Ridley Scott's latest... ignoring the racial controversy for now... is just not a good enough movie. Especially when you take into account its $140 million budget. And, as it should be, this movie is already flopping. So what went so terribly wrong with this biblical epic?
Exodus: Gods and Kings (what a pointless subtitle) is essentially The Ten Commandments... you remember that Charlton Heston flick. But attempting to bring in some modern sensibilities. We get a burning bush (with a little kid in front of it), plagues (for about ten minutes), and a parted sea (well not exactly parted). It's an effects master's dream... gone completely wrong. And while there are elements that do seem to work here and there, an all-star cast surprisingly seems to drop the ball at every turn.
So let's get back to that little race issue I mentioned earlier. Exodus doesn't have race. Rather, this movie with all of its modern sensibilities with an opinion as to how the plagues work and its considerations that the parting of the Red Sea wasn't exactly as mentioned, fails to cast any Egyptians or Africans in any meaningful roles. The leads... almost all royalty... are all white. And the slaves, well only the slaves that have no lines get to be black. That seems kind of weird when you consider the nature of the region in question today... and back then when this story is said to have taken place. Oh yeah, and let's not forget that Egypt was full of women back then... there weren't just two in the whole region. If in his aging mind, Ridley Scott really thought he'd get away with this cast and no one would notice... he's living in a different time and place. And as much as I've liked his older films, it's been quite a while since he's made anything I'd actually want to suggest anyone else ever sit through. He's looking pretty washed up between this, The Counselor (dear god I wish I could forget that), the mess that was Prometheus, and that awkward Robin Hood thing. It's been almost a decade since he's made an even remotely credible film and even with his production company Scott Free in hand, I can't imagine other studios are gonna continue to sign off on his crap for much longer.
But I'm getting carried away. In this film... and actually in his last several as mentioned above, Scott has failed to get quality performances out of quality casts, thus dooming his films before the lack of content could even reach their audiences. Christian Bale gives one of his worst performances in years here. It honestly doesn't feel like he even prepared for the role of Moses. I really like Joel Edgerton but in this he's just expected to sit there and brood and sniffle. What comes from that is the constant panging thought that I don't care about anything in this movie. And as much as I've enjoyed Aaron Paul of late, he had practically nothing to do. We're talking the most vocal character in the story of Moses, and he barely says five lines. It's just so frustrating to be asked time after time to remember this once great director... the guy behind Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator... and then walk into these heaping piles of steaming horseshit.
I'm gonna give up on Ridley Scott. That's all there is to it. He's no longer growing as a director. In fact, he and his films have been on the decline for a long long while. If you really wanna see Exodus, I can't stop you... but I can say "I told you so."