Last night my wife and I saw the Exodus movie by Ridley Scott. She talked me into it. She told me it would be something people would expect me to see and say something about. Pardon me, but if my audience is this cruel, I need to rethink what I’m doing online.
What follows really isn’t a review. I can’t improve on the way my friend at Logos, Eli Evans, reviewed it, buy simply posting this video clip as his review. There are few spoilers in what follows. Think of them as my Christmas gift to all of you — so you can save the money and do something better with it, like buy a Chia Pet.
First, the single positive here (sort of) is that Exodus isn’t as bad as Noah, at least in terms of being bizarre. Exodus was an insulting bore. After the Prometheus disappointment (see my review, “A Galactic Bore“), I have completely lost faith in Ridley Scott’s ability to tell a good story. But at least it wasn’t Noah, which was more like how Willy Wonka would have written Genesis 6-9. Describing the relationship of one to the other feels like explaining the difference between absurd and bizarre. Webster is some help here:
absurd (Ridley Scott’s Exodus)
1: ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, or incongruous
2: having no rational or orderly relationship to human life: meaningless
bizarre (Darren Aronofsky’s Noah)
a: odd, extravagant, or eccentric in style or mode
b: involving sensational contrasts or incongruities
How absurd was Exodus? Well, I learned that Moses was a terrorist, an Israelite Che Guevara. I also learned he’s a good guesser. At the point of the final plague, the death of the firstborn, he tells everyone to slay a lamb and apply the blood to the doors of their homes, not because God provided any instruction, but … just because, I guess. When asked why, Moses says something like, “Pity the lambs . . . if I’m right, we’ll remember them as blessings forever.”
As many of you will know by now, God appears to Moses as a little boy that likes to play with tiny rocks shaped like squares. God is a brat to be more precise. One reviewer my wife found on her Facebook page said it best: “This is the first movie portrayal about God I’ve ever seen that made me think that God needed a spanking.”
The movie took an odd turn with respect to miracles. It attempted to frame some of them as natural disasters (certain of the plagues were a logical chain of events), while others were obviously supernatural. Frankly, I think the most spectacular miracle in the film was how Moses and Ramesses could both simultaneously survive getting crushed by millions of metric tons of water — and wind up on opposite sides of the Red Sea. (See the definition of “absurd” above).
There were two “favorite” moments for me, both of which had me talking out loud in the theater. First, it was nice to see Jar-Jar Binks in another film. (Yes, I said that out loud.) He played the Egyptian physician trying to explain the plagues. If this description makes you see the film, I apologize – try YouTube in a few months instead. Get the laugh for free. Second place goes to the moment when Moses is at the Red Sea wondering where to cross (he’s lost). In my head I said to myself, “This must be where he sees the UFO.” But before I could get it out, right on cue Moses sees something streak across the sky that showed Moses where the Israelites needed to cross (I guess it was a shooting star — but a UFO could be mistaken for one of those, as we well know). I told my wife I had that pegged (out loud) right after it happened. I’m not sure why, but she wasn’t impressed. Anyway, why not? After all, Ridley Scott had Jesus being one of the giant alien “engineers” in the original Prometheus script.
All in all the film was an unimaginative, mind-numbing bore. And I’m not talking about how it gets biblical details wrong. That’s always a given, even with the best intentions (cp. The Bible series on cable TV last year). What I’m talking about is good storytelling, skilled acting, and moving dialogue. This movie had none of those things. As stilted as the original Ten Commandments could be, there were at least memorable lines (my favorite is what Yul Brynner/Pharaoh says when he sees the Israelites trapped between his army and the Red Sea: “The God of Moses is a poor general”). Minus the CGI, Ridley Scott would be making B movies, fodder for the old Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Pretty sad.
Don’t give up hope on MST:3k. I’m sure RiffTrax will make our wishes come true.
Rifftrax is the only way I would see a non-Marvel blockbuster.
When I saw the trailer for that movie, all I could think was, “There’s nothing here that Prince of Egypt didn’t already do, and do better.”
From what I heard of the film, that is the response I expected from you (albeit a bit short but the general idea was conveyed). What I found most amuzing of your ‘review’, were the elements you highlighted as aposed to Dr. Al Mohler. Now I’m definitely of the reformed baptist pursuation (and slightly hesitant to mention in bible studies I’m a divine council adherent, perhaps it would help to mention we should always be reforming?), but it seemed he enjoyed it a bit more than you ( though obviously Scott has no idea what biblical theology even means). Thank you for one more educated reason to just avoid the theatre… Apart from Tarentino productions.
It was poor story-telling; a disappointment.
Just curious as to whether you see the Gnostic concept of the Demiurge at play, with God being portrayed as a bratty child.
probably a stretch here.
So, if I may, I’d like to alter the course of the conversation. Is there any plausible historical evidence for the Exodus? When I’ve heard evangelical scholars approach the event through various criticisms, sometimes (most times I think) they end up sounding a bit like this article:
James K. Hoffmeier, Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (Oxford)
James K. Hoffmeier, Ancient Israel in Sinai: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Wilderness Tradition (Oxford)
Kenneth Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Eerdmans)
Plus a good number of articles on the plausibility of the story / consistency with Egyptological material / archaeology
I’ve sworn off Ridley Scott films since Prometheus, and as soon as I read somewhere that he tries to rationalise the plagues, and has God represented by a bratty child, I knew the film was based in Ridley Scott’s world of boring.
How these guys end up making these fantastical ancient stories so bland is beyond me. They even managed to suck the life out of the Iliad.
“She talked me into it.”
Afterwards, did she say, “I was deceived!”
Got a kick out of your post. Exodus was on the the list to see, but instead, I took my wife to The Hobbit, which despite its flaws, probably led to a much more enjoyable movie-going experience. 🙂
The movie industry just can’t seem to ever get it right, can it?
Stop and think…..Who owns Hollywood/Media?
Who owns the media?
The angel of darkness. . . !! ??
It seems that he always has something to say, and say it wrong! Those who know truth, see the truth of his falsity.
Do a google search for “who owns all media/hollywood”
As I said, “The angel of darkness”!
I laughed and laughed at this. As I was reading it, I was thinking, “Hey maybe they could do a Mystery Science Theater with this,” and then you end with that.
What is so, so sad is that Christian Bale is so, SO serious about it. Or at least he seems to be in the media, maybe it’s all just for the press.
But I actually know someone who thinks Noah is AMAZING. But then she’s also totally into Kabbalah and has denied Jesus . . . so there you go.
yep; there you go. Glad you got a chuckle out of it!