Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review: Exodus-Gods and Kings

Went to see the new movie Exodus starring Christian Bale last weekend.  I was expecting a remake of The 10 Commandments with Charleston Heston.  Like the original Moses movie, Moses was portrayed as royalty.  Ramses was his cousin and they were brought up like brothers.  Moses saved Ramses's life during a battle that further elevated his status with Pharaoh.  
Moses's true destiny was revealed once he took Ramses's place at Pithon to check on the Jewish slaves.  Moses learned where he came from and who he was.  Ramses found out as well and Moses fled Egypt.  After marriage and kids outside of Egypt, Moses spoke with God for the first time.  There was a burning bush.  He knew he must free his people.  
Moses returned to Egypt and threatened Ramses, now his enemy and the Pharaoh, into freeing the slaves.  Ramses refused to take Moses seriously.  Plague, frogs, insects, bloodied water, pestilence, and ultimately Passover/1st born deaths forced Ramses to let the slaves go, but then something happened to make him change his mind.  (Scholars believe the Jews ransacked Egypt before they left, but the movie doesn't go into that).  The Egyptians chased the Jews to the sea.  A tidal wave killed the Egyptians, allowing the Jews to be free.

I studied this book with friends in a Bible study group.  Not that I'm an expert, but am well-versed enough to point out that this movie strayed from Exodus in the Bible. 
This is what was expected!  Got tidal wave instead.

First of all, where was Aaron?  In the Bible Moses AND Aaron approached Ramses.  Aaron's staff turned into a snake and ate up Ramses's magicians' snakes.   Ridley Scott, the director, must have felt Aaron was an insignificant character in the Bible.  Moreover, when God talked to Moses, He was portrayed as an angry child.  
Is this movie a metaphor of some kind?  A symbol of the absurdity of religion?  And the tidal wave????  C'mon!  Parted means split-why was that changed?
What is Scott trying to say?  Does he think God is a spoiled brat that likes to mess with us by using His power arbitrarily?  Does he think the Bible is a story?  Then there is the rewrite of Moses and his wife, Zipporah.  In the movie, Moses returns to Zipporah's home with 500,000 Jews.  In the Bible, Zipporah's father, Jethro, takes her to Moses with their children in the desert.  Finally, let's not forget about the Ten Commandments.  In the movie, Moses chisels them out.  In the Bible they were written by the hand of God.  

My Review: The movie's director clearly has a different agenda then bringing the Bible to the silver screen.  Was he making fun of Jews and Christians?  Does he feel that his vision is more important than the Bible?  I'm not really sure, but I can say that I left the theatre wanting my money back.  The movie Noah that came out last spring also deviated with the Bible story.  I did like that movie because I felt Noah and God were respected, but now I'm starting to wonder if this is part of a plan to take the Bible and rewrite it so that religion fades away and eventually ends up as nothing more than a "myth" or "legend" to be studied in a future English class a few centuries down the road.  There are two kinds of people who went to see this movie-religious and not-so religious.  The religious ones will see the glare of edits from the book of Exodus.  I worry about the not-so religious.  Will they see this movie as a true depiction of Moses?  'Why read the book when you can watch the movie' seems to be the growing consensus among today's youth.  I give this movie 1 star.  Ridley Scott, you should be ashamed of yourself.  This was a real slap-in-the-face to Christian and Jewish believers.

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