16 December 2014


This is probably the only movie review that will come right out and say that the much maligned Ridley Scott epic Exodus: Gods and Kings is a much better movie than the generally praised The Hobbit.
Frankly, Exodus is simply more beautiful and finely made than The Hobbit, which feels for the most part like a glorified wuxia movie with too big a budget. You half expect to see Dato Michelle Yeoh leap out out from the cave looking gnarled and bloodied to battle an Orc played by Donnie Yen. (Of course Donnie Yen will die first; As you know Ms Yeoh has survived a disastrous string of flops and will outlive anything.)
Exodus promised to be a stunning epic, and delivers. The CGI and art direction are lushly beautiful in an Old Master way, at once stunning and considered, whereas in The Hobbit, it looks like CGI, at once too real and not real enough - you're never not aware that the actors are wearing a tonne of hair, makeup and polyester (for instance, you're never not aware that Gandolf is wearing a pointy hat made of that Christmas stocking felt - it's too real and not real because that Christmas stocking felt simply looks too NEW), or that the lumbering monsters are created by an army of artists clicking feverishly on a computer. The CGI monsters are summoned up for no reason, felled by any stray pebble hurled by a Hobbit, or elbowed by a Dwarf. They never feel menacing, just numerous.
I will never quibble with the casting of Christian Bale - in anything - even if he isn't his very best in Exodus, Bale is still always strangely watchable. I have no preconceived notions of what Moses should be like, and I reckon if there was a Moses, he would be heroic, human and conflicted, as portrayed by Bale. I also think that portraying the Old Testament God as a willful child is poetic and appropriate. 

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