Peter Suderman Reviews Exodus: Gods and Kings


20th Century Fox

Exodus: Gods and Kings is probably the worst big-budget movie I've seen all year, and I saw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. 

At first glance, "Exodus: Gods and Kings" might seem to represent a change of pace at the multiplex: Director Ridley Scott's revisionist riff on the Biblical story of the Israelites' flight from Egypt is a lavish Hollywood blockbuster that is neither a comic-book movie nor a sequel in some increasingly bloated big-screen franchise.

And yet in some sense it's also both — a heroic, effects-driven take on a Biblical epic that attempts to recast its story to fit within the box-office-friendly parameters of the director's previous work. Either way, however, it's an epic mess.

Technically, it's not part of a franchise, but "Exodus" falls neatly into line as the latest in a series of ever-more-dubious historical epics from Mr. Scott, the director of the still-resonant "Gladiator" and the still-muddled "Kingdom of Heaven."

"Exodus" calls to mind both, though rarely in a good way: Like "Gladiator," it revolves around a clash between a king — in this case, the Emperor Ramses (Joel Edgerton) — and a member of his inner circle, Moses (a bored-looking Christian Bale), who leads a people's revolt after the elder mentor holding the two at bay (Emperor Seti, played with campy disinterest by John Turturro) passes on. But "Exodus" lacks both the gravitas and the searing violence of that earlier film; it is largely bloodless and, indeed, often boring.

As in "Kingdom of Heaven," the story marries historical sweep to questionable theology and sociopolitical insights. 

Read the complete review at The Washington Times.