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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

On Biblical Films, Race Maneuvering and EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS

My Biblical trivia is, let's just say, more than a little rusty. But it seems like every few months Hollywood is having me dig back into the archives of my memory as a young child, toting my children's Bible to church. What is it with the recent trend of religious movies coming out of the Hollywood machine anyway? Is the influx of dark dystopian stories compelling filmmakers to seek solace in the Holy Word?

I don't take away anything from those who admire these types of films, like Darren Aronofsky's Noah (which I still plan to see). And I can't say that I'm turned off from them myself--like any film, I look for the presentation of the story, and how it will be modernized for today's wider audience. But with all the backlash toward Noah regarding the role of race and the debate surrounding the Biblical tale, I figured Hollywood would be more weary of this genre. 

Which brings us to EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS, in which Christian Bale stars as Moses who stand as up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (played by Joel Edgerton) and frees 600,000 slaves. I really try not to get involved with religious debate and interpretation of the Bible, as I learned a long time ago that people's relationship with the Bible is very personal and applied directly to how they choose to lead their lives. And I have to respect that. But I can't say that it didn't give me pause to see the amount of tanning makeup Bale and especially Edgerton--and Sigourney Weaver, who's also in the movie--are wearing in the new trailer released on Tuesday. I mean, even the characters in Disney's The Prince of Egypt looked more authentic. And that was a cartoon.

That aside, however, the movie does look gorgeous, in an epic Gladiator kind of way, which makes sense since it was directed by Ridley Scott. The clip throws us right into the tension between Moses and Ramses, as the camera pulls back to show us the glorious photography of each scene. For what it's worth, I am interested to see how Bale and Edgerton will adopt these roles, but I can only say that I am cautiously optimistic at this point. Here's a little more on the film:

From acclaimed director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Prometheus) comes the epic adventure “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” the story of one man’s daring courage to take on the might of an empire. Using state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses (Christian Bale) as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton), setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.

Aaron Paul, John Turturro and Ben Kingsley are also in the film, which rounds out a star-studded cast. Steve Zaillian (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Moneyball, American Gangster) wrote the screenplay. 

Watch the new trailer:

EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS hits theaters December 12th.

Photo credits: Kerry Brown - TM and © 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation


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