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Whenever a religious movie is made, especially based on the bible, and especially on the Old Testament, believers face a dilemma. They want to go to support it, but at the same time, we’ve been cultured, and rightly so in most cases, to think of a movie as fictitious and a form of escapism. Even with biographies and historical movies, we know that there are actors, and that the movie doesn’t always follow all the facts. So when Hollywood takes a story from the bible and adds their special effects, they often portray it, wittingly or not, as more akin to The Hobbit than Lincoln. In fact, these depictions, especially coming from a mostly anti-religious Hollywood, may do more to shake the faith of believers than build it. Sometimes they even come across as patronizing, as in, “We’ll make this movie for you, even as we show you how unrealistic this bible fable is.”

When telling the story of something that happened at least 3500 years ago, based on a few pages from one of the books of the bible, you just don’t have the details to know exactly what happened. This movie attempts to differentiate itself from ‘The Ten Commandments’ and ‘The Prince of Egypt’ by making the plagues and crossing of the Red Sea more scientifically based. And for all we know, it did happen in that way. But like I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t attempt to build up the faith of those watching, as it portrays Moses as possibly delusional and snarky toward God, who is portrayed as a little boy (supposedly for innocence and purity, but he doesn’t come off that way. Instead, God comes off as a mean little bully, motivated more by revenge than love, a point that exacerbates instead of reconciles the apparent conflict between the Old Testament God of wrath and the New Testament God of love). Also, Christian Bale, despite supposedly having studied up on historical Moses, misses some important clues from the book of Exodus, namely that Moses needed his brother Aaron as a spokesman because he felt he couldn’t speak up himself.

So for a believer, there are some major issues, just like in the movie Noah, although maybe not so overt or hard to overcome. As for the movie quality itself, the effects are good, they do try to make Moses human and to grow through the movie (although maybe a little overdone on that part, as Hollywood apparently can’t stand anyone who isn’t as cynical as itself), and it doesn’t feel too long, although there are parts that drag. It was also devoid of humor and Moses wasn’t all that likable. It was, for me, an average movie that won’t overtake its predecessors, especially Ten Commandments, and will be forgotten faster than Noah, which, if nothing else, managed to stir up controversy as a marketing tool. This movie’s subversion of religion is too subtle and played a bit too safely for a Hollywood success, while straying too far from the established Ten Commandments pattern to make it a religious success.

All in all, I give it a “Meh.”

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read this because of all the hype surrounding the movie. Haven’t seen the movie, probably won’t.
I liked the book. I did. But it wasn’t the tear jerking, profoundly life changing book people promote it as. At least, not for me. No tears.
What I liked about the book: Smart writing, fast reading that sucked you in, and a better understanding of some of the lesser known issues a person, especially a teen, faces when dying of cancer, like the unrealistic pressure to endure it like a saint.
What I didn’t like about this book: The dialogue, while using interesting metaphors, did not sound like it come out of any human’s mouth, let alone a cancer struck teenage girl or boy. How long did John Green take to come up with the dialogue vs the seconds in a real conversation that someone has to think about what they are saying. It was also pretentious, with the kids so much smarter than their parents, or even the author they’d come to cherish and hate. And then the love story…well, it didn’t feel real, either. Like, love-at-first-sight-mixed-with-Twilight-creepy-person-staring-at-you. The only obstacle their romance, aside from the whole cancer thing, was Hazel’s Peter Parker angst (“I don’t want the ones closest to me getting hurt”). While their love story was pretty, it didn’t really click with reality.
A good read, but not a life changing one, at least not for me.

View all my reviews

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