Brotherhood. Moses and Ramses know all about that. They should- they grew up together, have fought together, and have ruled together under the pharaoh. The time has come though for a new pharaoh to rise to the throne, and Ramses does so in a manner of his father and his father’s father… the list goes on. In this new transition, Moses is shown and told some disturbing things. How he is not truly Egyptian. How he is not royalty.
Taken aback at these claims and the way Ramses treats him under such, he has no option but to flee in the desert, where he meets his wife, starts a family, and meets a bush on fire, yet does not burn. He has been Told to free his people, the Hebrews, from Egypt. Who told him this?
Things I Liked
While Moses departs from the standard Exodus representation of his character. He remains true to the essence of person. For the most part. Early on, instead of rebelling at the bush and calling, he rebels later in assembling his own little army and strike force. God appears later, after the failures of such a force. In more eloquent words He essentially asks “How’s that working for you?”. Moses eventually learns the lesson of submission and humility, and begins a walk with God which is excellent to behold.
The Hebrews as a whole, are shown to have an unwavering faith in God until the Red Sea, like shown in Exodus. Throughout the beatings, the plagues, and freedom they continue to hold fast to the prophecies told to them, and share them with Moses who is their deliverer. Even after the wonders of the plagues though, we see them begin to squabble amongst themselves and question Moses’s decision. I was glad they left both parts of this in the film.
The plagues portrayed in this movie are by far the best ever shown or captured. They even reference how each plague smacked the face of an Egyptian god. What is also laughable, is how the Egyptian priests attempted to explain away the plagues with science, to no avail. Much like what some scientists do today.
The cinematography and costumes in this piece stood out like none other. It is indeed a beautiful work to behold and seeing what Egypt could have looked like at the height of power…. Stunning. To say the least.
Things I Didn’t Like
In the beginning of the film, Moses and Ramses attack a Hittite war camp. People are stabbed, crushed, and cut down as the attack ravages the Hittite camp. In a similar a violent scale, Moses and his band lead attacks on the Egyptians to little success. Moses murders two Slavemaster Egyptians.
The Hebrew slaves in Egypt are shown to have little care and much brutality forced upon them. Families are hanged as public warnings. Dead slaves are left to rot in the sun. Countless slaves are beaten. We see scarred backs and broken spirits at times that make us wince in the inhumanity of it all.
While Just wrath of God is shown marvelously through the Plagues. The suffering which ensues is by no means enjoyable to behold. Perhaps the greatest difficulty is seeing the last plague take Ramses’ son’s life. It is a powerful and painful moment that was captured with the greatest of precision and tastefulness. Even in knowing that Ramses fully deserved the punishment given him, the pain which we see result from his disobedience against God still hurts. Like it should.
“We must kill the firstborn lamb, so we may be passed over. If I am wrong, pity the lamb. If I am right, we will praise Him for all eternity.”
Director Ridley Scott has returned with yet another blockbuster film that has turned heads and gotten people talking. One of the most well known bible stories of all time, Moses has been the subject of many a film. From the classic four hour Charlton Heston version, to the animated dreamwork edition… This new dramatic piece adds to an ever growing list. While Scott takes many artistic liberties in this film, there are a few core natures that the biblical account contains that must, in my opinion, be retained to preserve the essence and purpose of the story. and in these natures… This film really does come together in a roundabout kind of way.
Stunning visual presentation aside, looking at the core themes of the Moses story, the majority are preserved in this unique and sometimes uncomfortable approach. We see when Moses takes things into his own hands, things fall apart. However, when God steps in, things go according to His plan. We see an excellent interpretation of the passover. We see a God who is vengeful throughout the liberation of his people, and in the end, we are shown as the comforter and caring God that he is of His people.
Many have expressed a profound distaste for the fact God was shown as a boy, and the attitude the boy has. In some ways I agree with the choice. But more is the outcry against His personality shown, rather than the boy himself. Sometimes we forget that God indeed does have just wrath and does not have to be accountable to anyone. What Ridley does in this movie is capture that- perhaps to an extreme. I did appreciate that in the end, we see a kind and loving side of God walking with His people.
While by no means perfect, this film has much to offer to Christians, and to the people who do not know him. To often I think we Christians expect a perfect replication of the biblical story, and anything less than that is blasphemous. What is unmistakable and undeniable though, that films like this spark public interest in the Bible itself, like an earlier film called “Noah“… and that one wasn’t even that great. And honestly, call me weird. But any film that gets people into the legit word of God is one worth recommending. For we all know that the Word of God is far stronger and more potent than an film Hollywood can put out. So here’s to more biblical adaptations- even when they may not be as biblical as they could be.