By Eoin Molloy
Ridley Scott has been known to stray in and out of the historical biopic genre.
He seems to make one about every five years. In the year 2000, Gladiator was widely-lauded by both critics and audiences, earning Scott a best picture award.
2005’s Kingdom of Heaven (a crusader-themed swords-and-sandals epic) flopped hard with critics but had a decent run out at the box office.
In 2010, he turned his attentions to Nottingham-based myth, Robin Hood. This film received marginally better reviews from critics, but it was still far behind Gladiator.
The year is now 2014 and Scott has decided to interpret Moses’s story in Exodus: Gods and Kings.
Scheduled for release on Christmas day, and boasting an Oscar-winning cast including Ben Kingsley and John Torturro in supporting roles, Exodus looks as though it may well be a return-to-form for one of modern film’s most enduring directors.
The trailer opens with Coldplay’s ethereal song, Darkness, showing a line of Hebrew slaves seemingly being lead out of Egypt by Moses. The effects look as good as anything modern cinema has produced thus far.
Next up we see lily-white Moses, Christian Bale (who is rocking some eye-liner) giving a fist pump salute reminiscent of that of Maximus in Gladiator. The set-up of this film seems to be quite similar to Gladiator, with Moses leading an oppressed group of underdogs against a monolithic and cruel power.
We are then treated to a CGI rendition of Ancient Egypt which is actually quite beautiful. Surprisingly, serious Ancient Egyptian tales are vastly under-represented in Hollywood (I’m not counting The Mummy for obvious reasons), and it’s quite refreshing to see the Nile crescent in all its glory on screen.
The next three images show plagues being unleashed upon Egypt by God. Dark clouds ominously gathering, the Nile running red and locusts running rampant across Egypt. I assume everyone is aware of the Biblical plagues story, so I won’t delve too deep into that. Again, the visuals look absolutely outstanding.
Holy shit it’s Jesse Pinkman! Does anyone know the Hebrew for ‘bitch’?
The next screen-grab shows Pharaoh Rameses chasing the slaves as they attempt to escape Egypt. Looks like the film will be as action-packed as Gladiator, with epic chase and battle scenes. Scott knows how to utilise chariots for dramatic effect better than anyone else.
The final frame is the most visually-breath-taking by far. It shows the ‘parting of the seas’ as told in the Old Testament.
All we can do is sit and hope that Exodus: Gods and Kings is more of a Gladiator than a Robin Hood. Exodus will be released on Christmas Day in Ireland. Go see it!