When we think of historical epics, a certain grand scale of filmmaking comes to mind, and few pull it off better than Ridley Scott. His Moses saga Exodus: Gods and Kings (previously known simply as Exodus) hits theaters this December, and is the second blockbuster Biblical retelling of 2014, after Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
Scott’s take on the Old Testament story boasts a terrific cast, with Christian Bale as Moses, Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby) as his adoptive brother (and eventual enemy) Ramses, Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) as Joshua, alongside Sigourney Weaver (Avatar), Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3) and John Turturro (Transformers: Dark of the Moon).
While Scott has long held that his take on the famous story will focus more on the characters than the set pieces – such as the iconic Parting of the Red Sea in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 classic The Ten Commandments, which starred Charlton Heston – we have waited for our first real look at Exodus to see if the Gladiator helmer has managed to pull off a balance of spectacle and intimacy.
Now, we finally have the first trailer for Exodus: Gods and Kings, which you can watch above. We also have a set of posters for the film, which you will find below.
For all of the CGI-enhanced battle scenes and decidedly dark tone, it looks so far as if Exodus will cover much of the same territory as DeMille’s take, or even the animated DreamWorks rendering of the classic story, The Prince of Egypt (minus the musical numbers). In those narratives, Moses, a member of the tribe of Abraham, hidden by his mother to save him from the murder of all male Jewish infants as ordered by the Pharoah, is found and adopted by the rulers of Egypt and raised alongside their natural son Ramses. When he discovers his true lineage, Moses becomes an instrument of God, who inflicts a series of plagues on the country until the Ramses finally submits and releases the Jews from slavery.
Exodus: Gods and Kings focuses on the conflict between Moses and Ramses but this brief trailer is packed with visuals (with effects that seem slightly unfinished), including an impressive shot of a river of blood and a massive, crushing wave, which may well be the Red Sea.
Completely missing from this first look at Exodus is any mention of God. Just as Noah referred to the deity as the Creator, can we expect a similar toning down of the religious aspect in the script by Bill Collage & Adam Cooper (Tower Heist) and Steve Zaillian (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)? Probably not, given how inextricably linked Moses’ mission is to the higher powers at play.
Exodus: Gods and Kings opens in theaters on December 12, 2014.