Following the box office success of Noah, the latest biblical epic to crash onto our screens is Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings, although most of you will know this as the story of Moses. If you’re unfamiliar with the tale, it all takes place in Ancient Egypt, where Moses (Christian Bale) and the Pharaoh, Ramses (Joel Edgerton), have grown up together in the palace, practically as brothers. But when Moses learns he is a descendant of the Hebrew people – the slave population of Egypt – he stages an uprising against Ramses and demands that his people be set free. When Ramses does not comply, God unleashes chaos on the Egyptian people with deadly plagues and strange natural phenomenon, acting through Moses to help hundreds of thousands of slaves escape Egypt and the tyrannical reign of Pharaoh Ramses.
Alright, let’s just get one thing straight here: you should not try to take this movie seriously. This is not some masterpiece of cinema that critics are going to rave about it any way, and it’s taken heat for some pretty sub-par acting and writing, but that’s not what this movie is about. This is the kind of movie when you just sit back and let the incredible visual effects wash over you, because absolutely everything about Exodus: Gods and Kings screams epic! Always a fan of the special effect, Ridley Scott has created towering 3D visuals, from costumes to sets to CGI, that are almost unmatched in any live-action film to date. It is a testament to how far visual effects have come in the last few years, and it is the most realistic looking CGI I have ever seen.
And they chose the right part of the bible to utilise those visual effects, because there is so much of Moses’s story that would be impossible to depict without the use of CGI. The plagues of frogs, flies and locusts that descend upon Egypt are incredible and horrifying, only intensified by the phenomenal use of sound and 3D effect that will make you feel like you’re living inside the action. In particular, the “parting of the Red Sea”, where towering walls of water comes crashing down, was so terrifyingly magnificent that I couldn’t help but question whether I was about to be crushed by an entire ocean.
Sure, there were a lot of things that weren’t quire right about this film. The acting wasn’t exactly up to scratch; Bale weaved in and out of accents while Hollywood heavyweights such as Aaron Paul and Sigourney Weaver gave surprisingly underwhelming performances. The screenplay was trite and incongruously modern for the movie’s ancient setting, and the fact that most of the supposedly “Egyptian” characters were played by white actors in tan make-up was quite disconcerting (but let’s not go there). But even through all that, I couldn’t help but enjoy this movie for the amazing spectacle that it is.
Although, I will give a little warning to any animal lovers out there: literally thousands of computer-generated horses, frogs, locusts, fish and crocodiles were harmed in the making of this movie.
[youtube id=”9jephX9HPnM” width=”620″ height=”360″]