In theaters around the country just in time for Christmas: a movie on the Jewish redemption from Egypt.
The trailer for Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings just dropped. Starring Christian Bale, it will be one of the last Biblically-themed Hollywood productions in a year so filled with them the movie industry is calling 2014 “the year of the Bible.”
But like Noah, the year’s other big Bible movie, the trailer signals that Exodus will deviate a bit from its ur text. Then again, if Scott takes liberties with the Torah, he’ll be only the latest in a long line of directors to do so. An American blockbuster must appeal to a wider, and an altogether different, audience than a rabbi mining a parsha for Shabbat sermon material.
Of course, there’s a lot of crossover. Exodus doesn’t neglect to hit the highs of the story that translate most naturally to the big screen, like the plagues and the splitting of the sea.
But this Moses doesn’t stutter, and while Moses’ relationship with Ramses, his Egyptian adopted brother, seems to be a major theme, Aaron is nowhere to be found in the preview. The Hebrew Bible doesn’t flesh out the character of Moses’ wife, Tzipporah, but you know Bale’s prophet has a lovely love interest, complete with facial henna tattoos. Very exotic.
There’s also likely to be some cinematic treats for this country’s strongly Christian moviegoers; in the trailer, baby Moses is introduced with references to the Jesus story, as the son and “savior” who is the answer to God’s prophecy.
This past March, Darren Aronofsky’s blockbuster Noah received a similar critique for its exaggeration of supernatural effects and neglecting to include the voice of God.