian supply boats, Malak appears to the prophet and rails on him for taking so long to get the slaves out of town. Moses irreverently reminds Deity that the Hebrews have been enslaved for 400 years. Malak responds by saying, in essence, “Watch this.” That’s when the plagues begin raining down on Egypt—frogs, flies, lice, boils, locust, disease and death—affecting both the captors and their slaves.
So it’s no surprise the Hebrews are a little leery about following Moses. He didn’t keep them safe from the plagues. He grew up in the luxury of Seti’s (John Turturro) palace. He has a familial relationship with Ramses (Joel Edgerton), the next in line to lead. And he isn’t all that comfortable with his role as God’s spokesman. He’s also more inclined to do his talking with a sword, something that leaves dead bodies lying around more than once. Or maybe this troubled Moses is just a reflection of Christian Bale’s feelings about his title character. In an interview in Los Angeles, Bale is quoted as saying “I think the man was likely schizophrenic and was one of the most barbaric individuals that I have ever read about in my life.”
Whatever the reason, this Old Testament story will likely be another disappointment for those familiar with the Bible. Like this year’s Noah (starring Russell Crowe) who employed rock monsters to build the ark, Moses gets some extra help to part the Red Sea. But we don’t get any sense it is a benevolent being behind the receding waters. Instead Exodus: Gods and Kings offers a spiritually neutered script that has nearly every ounce of faith wrung out of it. It doesn’t measure up to the Biblical account and unfortunately it also fails as a compelling action adventure.
Yet while there’s plenty of battle scenes, hangings and some gruesome depictions of feasting alligators, facial sores and chariots plunging down the side of a mountain, the film doesn’t have any other content concerns for most teens and adults. Even Moses and Zipporah’s (María Valverde) wedding night is left to the imagination.
Just be prepared for more of a G.I. Joe Moses than a God-fearing one.Directed by Ridley Scott. Starring Aaron Paul, Christian Bale, Sigourney Weaver, Joel Edgerton. Running time: 142 minutes. Theatrical release December 12, 2014. Updated May 18, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Exodus: Gods and Kings here.
Exodus: Gods and Kings Parents Guide
Move over Charlton Heston, Christian Bale is the new Moses in town: The Biblical story of Moses gets the Hollywood treatment once again. In this re-make of Cecil B. DeMille ‘s The Ten Commandments, Christian Bale takes on the role of the Israelite prophet, that was made famous by Charlton Heston in 1956. And Director Riley Scott helms the 2014 production. Exodus: Gods and Kings opens in theaters on December 12, 2014.
From the Studio:
From acclaimed director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Prometheus) comes the epic adventure “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” the story of one man’s daring courage to take on the might of an empire. Using state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses (Christian Bale) as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton), setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues. © Twentieth Century Fox
Talk about the movie with your family…
Why does Seti think Moses would make a better leader than his own son Ramses? Are those qualities still evident as Moses grows older?
Each of the plagues appears to be caused by the previous one. Does that ability to “explain” the plagues make it more difficult for Ramses to believe they caused by a God to humble his people?
Ramses admits to believing in omens and prophecies. How do his beliefs differ from that of the Hebrew slaves? What measures do the Egyptians use to foretell the future? What things do people put their faith in today?