Like most movies, there are good and bad elements of Exodus: Gods and Kings. Here’s what I enjoyed as well as what disappointed me about the film:
What I Enjoyed
- Moses at times lacked faith. Too often, I think we portray Old Testament characters as heroes instead of humans. Just as in Noah, I enjoyed seeing Moses wrestle with and doubt God’s calling as well as what God was doing at that point in history.
- The Hebrews endured much to say the least. I’ve read it many times. I’ve been taught about it on countless occasions. Seeing it is a different story. The film transformed the story from black-and-white to 1080p HD.
- The plagues among other things looked stunning. Most of the plagues looked incredible. Though I was disappointed with how quickly they were brushed through, I was impressed by how real the plagues appeared.
- They filled in some blanks. We obviously don’t know everything that happened in the life of Moses. His thoughts. His conversations. All of these and more were not all recorded for us to read and for a reason: they’re not essential to what God wanted us to know about Himself and redemptive history. The movie takes liberties in these blank areas by the filling them in with potential storylines of Moses and his life.
- The movies led my wife and I back to our Bibles. Even though we got home close to 01:00am on Friday morning after seeing the movie, there was so much the film touched and questions it raised that we were led to search our Bibles for clarifications and answers. We stayed up awhile longer discussing the movie, the Bible and more. I love when a movie can do this.
What Disappointed Me
- God was played by an eleven-year-old British boy. To give them credit, I personally don’t see any way to portray God in a serious movie that won’t come off as corny of cheesy. To this day, I’ve only enjoyed two portrayals of God in film: Noah‘s God Who spoke through signs rather than audibly and Bruce Almighty‘s God Who was played by Morgan Freeman.
- The supernatural was minimized to natural if anything. Most of the plagues were limited to natural explanations. Also, a few somewhat minor supernatural elements that were in scripture were completely ignored. Some of them, again, I think if included would be difficult to portray in a non-corny manner.
- Moses’ brother Aaron had too minor of a role. In reading the book of Exodus, we see that Aaron plays a somewhat major role. In the film, he should basically be considered an extra in the background.
- The racial bias of Hollywood was on display. Even though the events of the movie took place in the middle east, most if not all of the main roles were played by people who were not of color and possessed British accents. There were many people of color in the film but were simply extras. Director Ridley Scott’s confession of the reality that he would not receive enough funding for a film starring ethnic people sheds light on the racial bias that is still in Hollywood.
- The story is somewhat boring. While it was interesting to see what the book of Exodus could’ve looked like, the storyline is difficult to make into an entertaining movie.
- The story doesn’t end. Like most Bible-based films, the storyline often leaves a cliffhanger because it’s one chapter in the story of redemption. While some may be okay with this, it bugs me. I want to see it all. It would be like only watching The Two Towers or The Prisoner of Azkaban but leaving out the rest of the movies.