Before telling why ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ cannot exactly fit into the genre of Bible Movies, I would like to say that watching Exodus was a thrilling experience, the actions and costumes kept us glued to the seats for 154 minutes. The epic story is set in the ancient kingdom of Pharaohs with all the magnificence of the kingdom – the antique utensils and gorgeous actors in stunning attires. For every occasion, the Pharaoh wore a different costume. While going for battle he wears gold ornaments and while in the palace, he wears precious stones. Zipporah in the desert looked dazzling in her rustic attires and ornaments. Read about the Christmas celebration in a Church which is attended mostly by people of other faith.
Secondly, you get involved in the process of an aristocrat transforming to the Leader of Slaves, liberating them form 400 years of slavery. When the slaves’ doubt how he will make them cross the Red Sea, like a true leader, Moses urges the people to have faith and trust in him and the God.
Unfortunately I went to watch the movie with some friends who were not experts in Bible stories, so while watching the movie there were many instances when I had to give background explanation as the story unfurls on the screen. Therefore, I concluded that there is drama, action and adventure in the movie which is set in the overall frame work of the Bible story.
The movie fits better in the genre of a Psychological Thriller because the story has more to do with the inner psychological battle of the two men in the movie ‘Man of God’ (Moses) and ‘the King’ (Ramses).
At the beginning of the movie, Seti the King of Egypt sends Ramses, the prince, to a battle along with Moses. Before the two left a priestess predicted that Moses will save Ramses. The King gave both of them swords with name of Moses on Ramses sword and vice versa. As predicted, Moses saves the future kings life from the Hittites and there begins the mental turmoil of Ramses.
After the death of his Father, when Ramses became king he was completely dependent on Moses, who serves as his adviser. Therefore, the anxiety of Ramses is very clear when Moses is banished from the palace.
Moses’s psychological turmoil begins with episode when God talks to him through a burning bush. Whenever Aaron secretly watches conversation of Moses with God, he sees Moses was talking to Stone.
God the boy
In this movie, the God is an eleven-year-old boy while in the Bible God is the Father. Eastern Orthodoxy tradition sees burning bush in parallel to the womb of Virgin Mary giving birth to the son of God without being harmed. Is there any interpretation for the representation of God as a boy?
Moses wears general’s uniform
When Moses left the palace, he seems to have disowned nothing, not even the sword. Moses is usually represented wearing shepherd’s cloth and long hair. In this movie, he is always in a generals clothing and with clean hair cut.
The staff is missing
The most evident missing link in the movie is the staff of Moses that he used to split the Red Sea, and to perform miracles whenever there was a need. He turned it into a snake many times. In this movie, Moses carries the sword given by the Pharoah with Ramases name inscribed on it.
The sea doesn’t divide
As you can see in this picture, the sea recedes like a tsunami. And the miracle happened when Moses throws the sword into the sea and goes into a deep slumber.
Moses cries for the Egyptians
Not just Moses, the audience will sympathise more with the Egyptians when Moses asks God to stop the plague because he cannot see the people he grew up with undergoing so much pain.
10 plaques in 10 minutes
Before you recollect the 10 plaques, they are shown at one stretch and also with added elements like the crocodile that killed people to make the Nile blood red. Many film goers are not familiar with Bible stories, the plaques required more explanation. Therefore, if you are not aware of the story of Moses then read articles like this one here before watching the movie.
Scientific interpretation of the plaques
An expert scientifically explains to Pharaoh the reasons for the plaque. Due to the bad climate, the water of Nile turned red and so the frogs jumped out of the River, which in turn resulted in a large number of fly and so on……….. The rationalised interpretation removed the supernatural power attached to the plaques.
Moses in just 40
According to the Bible, Moses left the palace at the age of 40 and lived in Midian for 40 years and returned to save the Israelites at the age of 80. Moses in this movie doesn’t look more than 40 till the end of the movie.
However the power and presence of God is acknowledged in a few instances. When Moses is unable to free the Israelites, God tells Moses that he would do the rest of the work and then the plaques begin. When Ramses bring the body of his dead child to Moses, he tells the King that not a single Hebrew child died that night. Finally, even if we assume that the sea was split by a receding tsunami, only the presence of a super natural power could keep the sea divided for 600,000 people cross to the other side.
After watching the movies when I asked my friends what they felt about the movie. They said that Exodus: Gods and King was an excellent movie worth watching.