Ridley Scott is one of the most revered directors of our time. While he’s worked in all sorts of genres, he’s had particular success with ground-breaking classic sci-fi such as Alien, as well historical biographies or fiction, which often turn out to be masterpieces such as the multi award winning Gladiator. There is no doubt that Scott is one of cinema’s greatest storytellers.
This time Ridley Scott brings to our screen possibly the third greatest story ever told (after the birth of Jesus and Noah) – the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt. This Old Testament tale of Moses was immortalised by Charlton Heston in 1956’s The Ten Commandments, but who could possibly fill this famous pair of sandals this time? Well, none other than Batman himself – Christian Bale.
The story is familiar to all, but in a nutshell Moses is a Prince of Egypt born to Jewish parents but brought up in the palaces after being found in the bulrushes. Once his secret is discovered he is exiled. Then, after hearing the word of god, his mission is then to become the saviour of the Hebrew slaves from the tyranny of Egypt. It’s nearly 60 years since The Ten Commandments was made, does this film add anything more? Well yes and no – the original is a classic, but there is a young audience out there that would not watch anything prior to the 1990s.
In the 2014 version, we have 3D which does add something to the sweeping panoramic shots of Egypt, zooming over the statues and pyramids etc. And it is also used to great effects when the plagues sweep through the narrow streets.
Is there an audience for Biblical epics? Well, there is interest, as Noah didn’t do too badly at the box office despite mediocre reviews and a few liberties made to the story (perhaps Scott’s male muse, Russell Crowe, should have jumped ship to this better adaptation). There are no rock like transformers in this movie, yet the explanation of Moses’ visions are handled excellently as they come to him after a serious knock on the head and a child manifests itself as the voice of God, thus adding a note of speculation to the story.
As for the acting, there are solid performances from all, Bale is as powerful and intense as expected as Moses, Joel Egerton plays the role of Ramses perfectly, as do the supporting cast, including Sigourney Weaver in a blink and you will miss it role
Overall Verdict: Like many of Ridley Scott’s movies expect expert storytelling, brilliant location shots, attention to detail in jewellery and costumes and also direction at its best, this is an epic film, just like the source material. So If Hobbits are not your thing this Christmas, go and see this biblical epic for its solid acting, the great effects of the plagues, the parting of the sea and its subsequent consequences.
Reviewer: Stephen Sclater