Movie Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings
(Good News newsletter, January 2015)
“Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:10
When God acts, stand back and be amazed. In Exodus: Gods and Kings, 1200 years before the birth of Christ, the sands in God’s hour glass run out and He moves to free the Israelite from 400 years of slavery. Moses is His chosen instrument.
In the beginning, Moses had no faith. He did not know this God who called him out, rather roughly, from Egypt. Christian Bale portrays a man who barely knows himself, much less the God and people he was born into. Moses is angry, distrustful, and headstrong and the early relationship with God is a war of the wills. Exodus 4:14 says, “the anger of the Lord burned against Moses.”
As usual with Hollywood, there are discrepancies and odd interpretations of scripture. The most striking is the person of God portrayed as a little boy of approximately ten years old. The Child is deliberate and patient, allowing Moses to thrash around, to rant and rave until he is spent. The two have many combative conversations. It becomes apparent God’s mission is two-fold: to free the Israelites and to burn the dross from the person of Moses, to mold him into the man He created him to be.
When Moses is first given his marching orders he sets out on his own terms. He has been bred to be a military man of might. He has faith in what he knows. He attempts to train the slaves to rise up in rebellion, resulting in even greater oppression. My favorite lines in the movie come when Moses complains to God that his efforts have failed. God says to Moses, “Are you finished yet?” Moses replies, “What more do you want me to do?” to which the Lord answers, “Watch Me.” Finally, we begin to see the true might and power of the great I AM.
Computerized cinematography creates an Egypt that was in its glory days, with Memphis a sprawling, glittering sculpture, a civilization of elegance and culture, built upon the backs of slaves. In short order, God lays waste to the Jewel of the Nile. The ensuing plagues are vicious and hideous. Monster crocodiles kill everything and everyone in the waters of the Nile River, turning it into blood. Frogs and locusts, boils and disease, hail and famine swamp the Egyptians until the Angel of Death deals the final blow. Ramses, excellently played by Joel Edgerton, faces it all with equal defiance. Moses continues to rely on his own resources as he leads the Israelites away from Egypt. Humility, trust, and reliance on God come ever so slowly.
I saw Exodus: Gods and Kings in 3-D. I admit it; I am impressed with technology and high-powered special effects. With my 3-D glasses I stood on the edge of the stone quarry, feeling that I might fall in. Locusts and gravel from the chariots flew at my face, the walls of the Red Sea towered over me, and I loved it. It’s not a movie; it’s an experience. The movie is rated PG-13 for violence and realism. The first half seemed slow to me and I struggled with God as a young boy. Ben Kingsley has a small but impressive part. Take your bigger kids to see it and don’t forget your 3-D glasses!