Exodus: Gods and Kings has already incited controversy for its perceived treatment of its Biblical source material – the film looks a whole lot like Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments remade as a Ridley Scott historical epic (Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, etc.) – and its casting of actors, such as the decision to have white Australian Joel Egerton play Rhamses; Ridley Scott’s recent comment on the latter issue hasn’t exactly helped the matter, either.
Regardless, Scott’s movie will open in theaters soon, at which point the conversation about Exodus will change; whether for better or worse, remains to be seen. One last TV trailer for the feature has dropped (watch it above) and it continues the established marketing trend – highlighting the story’s brother vs. brother conflict – this time, with attention on the climactic battle (along with an impressive shot of the parted Red Sea from the action-packed third act).
Scott’s Exodus retelling doesn’t just have Moses (Christian Bale) leading the Israelites to freedom from being enslaved by the rulers of Egypt – no, in this version, he literally goes to war with his adopted brother, the Pharaoh Rhamses, after God unleashes the Ten Plagues and wreaks almighty havoc. Credit where credit’s due, Scott looks to make good on his claim that Exodus is his biggest epic yet, in terms of the scale of spectacle and “the metaphorical aspects” alike.
… However, as we’ve seen with Scott’s films released over the past few years (Robin Hood, Prometheus, The Counselor), when it has come to his recent work, it’s not been a question of sophisticated visuals or ambitious subject matter; nor, for that matter, do most people worry about the performances measuring up. No, the filmmaker works so quickly and so efficiently that the scripts he draws from tend to be the element that winds up feeling under-cooked – resulting in films that, on the whole, tend to feel like only three-quarters of a great movie, at the most (as has been discussed on the Screen Rant Underground Podcast).
The initial Exodus screenplay was penned by Bill Collage and Adam Cooper (Tower Heist), before it was revised by Oscar-nominee Jeffrey Caine (The Constant Gardener) and then Oscar-winner Steve Zaillian (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). There are some impressive credentials shared among the screenwriting team’s members but, on the other hand, you worry about a Prometheus situation where the final result is a bit of a hodgepodge of ideas and concepts (due to the number of writers involved).
In short: we won’t have to wait too much longer, before finding out if the reception for Exodus is anywhere near as passionate (be it good, bad, or divisive) as the discussion was during the build-up to the film’s release…
Exodus: Gods and Kings opens in U.S. theaters on December 12th, 2014.