My Thoughts on the Exodus Movie

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.



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8 Responses to My Thoughts on the Exodus Movie

  1. Ed Williamson says:

    Thank you for these comments brother! I went to see the movie as well and thought it was extremely well done (not Biblically inerrant, but a very entertaining movie). I also hope that Christians will go see this and talk with their friends. We cannot cut ourselves off from society and expect them to listen to us about Jesus. We must remain engaged with the culture and be relevant! God bless your ministry!

  2. Lynn says:

    Yes, Mark you hit on all the things I complained about, except for Moses teaching them to fight.
    I agee with you.
    My concern is for the doubters that will grab on to those descrepancies, or the liberals claiming God was just a man , alligators turned the Nile red with blood, not God, etc etc etc.
    The film was amazing and the special affects great!
    It is a must see for everyone.

    • Mark says:

      Lynn, I share your concerns. But accusations against God and his miracles have been around for thousands of years. Skeptics were making them long before this movie was made and will continue long after it is forgotten.

  3. Bob malkemes says:

    Mark- you are refreshing– love the way you balanced that out

  4. Lisa M. Peto says:

    Wow, thanks for your insight. I grew up watching the old Cecil B DeMill version of The Ten Commandments and have always loved it for the power and spectacle though the Biblical inaccuracies abound. When I saw that this moving was coming out I was instantly intrigued. As overwhelmingly disappointed as I was with Noah, there is always the hope that Hollywood will do right by the Bible. I have had many Christians say that I shouldn’t waste my money or time because the Director is an atheist, and that Christian Bale is not basing his portrayal on Biblical accounts of Moses. They explained that by spending time or money on such an inaccurate film I am promoting heresy. At first this made me doubt. Then the other evening I watched Lifetime Movie Networks movie The Red Tent about Dinah. I was saddened by the creative license taken and found myself criticizing each scene. However, as the movie finished and I found myself deep in the Word comparing notes, I realized that this was a story I never really thought very much about and would not have gone back and read through had it not been put before me. Your blog today about Exodus leaves me with the same thought. Could these movies of Hollywood with all their inconsistencies not be used to force us to examine what we know and believe as well as talking points with unbelievers? I think they can. I plan on seeing Exodus in the theaters and I plan on spending much more time saturating myself in Gods truth both before and after.

  5. Kevin says:

    I have not seen this movie yet but I have anticipated it much more than the recent Noah movie (which I still have not seen).

    Some of the reviews I have read concerning Exodus, Gods and Kings have been quite harsh. The comment that stuck with me the most was concerning the representation of God as a young boy. The comment implied that it wasn’t just the strange decision to portray God like that but also how that depiction further alluded to God being akin to, “a nine-year old brat.” Another review suggested that in this movie, God is the bad guy. They reinforced that view with comments from interviews with Christian Bale and the director who both used the word, “terrorist,” in reference to Moses.

    That disturbed me quite a bit. I would not want to spend money on a movie which twists a well-known Bible story to subtly imply and endorse a belief that God is bad.

    I wholeheartedly agree that we cannot turn a blind-eye to these “biblical” movies being made. And they certainly can and should be used for starting points in deeper faith conversations. I’m just really disappointed that the producers felt that such an epic true story from the Bible needed these bizarre fictional embellishments. A simple retelling of the story updated with modern special effects would have been great!

    I’ve gone back-and-forth on whether or not I will see the movie. Your review is one of the more favorable, so maybe I will spend the money and check it out. I’ll take my 15 year old son and then we can talk it over and evaluate it in comparison to the Bible.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Mark says:

      Kevin, if you choose not to see the movie, that’s perfectly fine. But don’t let other people do your thinking for you. The God-as-a-bad-guy narrative never crossed my mind. Nor did the Moses as terrorist idea. Sometimes I think both believers and unbelievers overreact to movies like this. It’s a movie made by a secularist about a Bible character. In a few weeks it’ll be largely forgotten. It’s not going to change the world one way or the other. But for now it might spark some opportunities for conversations about our great God.

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