My friend, Daniel Murphy, and I went to the local movie house last night where we saw Ridley Scott's new movie, Exodus: Gods and Kings, a Biblical classic that has made it to film several times in the past. It is, of course, the story of Moses learning that he was born a Hebrew, being banished from the royal court of Egypt because of his ethnicity, and then leading his people out of Egypt - thanks to an able assist from God who parted the Red Sea so they could leave.
First of all, the movie was well done - something of which Charlton Heston would have probably been proud - especially if the armies of Egyptians and Jews could have been armed with rifles instead of bows and arrows. But even without guns, the battles were colorful, savage, and epic. And when the military efforts of the Jews were not going well, God stepped in with plagues of frogs, flies, locusts, cyclones, lightening, and even a good hail storm,
The movie starred Christian Bale, who played a passable Moses. (If one can accept God parting the Red Sea, I suppose one must also be open to the notion of Christian Bale as Moses.) John Turturo was interesting as the Pharaoh Seti. There was a young boy of about twelve or so who did an outstanding job of playing God (or God's messenger) and bossing Moses around. The kid resembled a Buddhist more than the God of the Jews as he made tea and pronouncements while Moses dutifully carved his famous tablets.
The staging and photography were extraordinarily good, though curiously director Scott chose to make the film in 3-D. The last time I remember donning 3-D glasses was at a movie theatre in Manhattan, Kansas, in the early 1970's to watch a soft-core porn film about stewardesses. The 3-D effects in Exodus were much sharper than those I remembered from the stewardess epic. But why 3-D, Ridley, for a complicated Biblical tale. I found it to be a bit unsettling.
I wouldn't go see Exodus: Gods and Kings again, but watching it once was almost worth the eight dollars admission.
And Ridley, 3-D might be better suited for a Ninja Turtles thriller. (Just saying.)