Exodus: Gods and Kings [IMAX/3D]
2 words to describe this movie: Epic. Spectacle.
Ridley Scott is a masterful storyteller - Prometheus, for all its plot holes and heightened expectations, had a great story to tell - and he knows how to direct big set pieces without getting too complicated. Together with cinematographer Dariusz Wolski - gorgeous wide-angle lensing - and composer Alberto Inglesias - epic, awe-inspiring score - this is a visual and auditory spectacle that is worth to be seen and heard in an IMAX theatre. The 3D, however, not very much so.
Pacing-wise, the movie did slowed down a bit too much towards the end of the first act, and, as gorgeous as they were visually, the plagues dragged on too. For most audience, they would be familiar with the plagues, but if you were going to add internal conflict for your protagonist, then you better be willing to explore it more. Especially since, ironically or not, or purposely or not, Moses felt like a terrorist at one point. That angle should have been explored more by Scott and the four writers involved.
A lot like Noah, there was no outright theophany of God, but unlike Aronofsky, Scott did try to establish a more realistic and probable cause for many of the events - yes, even for the parting of the red sea. However, the choice to use a child actor - or this particular actor - to suggest His presence may not have been wise especially given the dialogue the child had to utter.
Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton led the cast and both were stellar in their roles.
Edgerton infused Ramesses with a sense of humanity and brought out a sympathetic angle in a potentially one-dimensional figure.
Bale - as per his usual flair - morphed himself both physically and inwardly to portray a reluctant hero and eventual believer. But surprisingly, it was his relationship with Maria Valverde's Zipporah that felt the most authentic and provided the real emotional core of the movie.
Wolski cinematography was outstanding throughout. The amazing use of wide-angle lens to capture the epic-ness of Scott's imagination made the trip to the IMAX worth it. From the first 10 minutes on, the beauty of Wolski's eye is undeniable. But, the 3D really did nothing to enhance the entertainment - not even for the special effects.
Inglesias' score was able to match Scott;s vision and brought out the awe within the audience. In particular, during the "Parting of the Red Scene" scene, those horns and bass really drove it in. All we lacked was Whitney and Mariah from Prince of Egypt.
Tony Scott would have been proud of this.