Director Ridley Scott’s new movie Exodus: Gods and Kings conquered the box office debuting at #1 with 24.5 million in U.S. ticket sells this weekend. Overseas the movie is estimated to have done 50 million, bringing the total to 75 million for a movie that took 140 million to make.
Studio executives are undoubtedly perturbed about lower than expected sells in the U.S. Especially during the busy Christmas season where movie goers are willing to see anything shot with a handy cam. If the FOX executives are upset, how much more are Christians, who saw their beloved story of Moses and the freed slaves riddled with errors and omissions.
I saw the movie like everyone else did this weekend. Hoping to see an authentic rendition, that I did not see on the recent Darren Aronofsky film ‘Noah.’ Although not quite as bad as ‘Noah,’ that blatantly created characters that never existed in the bible; Ridley Scott’s Exodus attempted to subliminally scale back and even interpret the biblical accounts of Moses’ conquest for viewers.
As a filmmaker and writer myself, I know it’s hard to pull off depictions of God’s personage on film without looking corny. We’ve seen it over the last 60 years done with glowing lights, loud deep voices, and even manifested adult characters. But never have we seen God played by an eleven year old boy who talks and acts beyond his years. I guess God could manifest himself into any form or body, but to some this was a bit of a stretch.
“Ridley Scott’s EXODUS represents a strong departure from the Bible and will likely fail to resonate with millions of Jews, Christians, and Muslims,” says Chris Stone, Certified Brand Strategist and Founder of Faith Driven Consumer. “The depiction of God as a seemingly non-sovereign, petulant eleven-year-old white boy who may even be a figment of Moses’ imagination presents a major hurdle for faith audiences. Scott’s portrayal of God makes him almost unnecessary in the film to the point that EXODUS wouldn’t have suffered much if He had not been in it. Ultimately, the movie misses the central point of the story.”
Watching the movie I was squirming in my seat, and even talking out loud at errors not biblically factual. At the end of the movie I heard one movie-goer tell his significant other that it was just a movie. Does it have to be factually correct?” I wanted to answer that question for him, and say YES! But I restrain-fully withheld my comment. The point that I’ve made numerous of times on hollywood’s newfound interest in money-making biblical epics, is that non-believers believe that they know the bible just by watching 2 hours of theatre. So film-makers have a responsibility to get the facts right, even if they decide to take liberties with the special effects.
Exodus creators decided to never give moses his staff. A staff that the bible records was by Moses’ side throughout the miracles and plagues bestowed on the people of Egypt. Instead of a staff, filmmakers gave Moses a sword that had a non-factual sympathetic meaning to the character Moses played by actor Christian Bale and King Ramses played by Joel Edgerton. How do you not give Moses a staff?! That question made my popcorn taste a little cooler and my seat a little less cozy, as I then noticed other biblical inaccuracies that the movie to liberties with.
The movie made it seem like God was doing these signs and wonders as Moses set and watched. The bible records Moses was given the power to execute God’s will and was actively involved, frequently using the instilled power of the staff.
The blood plague in the movie was done almost completely wrong with no Moses present during the scene. The bible records, “Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood.” -Exodus 7:20.
Christian journalist Sheilah Belle wrote, “Exodus: Gods and Kings is an attempt to rewrite history. It is a story based off the book of the bible Exodus. If you attempt to compare the two you will shake your head…From who plays God, Moses, to subtle things said that attempt to discredit the Word of God.”
Moses never said his famous line “Let my people Go.” (Exodus 9:1) And when Moses murdered the Egyptian soldier, he did not do it because his Hebrew people were being beat, (Exodus 2:11) he did it because he wanted to save his own skin from being seen at the house of a Jew. The inaccuracies reach a boiling point when the Red Sea dries up instead of being parted. (Exodus 14:22). With a 140 million dollar budget, you mean to tell me Hollywood couldn’t part a red sea? Of course they could, but this is another illustration of how Scott’s Exodus worked their own beliefs into the storyline.
The movie was again great theater and effects, but this was another missed opportunity to spread the true word of God. I hear there’s another Ben Hur film being done. Lets hope Christians can eventually get something accurate to show their children in Bible class. Until then I’ll keep going to my church stage-plays.
Reviewed By: Kris Patrick
Path MEGAzine, Publisher