The story of Moses is a familiar one. I remember the old TV movie The Ten Commandments playing every year as the back drop to my family celebrating Easter at my grandfather's house. Later, there was an animated adaptation, which I enjoyed watching. It had a very good soundtrack. So, I was quite surprised when, recently, my mother wanted us all to go out and see Exodus: Gods and Kings. If anyone knew the story of Moses inside and out, it was us. So why would we spend money to go and watch it again? I am going to tell you why.
This movie spends a lot of time focusing on Moses and Ramses II. Focusing on them as people, reacting to the situation that they have found themselves in. Two brothers in staunch opposition to one another. Personally, I like the take on Moses that this film presents. Here you have a man, raised Egyptian, a prince and general, farming goats. The entire movie, you see a push and pull relationship Moses has with God, which is very different from prior adaptations. Moses is normally shown as being very accepting from the moment he encounters God on the mountain.
This film makes the character of Moses feel more human to me. He struggles with putting away what he once had to transition into the leader of a people he barely knows. I also like the fact that the film creators chose to give a face to the voice of God, rather than making Him an invisible presence. A face gives the conversations an extra something that a disembodied voice cannot.
The only negative thing I have to say about this film is that there were sections that felt rushed. One scene in particular is where Ramses is talking to Miriam about Moses. There was little setup for that scene and I felt we were simply to accept what was happening because we knew it had to happen. We know there is a huge climatic ending and only 2 hours to get there. So, certain scenes have to happen in order to progress, no matter if they flow seamlessly into the story line or not.
Exodus: Gods and Kings is a good movie. It takes a familiar story and re-imagines it into something new and different than its predecessors. I enjoyed watching it.