Ridley Scott can be considered an eclectic director. From Alien to Gladiator, there isn't a genre he won't touch. Exodus was promised to be an epic telling of Moses and his rise to prominence. Sadly, Scott fails to deliver on this promise. Christian Bales stars as Moses, Prince of Egypt in this biblical retelling. The story picks up when Moses is an adult, a general in Seti's army. Joel Edgerton is Ramses, son of Seti and next in line for the throne. Early off, we see the close bond the two princes of Egypt share. On and off the battleground, they are as close as true brothers. Even as Ramses starts feeling there is more to Moses than he realizes. The film starts off on a high note here, questionable casting choices start to sink this ship. John Turturro stars as Seti, Pharaoh of Egypt. Right off the bat, he seems very out of place. Sigourney Weaver is Tuya, his wife. If this seems like an odd couple, it is. It shows on screen too.
Soon, we see that Seti shares a close bond with Moses as his own son but, Tuya doesn't share this sentiment. Moses' past is very much a mystery. Moses sister hides his true bloodline, one that would doom them both. regardless of Seti's approval of Moses.
Moses eventually comes to find out from Ben Kingsley's Nun no less that he is in fact a Hebrew. Hebrews are portrayed as slaves building monuments for the Pharaoh in this telling. After the Denial, Moses admits under duress to Seti and all his true heritage. As in the bible, he is banished. The close bond Moses and Ramses shared crumbles.
This is when things took a bad turn. Moses finds his way to a family of shepherds and finds solace. The story flash forwards some years later, Moses is married with children. The family and events are uneventful. Moses finally makes his fateful climb up Mount Sinai to chase after an unruly goat. This is when Scott starts taking liberties with the Biblical version of the story. Moses falls and hits his head, leading us to believe he is unconscious. He meets who we assume to be God and the burning bush? it's in there, kind of. Trust me, Three Amigo's did the burning bush better than this, no spoilers.
As the Bible instructs, Moses does eventually set out to free the Hebrews from slavery. His companions in tow, including another miscast character being Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) as Joshua. Christian Bale is known for nailing his accents but, here not so much. His falsetto Hebrew accent is muddled with British twangs and, is annoying at times. This is also the time when his prosthetic beard was starting to come unglued. Yes, unglued. Ramses is the new Pharaoh after his father dies. Moses asks Pharaoh to free his people. Pharaoh, knowing he has a good thing going denies Moses' pleas. As the Bible instructs, the plaques hit Egypt. The film was post-converted to 3D. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why. Until the spectacle of the plagues danced across the screen. I didn't see it in 3D so, I can't comment on the quality of the effect. It didn't look good though. The climax at the end was expected to be grand in scale. Instead it was a mere whimper compared to Charlton Heston's classic The Ten Commandments. Having said that, stick with Heston if you want to witness Moses' life story.
As I stated earlier, the film takes a great deal many liberties from the original source material. From it's depiction of God to the tablets at the end, Scott played loose. Surprising this hasn't caused more controversy. From it's depiction of God to the tablets at the end, Scott played loose. Going in, I was expecting Scott to deliver an experience like he did with Kingdom of Heaven or Gladiator. The horrible casting and forced dialogue is unforgivable. Joel Edgerton was very good as Ramses however. His decent into madness was the high point in this driveled mess. As it stands, Exodus won't be a film Scott is remembered for. It disappointed, especially for someone of his caliber. Skip this one if you want a biblical epic.