Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings (dir. Ridley Scott, 2014)

exodus-DF-02770Early on in Exodus: Gods and Kings, there’s a scene in which Moses, who is still an Egyptian prince oblivious to his Hebrew heritage, confronts an Egyptian viceroy named Hegep, who is supposed to be building a new city for the Pharaoh but seems to have diverted some of the funds towards his own luxurious lifestyle. Hegep tries to deflect Moses’ attention by pointing to the troublesome Hebrew slaves, and says he needs more resources to deal with them. As proof of how rebellious these Hebrews are, Hegep says, “Do you know what ‘Israelite’ means in their own language? ‘He who fights with God’.” An annoyed Moses replies, “‘He who wrestles with God’. There’s a difference.”

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A brief comment on the Exodus: Gods and Kings casting controversy

exodus-yahoo-3Three months ago, Ridley Scott noted that the actors he hired for Exodus: Gods and Kings represent a range of different ethnicities, and hardly anyone noticed. Last week, he made an off-the-cuff remark about how he couldn’t cast some obscure Middle Eastern actor as the lead in a massively expensive movie such as this, and the internet went berserk.

Scott’s comment was quickly assumed by many people to mean that he was justifying hiring an “all-white” cast. Many people claimed, dubiously, that it would be more historically accurate if the villainous Egyptian slave masters, many of whom are killed by an act of God at the Red Sea, were played by black actors instead. (Just think what sort of controversies there would be if the film had gone that route.)

The Week’s Jonathan Merritt even went so far as to say today that no Bible movie — not even The Nativity Story, which cast a Maori girl as the Virgin Mary, a Palestinian as her mother and Iranians as her father and her cousin Elizabeth — has made any progress when it comes to “sensitivity to ethnicity”. Apparently the fact that Keisha Castle-Hughes was born in Australia disqualifies that film somehow. Seriously?

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Exodus: Gods and Kings: new interviews and behind the scenes footage in the electronic press kit

vlcsnap-2014-11-26-12h41m27s105The electronic press kit for Exodus: Gods and Kings is here, and with it, some new behind-the-scenes footage that hints at things we have not yet seen in any of the ads or clips released so far. It also has lots of soundbites from key cast and crew members. Check it out below the jump.

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Exodus: Gods and Kings: a new poster, Sigourney Weaver on wanting to kill Moses, costume designs, and more

exodusgodsandkings-dutchTime to round up some Exodus: Gods and Kings bits.

First up, Flicks and Bits has this poster for the film’s Dutch release, which will apparently take place on December 18 — fifteen days after the film opens in South Korea, and six days after it opens in North America. It’s not a great poster, but it’s less lame than some of the other ones we’ve seen. (One of the most recent posters, which seems to show Moses and Ramses fighting each other even though they aren’t even looking at each other, is particularly strange.)

Second, Sigourney Weaver was interviewed by her old friend (and Dave co-star) Kevin Kline for Gotham magazine, and along the way she drops a few hints about how Queen Tuya, her character in Exodus, tries to influence her son Ramses:
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Exodus: Gods and Kings: lots of new photos and new plot details as the studio previews up to 45 minutes of footage

exodus-oct17-8The publicity campaign for Exodus: Gods and Kings is stepping up, just a month and a half before the film opens overseas (click here for the release dates).

20th Century Fox, which already screened about half-an-hour of footage for the media two weeks ago, screened even more footage for reporters in New York and Los Angeles yesterday, and plans to do the same in Washington DC next week. The footage may have also screened in Toronto, to go by a report that appeared in the Toronto Sun on Wednesday.

Various details have leaked out from those screenings, and the studio has added to the new information by releasing some new pictures, including photos of actors we had not yet seen in any of the official press materials. Check ’em out below the jump.

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The second Exodus: Gods and Kings trailer: a shot-by-shot analysis (lots of swords, a prophecy, and a family)

vlcsnap-2014-10-01-12h49m26s72The first full trailer for Exodus: Gods and Kings came out today, and to judge by what we see here, the film will have bits of Gladiator, The Prince of Egypt, Schindler’s List and even The Matrix.

That’s right, The Matrix. Or at any rate, that’s what I am reminded of when Ben Kingsley shows up and goes all Morpheus on Christian Bale’s Moses, telling him that he’s always felt something was wrong, that he has been deceived his whole life, and that he is the fulfillment of a prophecy regarding a deliverer.

It’s tempting to think that this “prophecy” business is just another movie cliché — it’s certainly not there in the biblical version of Moses’ story — but the first-century historian Josephus actually mentions such a prophecy and says the Hebrew babies were drowned in the Nile around the time of Moses’ birth because of it.

Cecil B. DeMille included this prophecy (and its consequences) in the prologue to The Ten Commandments — and although other characters refer to it later, there is no scene in which anyone actually discusses the prophecy with Moses. So Exodus is unique in having a mentor introduce the hero to his destiny like this.

Apart from that, the trailer mostly sells action, action, action — if the teaser had lots of horses, this one has lots of swords — but it also touches on Moses’ relationships with his “brother” Ramses, his wife Zipporah and his sons Gershom and Eliezer.

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