A Review: “Exodus: Gods & Kings”

exodusToday, I saw the most recent movie depicting the Biblical account of the Exodus.  The best and most concise summary I could give is that the movie truly was an “Exodus,” but it was an “exodus” from God’s word.

I never cease to be amazed at the liberties taken with reference to the Bible.  No other piece of literature would be treated in the same way.  The changes are needless, and offensive to the very people for which the movie is made.

This movie is no exception.  I’ll share just a few of the deviations from the Biblical text to give you a sampling of how loosely the movie is based on the Bible.

  1. In the movie, no one spoke to Moses out of a burning bush. Instead, a little boy representing God or a messenger from God stood near the burning bush and spoke to Moses.
  2. In the movie, Moses did not kill an Egyptian whom he saw beating an Israelite slave.  Instead, Moses killed an Egyptian who questioned him while walking through the town one evening.
  3. In the movie, instead of crossing the Red Sea on dry ground as the Bible teaches, Moses led the Israelites through waist-deep water at times, and at other times through muck and mud.
  4. In the movie, not only did the wall of water fall on the Egyptians, drowning them, but it also fell on Moses, but he was able to swim to shore.
  5. The Bible records that God wrote the Ten Commandments with his “finger.” but the movie showed Moses chiseling out the Ten Commandments on the tablets of stone.

These are just some of the unnecessary changes to the biblical account, so once again, I’m left asking the question, “Why?”  Why change the biblical, historical record?  Would anyone make a movie about Pearl Harbor and have the Japanese bombs miss the U.S.S. Arizona?  Would anyone make a movie about Abraham Lincoln but instead of being shot, they have Lincoln being poisoned?  Such trifling would be unacceptable.  Even if one did not see the Bible as historical, but merely a classic piece of literature, would they treat other great pieces of literature like they do the Bible?  Would anyone dare tamper with Shakespeare by moving Romeo and Juliet’s balcony scene to a café instead?  Would anyone edit Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea” in such a way as to have the old man hunting a giant squid? Of course not.

But when it comes to the Bible, it just doesn’t seem to have any respect of movie makers as an historical record or as a classic piece of literature. So for me, rather than being captivated with a reenactment of an amazing working of God, I feel insulted by the lack of respect the movie demonstrates for the word of God.

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Comments 8

  • I pray that Christians do not give their $$ to the makers of this junk

  • No references about Moses of his staff, amazing that he did carry a sword though.

  • If you go to see a Hollywood movie hoping that it is going to teach you some Biblical truth you will, almost every time, come away from that disappointed. In this movie, which i have not seen, they are taking a fascinating story from the Bible and putting the Hollywood spin on it. And the Bible is not the only book that they take those liberties with. Even movies that are based on true events that occurred in our recent history will twist the stories at times to make it more appealing to the movie goer.

    If we are going to get upset about a movie, lets get upset at the ones that show women being treated as sexual accessories. Or get upset about movies that portray blatantly sinful lifestyles as being fun and cool. Or how about the ones whose underlying message teaches that you can do whatever you want and there will be no consequences. Free drugs, free sex and no moral boundaries – those are the movies that concern me.

  • David, I appreciate your abhorrence of movies that you said treat women as sexual accessories, promote free drugs, free sex, and no moral boundaries. But let me add a couple comments.

    1. It’s not an “either/or” proposition here. Can I agree with you in my abhorrence of the kind of movies you listed but ALSO abhor movies that pervert the Word of God?

    2. You seem to suggest that I shouldn’t be surprised or upset because Hollywood messed up a movie based on the Bible. If that’s a fair critique of my disappointment, then wouldn’t it work for you too? Might someone say to you, why would you be upset at Hollywood for making a movie that exploits women, drugs, and sex? They seem to be pretty good at doing that too.

    So while I appreciate your opposition to movies that exploit women, sex, and drugs, I don’t think anything you said offers a valid criticism of what I wrote.

  • I know the story of Moses. Hollywood is entertainment and all of it is base. Some do go to movies thinking they will learn some bible. That is a mistake. I’ll go see the movie but I will not get angry. I know better.

  • Sadly Hollywood isn’t the only entity that perverts the Word of God in order to suit its needs. Sadly its the most influential.

  • Dan, you said you’ll go to the movie and not get angry over their perversions of the Bible, and I guess this is where we differ. I get angry anytime the word of God is perverted, even when I suspect that it will occur.

  • Thanks for your thoughts, Steve. I agree completely. I went to see it last night and was also puzzled with the way Ridley Scott handled the biblical text. Even assuming that he doesn’t believe that the Bible’s account of the Exodus is historically accurate — which he doesn’t, of course — doesn’t the Bible deserve some measure of respect simply because of its connection to two significant faith traditions (Judaism and Christianity)? The way the movie minimized God’s role was troubling, though not surprising. God’s voice was never heard, unless the little boy’s confusing messages count, and the movie seems to hint that maybe Moses was imagining that anyway. God’s absence in movies like this is intentional, I’m sure, and it probably serves as some kind of metaphor for what the director wanted to communicate: God–if there is a God–does not communicate with humanity or intervene in our affairs. We create the stories that serve as the foundations of our faith.

    Al Mohler’s review is also well-done — http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/12/15/moses-without-the-supernatural-ridley-scotts-moses-gods-and-kings/?utm_source=feedly&utm_reader=feedly&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=moses-without-the-supernatural-ridley-scotts-moses-gods-and-kings

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