Watch: Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton Do Gold-Tipped Violence in ‘Exodus’ Trailer

By July 9, 2014
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To put it in extremely mild terms, this is not what we expected Ridley Scott’s big screen version of the very traditional, very well-known biblical tale of Moses to look like. When we got our first look at Exodus: Gods and Kings (when it was just known as Exodus, a simpler time, even if we didn’t initially realize it) back in December, thanks to a close-cropped Christian Bale sitting grandly astride a large horse while a pack of servants and slaves build busily away behind him, it looked authentic-ish. It certainly didn’t look like some kind of gaudy, gold-emblazoned, overly made-up spin on the story of the baby found in the bullrushes and the almost-brother who betrayed him. Admittedly, it also didn’t provide a look at Joel Edgerton as Rhamses II, who looks as if he was shook loose from some kind of The Mummy spin-off and plopped in front of a surprised Bale.

It’s not good. Is this what Scott is going to do now? Can we not even trust a staid Biblical epic to the filmmaker?

Sure, Gladiator had its own pop and pizzazz, the kind that didn’t exactly smack of historical accuracy, but this almost looks like a film based on a video game, not a feature lifted from the Bible. And its unwieldy title — why can’t this thing just be called Exodus? — isn’t helping matters.

Here, take a look for yourself. Positively Mummy-esque, right?

There are certainly some striking images here — though the best ones are wide shots that don’t focus too much on the too-tan Edgerton or the too-eyelined Bale, instead turning to big landscapes with frightful weather and war bearing down. Scott knows how to put together a feature that’s visually impressive, even as it disappoints in other realms — Prometheus, anyone? — but there’s something unsettling about the look and feel of Exodus. Doesn’t such a grand story deserve a little more, well, historical interest? More authenticity? Less spray-on tan?

Oddly, Scott’s film is ostensibly a standard telling of the Moses story, and it looks like he’s spicing things up with a thoroughly modern blockbuster feel. Last year, Empire Online shared that the plotline is as follows: “Moses was found, traditional [sic] has it, as a baby in the bullrushes, abandoned by a desperate mother when the then-Pharaoh ordered the murder of male newborns among his slaves. Found by the Pharaoh’s daughter, he was raised with the royals, alongside the future Rhamses II (Joel Edgerton here). But a burning bush speaking with the voice of his people’s god convinced Moses to lead the Israelite slaves to freedom, leading to the parting of the Red Sea and a 40-year trek through the desert.”

Will the burning bush also be wearing gold?

Exodus: Gods and Kings will open on December 12, 2014.

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Kate Erbland
Kate Erbland is a staff writer for movie news and reviews at GeekNation. Her work can also be found at Film School Rejects, ScreenCrush, Vanity Fair, The Dissolve, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, amNewYork, New York Daily News, Dame Magazine, Mental Floss, Film.com, MSN Movies, and Boxoffice Magazine. She lives in New York City with two cats, two turtles, one boyfriend, and a frightening number of sensible canvas totes.