Ridley Scott’s (Gladiator, Alien, Prometheus) epic retelling of the Moses story is an ambitious spectacle.
In terms of an entertaining, emotional, faithful adaptation of the Exodus story, The Prince of Egypt has already given our generation a much better telling of this tale. But the spectacle of Exodus is a delight to behold, and Christian Bale compelling in his performance of the man who ushered the nation of Israel into the Promised Land.
As for its faithfulness to the Biblical story, Exodus: Gods and Kings has a few inaccuracies – God himself is represented by a whiny British child, the theological reasoning behind each particular plague are absent, and the overall context of the exodus story is missing.
Though it’s refreshing to see such talented artists tackling biblical story lines with massive ambition, perhaps the biggest problem with Exodus: Gods and Kings is the same major problem with most biblical adaptations: a lack of context.
Sure, the story of an ancient people fighting for their freedom from their oppressors is a compelling one – but the whole context of what the Exodus story is really about (Israel’s ongoing relationship with God and God’s promises to them throughout the generations) is missing. And with it, the resonance of what the Exodus story truly means and represents in the grand scheme of the biblical story line and within the history of the nation of Israel.
Exodus drags through its uneven pacing and adds in a number of confusing elements, but it’s just so spectacularly ambitious that it’s a pleasure to watch unfold – even if this story has been told plenty of times before, and better.
© Matt Tory, 2014.