Saturday, December 20, 2014

Movie Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings

If you’re anything like me, every year, you were forced/treated to The Ten Commandments over Easter weekend.  A few years back, I stopped telling my father when it was airing so I wouldn’t have to watch it yet again.  If given the option now, of this new version or the old one, I’d pick the old one, and I’d happily pay the $12 I paid today to see the classic rather than suffer through the new one a second time.  Like Noah from earlier this year, or last year, I can’t even remember, Hollywood has made a failed attempt at rewriting and creating a new version of what was already done as well as it could be done.  That’s like saying someone’s going to film the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Even with all the special effects advances, the story doesn’t change and the execution of it from Ridley Scott was confusing at best, offensive at worst, more so when you look at the number of white actors playing roles that could have just as easily been played by people who were closer to the Egyptian ethnicity.

I will never understand the rave reviews around Christian Bale.  He plays the exact same person in every single movie he’s in.  He delivers a handful of lines in his gravely, angry voice, perhaps to depict conviction, then he looks quiet and then he’s been overcome with emotion.  More than that, how is he supposed to be an Egyptian prince who is really Jewish with that mix of English vs. cockney accents?  I was so distracted by his accent alone I couldn’t figure out who he was supposed to be.  At some point here, someone in Hollywood has to stop buying into this.  It isn’t acting, it is playing the same character the same way over and over again.  Instead of always playing the brutish bruiser, perhaps Bale could try acting like something else, just once.

The casting of the rest of the movie was quite curious.  Everyone was white, whiter than white and it seemed out of place.  All the accents were all over the place.  I love Sigourney Weaver, I do, I’m a huge Ghostbusters fan, but why was there a random American in a movie set in Egypt who is supposed to be playing the mother of Ramses II?  Joel Edgerton seemed out of place from the beginning, but his performance, the only really stellar one, really won me over by the end. Again, though, he was almost wearing brown-face, if there is such a thing, to look Egyptian.  Am I the only one who finds this mildly offensive?  I mean, when do African American actors put on white makeup to look white?  They don’t.

While the movie had moments that were visually stunning, more so in 3D, the story brought nothing new to the Biblical tale and the delivery of Christian Bale detracted more than enhanced the movie.  Ridley Scott has had some misses lately and I can’t even think of a movie he’s done recently that isn’t basically Gladiator all over again.  This one follows suit.  Don’t waste your time or money on this.

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