August 22nd, 2019

Max’s View

Exodus: Gods and Kings

I know this isn’t news to anyone, but it really is striking how different Jesus is from God in the Old Testament.

Jesus had a clear, focused game plan. In the course of a year, he taught us how to live righteously, he founded his earthly church, he died for our sins, and he defeated death by rising from the grave.

God in the Old Testament is never that efficient, comprehensible, or altruistic.

For example, God’s behavior in the Book of Exodus is inexplicable at best, cruel and capricious at worst. God tolerated the fact that the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years and then decided that it is unacceptable. What made Him suddenly go from passive onlooker to violent abolitionist? Who knows?

From scarring them with boils to killing their crops with locusts to murdering their first-born sons, God seems to go unnecessarily hard on the Egyptian people. I mean, it’s not like they had the power to impeach the Pharaoh or vote “no” on a slavery referendum.

And when God was about to kill the first-born son of every non-Hebrew, why on earth did he make the Jews slaughter a lamb to paint their doors with the blood? It seems like God could recognize his chosen people without the lamb blood. Did he send hitmen to do the killings? And if so, couldn’t He have just told the hitmen to spare the lives of anyone with a Woody Allen DVD and a book on investing on their coffee table?

In “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” God is played by an 11-year-old boy. Seriously, an angry, petulant little boy.

It was a brave decision on the part of director Ridley Scott (“Gladiator”) to have the Lord portrayed as human and unlikable.

Unfortunately, that’s the only thing interesting about this movie. “Exodus” is overlong, humorless, and pointless.

Christian Bale is simply not believable as Moses – the legendary Hebrew holy man. And the decision to present Bale’s Moses as a sword-wielding warrior is a shameless excuse for adding 20 minutes of superfluous action sequences.

Australian actor Joel Edgerton is equally miscast as the infamous Ramses II. Pharaoh should be one of the most contemptible bad guys of history. He lets his own people suffer ghastly plagues rather than freeing God’s chosen people from bondage. But Edgerton plays him as a befuddled lightweight.

This is particularly disappointing in contrast to Emperor Commodus from Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator” – who is the best royal villain in cinema history.

“Exodus: Gods and Kings” is a dismal failure. I didn’t like it. And I’m guessing God didn’t like it. And not just because the movie paints Him as a nasty little child.

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