Exodus: Gods And Kings (3D)
Cert: 12A / 150 mins / Dir. Ridley Scott
Okay, there's two ways we can do this. Either you can go on and read the 511 words after this paragraph, or you can stop after the final word of this one: shite.
Still here? Oh, fair play. The thing that strikes you about Ridley Scott's Exodus (and fairly early on) is how bollocks it is. That's not to say it's complete bollocks, of course, since that would be implying that the film succeeds at something. No, it's just bollocks in that 'all-over-the-place like Joel Edgerton's accent' sort of a way. It's clear what the story's meant to be, and in all fairness you have to be pretty much on-board with that before the BBFC card appears, because the film's going to do little to change your mind. I wasn't on-board. By the time the credits rolled, I'd have happily thrown myself overboard just to end the white-noise of Uncle Owen chasing Batman and The Mandarin around the desert for two hours while the audience look on, thoroughly bemused.
Here's an actual, genuine excerpt of the screenplay:
* * * * *
Exterior: Day. Moses and the 400,000 Israelites trudge across the desert. A MESSENGER gallops to the head of the line.
MESSENGER: Ramses rides after us, Moses, with four thousand men and a thousand horses!
MOSES: How far behind..?
MESSENGER: Four days; less, if they don't rest the horses!
CUT TO ~
Exterior: Night. RAMSES and his horde ride over the desert.
GENERAL: Sire, we must rest the horses!
* * * * *
…even the frequently-ghosting addition of a third dimension can't add an extra layer of depth to this screenplay, and in socio-political terms, it's the Phantom Menace of Biblical epics*1, with pseudo-political gossip, tittle-tattle and backstabbing interspersing the scenes of outlandish action like a kind of Old Testament soap-opera. On a logistical level, the key story-points of the film make Darren Aronofsky's Noah look like a wildlife documentary, although I'll admit that it's to the film's credit that it doesn't try to rationalise them. In fact, the 'parting of the sea' finale was looking quite understated until Scott turned it into an eye-popping 3D Guinness advert (ironically, for a film which might have worked better if I'd had a drink in my hand).
If there's one thing Prometheus taught us, it's that Ridley Scott directs symbolism and suggestion as if they're fact. By the time Grumpy Moses sees God as a petulant 8yr old, and begins to bicker with Him as such, your backside will be getting as numb as your brain. Two and a half hours is long for a fantasy film, and it's long for a mythical/political statement. When the film can't work out which it wants to be, it's even longer. Choose one, Ridley, choose one.
A grand vision which seems to have been lost half-way back down the mountain, Exodus: Gods And Kings is an unholy mess of a sermon...
Oh, more or less.
Not at all.
I have no idea.
Not really, but you'll have one hell of a job convincing me why it's great.
There is, indeed. This is no consolation.
Why do they keep calling Moses 'Mosher'?
His hair isn't that long…*2
*1 And I say that as someone who loves The Phantom Menace, as well you know.
*2 No, that's a joke. Let me get some kind of enjoyment out of the film.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.