Exodus: Gods and Kings

“Oh my, were my expectations for this set really low. I’m always hesitant about epic looking films. Sometimes you get something awesome like Return of the King, but more times you get an overly bloated Hobbit movie. Biblical stories also give me pause. I studied all of these stories extensively in children’s church growing up. I know them well, and therefor am quick to judge if they’re not done right, and frankly, I tend to be a little bored with them. I’ve seen so many adaptations (Hollywood and faith based, live action and animated) of most of the major stories and heard so many retellings. Still, I must see every movie,and I will admit to being rather curious.

It’d been a while since I’d thought about this story, but details came rushing back to me as I watched it unfold on screen. And it all stuck pretty well to the source as I remember it. This was done as a secular endeavor, so some of the aspects of faith were dampened a little bit. I liked that though. I found it much more interesting to see Moses as a normal man having his own struggles with faith. Director Ridley Scott considers himself an agnostic, so it was very important to him that he find all the elements believable himself, working very hard to get the film to that point before sharing it.

While I was into it, there really wasn’t much new that I gained. Again, I knew this story inside out already. As I said, I did like the angle of having Moses be a bit more hesitant and questioning, but it also gave some bits a disconnect. We didn’t really see as much of the push/pull with Ramses and Moses over the plagues as I’d usually understood it. Instead, Moses sat back and let God do his thing, and then he confronted the pharaoh later. But speaking of those plagues, this was the most up close and personal I think I’ve seen them, so that was cool. I also did enjoy the early Moses/Ramses relationship.

I’ve been debating whether or not I wanna even get into the whole casting controversy that’s been brewing. The fact is, I do have some thoughts, and they’re in my typical seeing both sides of the argument style. I’m not looking to start anything, just give my own personal opinion, so feel free to skip this paragraph…I certainly understand where the frustration is coming from, and I think it’s a very good thing that people are making a big deal so that change can happen. That said, I understand Scott’s argument (as poorly and distastefully worded as it was) that no studio is gonna fund a movie of this size and caliber without bankable stars leading it. Given my ambivalence about seeing this to begin with, I will admit that the familiar cast was a big selling point. It would be great if there were bankable Egyptian actors, but Hollywood needs to make room for them elsewhere first. Personally, I believe in color blind casting, as much as you can get away with it. You pick the best person for the role, regardless of race. If race is a big part of the story (Hairspray is the first example that comes to mind) then it’s more important to cast accordingly. In casting this film, because of the current state of Hollywood, choosing the best person had to factor in how likely they were to sell the film. And given the current state of Hollywood, there really weren’t many varied options. So in conclusion, I don’t necessarily have a problem that this cast was white washed, but the issue that people should be getting upset over goes deeper than that. And I hope that the conversations that are starting do help to facilitate correcting that issue.

Exodus: Gods and Kings – \m/ \m/ \m/”

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