ALMOST GREAT SCOTT

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Ridley Scott as a director isn’t what he once was. Exodus: Gods and Kings casts Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as pharaoh Ramses, retelling the biblical story of Moses leading his people out of Egypt. People have been complaining about Scott casting white actors in the film but let’s be honest, the story of Moses is no more historically accurate than the story of Marvel’s Thor so the question here is whether Scott weaves an entertaining yarn. Shot in the obligatory 3D, Exodus barrels along at a decent pace and Bale is likeable as Moses, although he slips into his cod-American accent towards the end. Edgerton is serviceable as the evil Ramses and visually Scott with the aid of the veteran production designer Arthur Max have created a very impressive looking vista and the battle scenes are well-orchestrated, which you’d expect from Scott. The film is a little too long but it is far more entertaining than Noah, the year’s other biblical epic. There’s no arguing with Scott’s visual panache and Exodus: Gods and Kings is a respectable addition to the Scott canon…

Not Going By The Book

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Bible stories strangely are having a little bit of a mini renaissance. We have Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings, starring Christian Bale, but first out of the gate is Noah, directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Russell Crowe as the flood prophet who attempts to save all of Earth’s animals when the world is flooded through man’s wickedness. Aronofsky has tinkered a little bit (alright a lot) with the bible story, adding barren daughter-in-law Ila (Emma Watson) and Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone), the venal chieftain who doesn’t consider his actions in any moral light and feels the Earth is theirs to do what they will with. It wouldn’t matter how close it was to the bible story since that’s no more credible and factual than what director Aronofsky has created here except for the fact that Noah features laughable dialogue (often delivered by Crowe), risible performances especially by the excruciatingly wooden Watson, who seems to be trying to give Keira Knightley a run for her money in the shocking performances stakes, and a tone that veers between earnest and turgid. Noah is two hours and twenty minutes and by the time you hit the last forty minutes, you are constantly checking your watch. It doesn’t help that it also has some truly wretched effects which look artificial and ungainly thanks to the pointless but inevitable 3D. There may be an interesting and thought-provoking film hiding in here somewhere but much of it feels like a 2014 remake of The Land That Time Forgot without the kitsch charm and the sense of fun. Noah is overlong, tedious and a real chore to get through. Here’s hoping that Scott’s Moses epic is a lot better…