Given Tinseltown’s track record, Exodus: Gods and Kings has little chance of being a faithful retelling of the biblical account.
The next Bible-themed Hollywood blockbuster is scheduled to come out in December. That’s when famed director Ridley Scott will release his film on Moses. Exodus: Gods and Kings will star popular actor Christian Bale, known for his role in the Batman films.
This film comes on the heels of the controversial movie Noah, which received a mixed reaction (both inside and outside the church) last spring. An Episcopal priest who reviewed Exodus: Gods and Kings declared that the Moses film will be respectful of Christians,1 but at press time, little had been released about the film’s content to give an idea of its biblical fidelity.
What has been revealed is Bale’s acknowledgement that his film is “a far cry from what Charlton Heston and Cecil B. DeMille delivered 60 years ago” with The Ten Commandments. That observation could be troubling because the 1956 film was largely true to the text of Exodus. Certainly troubling is Bale’s admission that the movie depicts Exodus with “violence in the extreme,” adding that “there’s a lot of shocking stuff”2 that director Scott has inserted.
Christians tend to be so flattered when Hollywood takes notice of themes from the Bible that they sometimes uncritically accept serious misrepresentations and distortions of the truth, as many did with Noah earlier this year. While Hollywood occasionally gives respect to Bible accounts, as with the 1998 animated film about Moses, Prince of Egypt, more often producers give Scripture no more consideration than they would a work of fiction, to be distorted at will for the story they want to tell. Given Tinseltown’s track record, Exodus: Gods and Kings has little chance of being a faithful retelling of the biblical account.
For the moment, people who want a Bible-honoring treatment of Moses would do well to visit a different kind of theater, the Sight and Sound auditorium in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where they can enjoy its well-produced musical drama, Moses. Or read the original historical account, recorded in the book of Exodus, whose faithful, flawless, and graphic words can’t be matched.