When I learned that Exodus: God’s and Kings was coming, I launched a Bible study of the first 14 chapters of Exodus to prepare our people. I wanted them to be able to see the movie and then have intelligent conversations with their friends about what was portrayed. Some Christians pooh-pooh movies like this and indignantly vow not to go see them. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why. I believe culture is handing us a golden opportunity to engage our friends in conversations about our mighty God. So what if the movie isn’t perfectly in line with the Bible? That just gives us more talking points around the water cooler!
I went to see the movie last evening. I didn’t expect it to be flawlessly biblical, and it wasn’t. I did like it, however, and here are three reasons why.
First, it was a spectacular piece of movie-making, a flat-out feast for the eyes. I couldn’t drink in the images fast enough. The visuals were mind-blowing. Especially the plagues. Wow.
Second, the movie was clean. No bad language or sexual content. And there could have been, make no mistake. The decadence of the ruling class of ancient Egypt was extensive.
Third, the acting was good. I wasn’t sold on Christian Bale as Moses before I saw the movie, but I thought he did a fine job with the script he was given.
Now to the problems.
First, you’ve probably heard that God is portrayed as a 10-year old boy. Yikes. Talk about creative license! I doubt that any believers are going to like this. But oddly enough, it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would, especially as the movie wore on. Don’t get me wrong, I would have preferred the filmmakers have gone a different route. But there is a scene at the end of the film where I suddenly felt I understood what the filmmakers were thinking when they made that choice. I still didn’t agree with it, but I thought maybe I got what they were trying to do.
Second, there were quite a few things missing: Moses’s staff, the three miracles God empowered Moses to do, Moses’s excuses regarding his lack of eloquence, Aaron as spokesman, the pillar of cloud and fire, among others. I missed these things, though I suppose if every detail had been included the movie would have been five hours long. I did like how Joshua was portrayed in the movie. You could see his fascination with Moses that would eventually lead to an epic relationship between the two men.
Third, the plagues were mostly given natural explanations. For example, the water in the Nile turns to blood because the crocodiles start binge eating. It is noted, however, that the Egyptian “wise men” can only explain the plagues up to a point. They eventually run out of explanations. And the tenth plague, the killing of the firstborn, is clearly portrayed as supernatural.
What I loved best about the movie was that tenth plague and the Passover. Some things were fumbled in the movie, but the most important part of the story was handled well. I got choked up as the Israelites were smearing the lamb’s blood on their doorposts. When Pharaoh held his dead baby son up to Moses and said, “This is the God you serve? One that delights in killing babies?” Moses softly said, “No Hebrew children died last night.” It was a powerful moment and one that made me think about the blood of the Lamb that saves me from my sin.
If you’re looking for a perfect movie…or if you’re going to gripe and complain about every little mistake that was made in the story, stay home. Save yourself a headache. But if you’re looking for an evening of clean, spectacular entertainment, and if you’d like to be able to jump into that conversation at work and speak with the credibility of one who has actually seen the movie, go.