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Exodus – Gods and Kings, Blu-ray (2015)

Exodus – Gods and Kings, Blu-ray (2015)

Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley
Studio: 20th Century Fox [3/17/15]
Video: 2.40:1 for 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1
Dubbed: French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Extras: The Exodus Historical Guide (option during the film), Deleted and extended scenes, Commentary track by Ridley Scott and co-screenwriter Jeffrey Caine
Length: 165 minutes
Rating: ***1/2

This one is also available in 3D, and perhaps that would have increased my interest somewhat, but this effort – in spite of the terrific CGI of the ancient Egyptian capital, the plagues and the Red Sea crossing – just didn’t have the emotional power of Cecil Demille’s 1956 version. Part of the probem might have been in seeking a sort of secular treatment of the whole thing which didn’t upset many religious followers. However, the film did upset quite a few groups and critics.

Christian Bale is a fine Moses and his story of his leading 400,000 Hebrew slaves out of Egypt to Canaan is certainly dramatic, but somehow leaves one out of the spectacular adventure. God is portrayed as a little snippy boy who appears now and then, once with a burning bush in the background. The Ten Commandments bit is almost tacked on at the end, with Moses chipping them laboriously into a stone – when the Bible says he got them from God, who had written them. The frightening various ten plagues (we see only an edited-down number of them) are well done, but the Red Sea crossing appears at first just to be a very low tide – until the Hollywood touch of a giant wave comes to drown nearly all the Egyptians. The various momentous events seem to come to a conclusion too soon after the Ten Commandments, but then I suppose wandering in the desert for 40 years might be rather uncinematic after all (the movie evidently makes it only nine). Or perhaps there’s a sequel coming…Scott’s Gladiator was much better; then of course there’s his fantastic Blade Runner.

—John Sunier

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