Don’t go see the movie Exodus: Gods and Kings—and here’s why.
I typically encourage people to support the trend of faith-based themes in mainstream cinema (see list below), but I don’t like where Hollywood is taking this. They seem to be eager to create religious-based movies, because people will turn out in droves to see positive, values-based media. But when they put their agnostic (or even atheistic) spin on the Biblical stories, I think they are doing more harm than good.
Back in April, I advised against seeing the movie Noah. It looks like the movie Exodus: Gods and Kings is more of the same.
My objection to the movie isn’t about the technical aspects of fidelity to the Biblical text, but, as one blogger explained, the broader “subversion of Judeo-Christian heroes and their stories with a secular agenda.” I believe we need to send a clear message to Hollywood that we won’t support Bible movies told through the skewed perspectives of secular humanism, atheism, or agnosticism.
Can you expect an inspiring movie about Bible stories from a director who is an atheist and a lead actor who thinks Moses was schizophrenic?
- Director Ridley Scott said: “I’m an atheist, which is actually good, because I’ve got to convince myself the story works.”
- In describing Moses, Christian Bale said, “I think the man was likely schizophrenic and was one of the most barbaric individuals that I ever read about in my life. He’s a very troubled and tumultuous man who fought greatly against God, against his calling.”
Excerpts from the Deseret News review:
- “If Noah and Son of God represent the extremes on 2014’s spectrum of faithful biblical adaptation, then Exodus: Gods and Kings splits the difference.”
- “Often it feels like the director is acknowledging the existence of God while resenting him at the same time. Certain events are explained with natural phenomena, while others — most notably the killing of the firstborn — are presented without context. You can almost see Scott throwing up his hands and saying, ‘Well, you got me on this one.'”
- “The best way to approach Exodus may be with measured expectations. It’s fun and exciting, but not mind-blowing. Critical, but faithful. The children of Israel still make it from Point A to Point B, but the road has been repaved in places.”
Excerpts from Godawa’s Movie Blog:
- “The story of Moses retold through the eyes of secular humanists, atheists and agnostics.”
- “The problem is that Bale’s Moses never really emotionally connects with anyone, not even God. But then, God isn’t very engaging either. And maybe this is where it starts to feel off. There is a lot of intimate and engaging relationship between Moses and Yahweh in the Bible, but in this story, Moses doesn’t talk much to God and he never seems to know if he is in fact talking to God, since he alone can see him. And God appears as a temperamental ten year old child.”
The film is rated PG-13 for considerable action violence and gore.
So, here’s my recommendation: in the 2.5 hours you would have spent at the movie, read and discuss the following with your family and you’ll be much more inspired:
- Read the article “Moses: Deliverer and Law Giver,” Ensign, April 2006.
- Read the article “The Mission of Moses: Out of Bondage,” Ensign, Oct 1973.
- Read scriptural accounts of Moses listed in the Bible Dictionary and Guide to the Scriptures.
- Read commentary about these scriptures in the Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide and the Old Testament Institute Student Manual.
- Watch the video “I Am a Son of God.” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland narrates a depiction of the story of Moses (6:30).
- Use some of these children’s resources to learn about Moses.
Recent Christian-themed movies:
- Son of God epic movie about the life of Jesus Christ (February 2014)
- Noah retells the story of the great flood. (March 2014)
- God’s Not Dead is about a faithful college student who defends his belief against an atheistic professor. (March 2014)
- Heaven Is for Real chronicles a 7-year-old’s recollection of being in heaven. (April 2014)
- Left Behind is the story of a group of survivors left behind after millions of people suddenly vanish and the world is plunged into chaos and destruction. (June 2014)
- A Matter of Faith is about a Christian girl who goes to college and is influenced by a professor who teaches that evolution is the answer to the origins of life. (September 2014)
- Meet the Mormons (October 2014)
- Exodus is the story of Moses leading the children of Israel from Egypt. (December 2014)
- Unbroken recounts the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louie Zamperini whose plane was shot down in WWII, survived in a raft for 47 days, and then was abused in a prisoner-of-war camp for years.
- Mary, Mother of Christ is the story of Mary from her youth to her struggles as a young mother caring for her child Jesus. (1st quarter 2015)
- “Is ‘Exodus’ more interested in turning a profit or depicting a prophet?”