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Exodus: Entrances and Exits

September 3rd, 2015 Comments off

Image3The opinions and views expressed below are solely those of the writer, further. All material is copyrighted. No distribution is allowed without the permission the writer.

For me, reviewing a movie based on a religious document is much like reporting on any other film. Although I am not a believer in any god, when it comes to movies, of which I happen to be a big fan, I hold no bias artistically speaking. This past week I went to see Exodus: Gods and Kings by award-winning director Ridley Scott.

Scott is known for his meticulous attention to detail and ability to construct moving and memorable stories. Unfortunately, Exodus: Gods and Kings isn’t one of them. If the director of films such as Thelma & Louise, best picture Oscar-winner Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and Hannibal intended to add this movie to the aforementioned jewels, this Zircon doesn’t have the facets or the clarity for consideration.

Reviewing a Hollywood biblical movie is much like grading a science fiction film—one must remember make-believe and science fiction are much the same, except what comes from Sci-Fi often finds its way into reality much like Jules Verne novels influenced hundreds of inventors and explorers such as submarine designer Simon Lake, deep ocean explorer, Jacques Cousteau, inventor of the first successful helicopter Igor Sikorsky and even US astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell.

Frankly speaking, Exodus: Gods and Kings suffers from delusions of grandeur. Before stuffing the entire movie into the chamber pot, the cinema photography and CGI work is spectacular. As a child, I saw The Ten Commandments when it came out and it was moving and impressive even to an eight-year-old. The special effects and sweeping panoramas certainly rival and even top those in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, but the comparison end there.

As I said, though I am not a believer I am not biased against religious movies, but I am also a writer, reporter and editor. Among the things I look for in any story is how well the middle fits the front and the back. Does the story make sense? Are the characters realistic? Is it logical? Is it steadily moving toward a point? All of this is technical junk that everyone one of us unconsciously does every time we read a story, watch television or see a movie.

As magnificent as the cinema photography remains, this Exodus version suffers from all the things that kill a movie—a bad screenplay, inconsistent acting and endless repetition. Still, it is nearly an hour shorter than DeMille’s work. Sadly, an extra hour, day or year couldn’t save this kludge. Yes, trying to cram the entire Exodus story into 180 minutes was highly ambitious from the start even with the best editing available.

I won’t tell the story you all know so well, but I can say that I was disappointed. As a kid, my favorite movies were those of the Romans, Vikings and Greeks. I liked The Robe, Spartacus, The Silver Chalice and almost any film of a similar genre. So, when I went to see Exodus: Gods and Kings, I was there more as a movie fan than a movie reviewer. Although I don’t for one second believe anything I saw on the screen, I like any other viewer enter into the realm called the “willing suspension of disbelief,” when watching a film meaning that I “choose” to ignore portions that obviously couldn’t be real in order to allow the story to continue.

Note: You might find the God character interesting or even laughable, but I will not say anything more on the subject. If you are starved for eye-candy, Exodus: Gods and Kings might help quell the urge, but the saccharine performances aren’t sweet enough to create a single cavity. Two stars. Cinema Photography, excellent!

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