(JTA) — The first trailer for Ridley Scott’s upcoming take on Exodus is out, and JTA is here to obsessively parse its 97 seconds so you don’t have to.
With “Exodus: Gods and Kings” following closely on the heels of Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah,” we appear to be experiencing at least a mild renaissance of biblical epics — and by epics, do we ever mean epics. Unless the trailer for “Exodus: Gods and Kings” is wildly misleading, Scott seems to have gone hard in the swords-and-sandals direction, with a major emphasis on spectacle.
The core of the movie, penned by “Schindler’s List” scribe Steve Zaillian, seems to be rooted in a fraternal love-hate relationship between Moses (Christian Bale) and the Pharaoh, Ramses (Joel Edgerton), with the Almighty (oodles of CGI) serving as tiebreaker.
While the expected 10 plagues appear to be intact, the trailer also suggests that the movie takes more than a few liberties with the story from the Torah. Pyramids seem to make frequent appearances (in the biblical original, the Israelites build brick storehouses), any preexisting relationship between Moses and Pharaoh is speculatively based on the Bible’s riverside adoption of Moses by (the previous?) Pharoah’s daughter (and Moses’ obvious mastery of court politics), and the identification of the Pharaoh as Ramses is historical guesswork. All of which is fine.
What’s more disheartening is that the trailer just isn’t all that tempting. There’s not much sign of the visual wit of Scott’s “Alien” or “Blade Runner,” or the intimacy of “Thelma and Louise.” Mostly, it just seems epically, well, big. (And it doesn’t help that the title makes the whole thing sound like a video game.)
But hey, it’s just a trailer. Perhaps, when the movie comes out this December, we’ll discover that Scott still has a few more miracles up his sleeve.