A priest friend and I went a few hours ago to see Exodus: Gods and Kings movie here in Naga City, Philippines, where movies come out a week earlier than in the States. About half way through a few people slowly started getting up and leaving. Why?
The opening scene shows a bunch of men sitting around with the pharaoh like any executives would at a board meeting, strategizing about war with the Hitites. They very well could have changed their clothes and been talking in the Pentagon, for it was a 21st century projection into ancient Egypt. At that point I actually said to myself, “Mental note: little regard for historical accuracy, quite sure the biblical accuracy will be even more muddled.” Yep. It was.
Christian Bale plays Moses. I honestly kept waiting for him to say in that raspy batman-like voice, “I’m Moses,” because Moses’ ninja assassin moves were a bit more advanced than the caped crusader. In fact if Moses met Batman in a dark Egyptian alley, Batman would probably end up like the other characters in the movie, dead or disabled on the floor.
The reviews showed that much and I should have expected that much: two warrior kings fighting it out. The Egyptian army and the Hebrew army going at it. Early on in the movie both Moses and Ramses II, who became Pharaoh later on, both received shiny swords. Moses never got his staff, and instead of plunging a staff that parted the Red Sea, you guessed it, it was the shiny sword.
There was no development of the Moses of scripture, the most humble man on earth, who had a speech impediment, and spoke to God face to face like a friend. Forget about an oppressed nation crying out to God for freedom, who sends a meek man to work God’s wonders, all the while abasing himself both before the Israelites, Egyptians, and most especially before the Lord.
Yes, Moses did speak to God face to face, but Yahweh appears as a little boy, a very spoiled and pouty little boy, whose fickle nature causes him to shout back at Moses, who was shouting at him. It was after this conversation that people began to leave the movie theater.
Basically this is an atheist trying to justify Scripture. It is full of rationalistic questions trying to come with scientific reasons for miracles and angry questions against God. Why is he so inhumane and cruel as to punish the Egyptians? There is never any notion that God had kept reaching out both to the Egyptians and to Pharaoh pleading for their conversion, but after rejection tried to humble them and bring the hard of heart the hard way back to reality.
It was almost like a sequel Noah II: More Atheists Rationalize Scripture. If you didn’t like that one, you won’t like this one. If you don’t mind poetic licence and the distortion of the beauty of God’s kind faithfulness to be an ugly vengeful spoiled little boy, go ahead and get your popcorn and 3D glasses.
A much better time would be spent with Yule Brenner and Charlton Heston in the Ten Commandments, or simply sitting down with your family and ready the Exodus account from the primary source. There you will encounter the real Moses and the real God, two friends, who saved the Israelites and thus give hope to all who hear the story of how God saves us from slavery and death.
I ended up apologizing to the Lord Jesus for wasting 150 minutes of his time in my life. Worst of all, walking out of the theater I discovered that the third Hobbit movie was playing, which has much better themes of fidelity, friendship, honor, bravery, hope, courage, humility, littleness, conversion, mercy, and would have been a much better use of that time. We live and learn.