“Exodus: Gods and Kings” is an epic film, as in “big”. The filmmakers showcase the plagues of the Bible in a big way: the water turning into blood, the frogs, the flies, the huge hail stones, etc. There are also sweeping shots of the vast number of Hebrews as they begin their trek from Egypt toward first the Red Sea and then the promised land. The costumes are amazing and the word “spectacle” comes to mind. Christian Bale is adequate as Moses as is Joel Edgerton as the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, but they don’t leave the huge impression on a viewer in the same way that Charlton Heston did or Yul Brynner in Cecile B. DeMille’s epic “The Ten Commandments” from 1956. Bale plays Moses as a very reluctant deliverer of the people.
Briefly, there are those that will wonder how accurate the movie remains as far as Biblical accuracy. A few examples are that there is no voice out of the Burning Bush, it simply burns and a young boy shows up to speak with Moses, calling himself “I am.” In two other examples, the Israelites begin wading into the Red Sea and it just sort of dries up after a while, instead of parting. And Moses isn’t shown killing an Egyptian being cruel to a Hebrew, instead he is shown killing more than one guard.
The story contains strong tension. Moses makes no demands on Pharaoh but Pharaoh sees one catastrophe after another and is forced to deal with it, including painful boils on his own face. A few of the plagues, such as the water turning to blood, are explained away as huge crocodiles eating a group of men and the blood affecting the waters. Moses leaves his wife and young son to deal with the Hebrews’ slavery and they are not happy about his leaving.
The film has some good moments and scenes of dramatic tension. For example, Moses doesn’t want to believe he is Hebrew when he learns the secret, but eventually he embraces his mother and speaks with his sister Miriam. He also, though reluctant at first, eventually acknowledges that “God is with us.” However, despite some nice moments, the violence level is high (typically requiring an R-rating from the MPAA). In several scenes, families are being hanged by Pharaoh to make a point, crocodiles eat men with bloody results, and there are many wounds from battles.