January 6, 2015



  1. . . . That would be the prophet and religious leader, also referred to as Moishe (1391-1271 BCE), portrayed by Christian Bale in “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” a biblical film directed by Ridley Scott. Bale is an Egyptian (more on this later) pharaoh, and his stepbrother (played by Joel Edgerton) is one too. He is mostly called Ramses but sometimes he’s referred to as Ramesses.
  2. . . . They both have nicknames.
  3. . . . POINT OF INFORMATION. Ramses here is not to be confused with the once popular condom brand.
  4. . . . I saw the movie in 3D but it’s also in 2D, which, I guess, is the regular format which doesn’t break the bank. (NOTE: I could be wrong on this.)
  5. . . . BCE, by the way, stands for “Before the Common/Current/Christian Era,” an alternative to “Before Christ, or BC,” a term which we’ve all come to know.
  6. . . . BCE reminds me of root beer.
  7. . . . And of course, AD stands for Anno Domino – er … I mean Domini, which is translated as “in the year of the Lord” or “in the year of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” But they don’t use that in this film.
  8. . . . “Exodus” refers to the journey of escape from Egypt of the Hebrew slaves who have been under persecution and the harsh reign of the pharoahs for over 400 years.
  9. . . . The slaves have built the cities and monuments of Egypt. (Some of this is debated in real life, especially whether the Hebrews built the pyramids.)
  10. . . . (“We Built This City” – by Starship,


    , on Grunt Records.)
  11. . . . Moses is on his way to see Viceroy Hegep who oversees the slaves in the city.
  12. . . . While walking Moses sees a slave being whipped mercilessly. The sight of it horrifies him.
  13. . . . Moses also meets with a tribe of Hebrews led by Nun (Ben Kingsley) and learns that he himself is Hebrew, and was sent to Egypt as a baby long ago.
  14. . . . Word leaks out.
  15. . . . Ramses hears of this and sends Moses into exile.
  16. . . . Nine years pass. Ramses has a son and so does Moses.
  17. . . . Sibling rivalry mounts and armies go to war.
  18. . . . The movie is a 20th Century Fox release.
  19. . . . I thought the name of that company was now known as 21st Century Fox but maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, which is often the case.
  20. . . . The story starts in a place called Memphis – not the same city of Elvis Presley fame (“Graceland”).
  21. . . . Most of the main characters – men and women – wear very heavy eyeliner and it is especially pronounced on John Turturro who plays Seti, an Egyptian pharaoh and big man in charge.
  22. . . . His eyebrows are heavily painted too but the makeup doesn’t detract from his performance. He’s pretty good.
  23. . . . Bale doesn’t wear much of it, subtle. He’s a much more down-to-earth type of guy.
  24. . . . Early on Bale’s hair has a much too contemporary look, sort of a la Hair Cuttery: short, sorta parted -- not long and scraggly until later in the tale.
  25. . . . Sigourney Weaver is in it and plays Queen Tuya, wife of Seti. She doesn’t have much of a part in the film but cleans up pretty well in Egyptian garb and the makeup department.
  26. . . . Often, when there’s gloom and doom, there is a chorus that sounds like voices from hell that enhance danger and trouble, like in “The Omen,” when something happens that the devil is up to.
  27. . . . War breaks out
  28. . . . When the opposing forces meet (the Egyptians and the Hebrews) the horses gallop; chariots charge; arrows fly. It’s amazingly filmed to the hilt -- a real battle with close-up shots, wide shots, panoramic shots -- edited, edited, edited to make the battle exciting. Ridley Scott can really make an action flick.
  29. . . . It’s hard to tell the CGI-ness (special effects) in the film, at least by my amateur eye.
  30. . . . They call these kinds of films “sword-and-sandals” movies and Bale does wear his leather sandals – not flip-flops.
  31. . . . Bale goes in and out of character with his voice. Sometimes he sounds British and sometimes he sounds American. But, to give him credit, accents in the film are all over the place anyway.
  32. . . . Bale’s wardrobe consists (at times) of peasant garb, sorta tunic-ish and burlap-ish, cinched in with a belt. I’d say he looks like he has a 32” waist, which is good for a man his age (40).
  33. . . . Moses tells the Hebrews to slaughter a lamb and cover their doors with blood. The first-born child in each Egyptian home that is not marked with blood will die, including the son of Ramses.
  34. . . . This happens and Ramses tells Moses to get the h_ _ _ out of Dodge with the Hebrews.
  35. . . . I noticed that Moses and Ramses both chewed gum (?) from time to time. They didn’t have Wrigley’s back then so it must’ve been something else, like maybe a Slim Jim facsimile.
  36. . . . Moses’s mom, who calls him Moishe, reveals that when he was a baby, in order to save his life from the oncoming Egyptians, she put him in a basket and sent him down the Nile and he grew up as part of the Egyptian royal family even though he was an Israelite.
  37. . . . Mistaken identity.
  38. . . . Sphinxes and statues and pyramids are all over the place. You see scaffolding up around monuments that are being constructed, just like they do in any modern-day city today, which gets on most peoples’ nerves.
  39. . . . Slaves haul rocks and boulders. It’s backbreaking work.
  40. . . . One of the statues looks like Frankenstein, with big clod-hopper feet.
  41. . . . Moses carries a staff now and seems weary of his travels.
  42. . . . To back up a bit, Ramses and Moses were each given a gold-plated sword which later serves as a symbolic plot mechanism in the film.
  43. . . . Moses marries Zipporah, a daughter of a shepherd who was a priest of Midian, an area in the Arabian peninsula near the Red Sea.
  44. . . . She is beautiful and has henna (dye) markings (Mehndi) on her face, which are attractive. Much more than Madonna used to have on her body occasionally.
  45. . . . Moses seems to get dirtier and scruffier and his beard longer every day along his journey.
  46. . . . He carries a staff now and seems weary of the trip he’s on.
  47. . . . (“Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”)
  48. . . . It starts raining and a rockslide comes down the mountain. (The sound effects are good. I had to look around the theater. I guess Dolby was doing its job.)
  49. . . . Moses gets buried in the mud with nothing but his head sticking out. It looks like he’s taking his last breath before sinking deeper in the quicksand.
  50. . . . (“Quicksand”Martha & The Vandellas, 1963, on Gordy (Motown) Records.)
  51. . . . Then he sees a burning bush (illumination, sacred light, purity) and a child (Malak) dressed like a shepherd standing nearby.
  52. . . . He is a messenger of God.
  53. . . . The boy stacks up some stones, which are symbolic of the pyramids, which is a message of what Moses must do.
  54. . . . When Moses asks the boy who he is he says, “I am.”
  55. . . . (“I’m Henry the VIII I Am, Henry the VIII I am, I am” -- Herman’s Hermits, 1965, on MGM Records.)
  56. . . . The attack is on between the Egyptians and the Israelites.
  57. . . . Moses hides in plain sight in Egypt, often with a white linen shawl over his head.
  58. . . . How he could not have been spotted and identified I do not know.
  59. . . . God has put a plague upon the land. The hell voices swell up.
  60. . . . The town burns.
  61. . . . The Ten Plagues begin to rattle off.
  62. . . . Alligators upend a ship full of fishermen and start gnawing and gnashing up everything.
  63. . . . Egyptians fall into the hungry jaws of the ravenous crocodilians. Men are gobbled up and the water turns red with blood.
  64. . . . Pestilence is beginning to happen.
  65. . . . All the fish and other water-borne creatures are floating in the water, bloody and dead.
  66. . . . All the water in the city becomes red and undrinkable.
  67. . . . Frogs infest the city and climb up the stairs of the royal palace.
  68. . . . Ramses’s wife wakes up with frogs in the bed, crawling up the sheets and onto her body. (Good CGI.)
  69. . . . She screams and runs.
  70. . . . Lice fly all over the land and Ramses and his fellow Egyptians get welts, bumps and scars all over their bodies.
  71. . . . Ramses and his entourage have to wear veils to keep them away.
  72. . . . Moses implores Ramses to” let his people go.”
  73. . . . The answer is no.
  74. . . . Livestock cough up blood and die in the streets.
  75. . . . Locusts come a-swarming.
  76. . . . Rocks and hail rain down.
  77. . . . Darkness comes. Bale is really starting to look like Charlton Heston, but not as dramatic.
  78. . . . Moses maps out a route on papyrus -- not a computer -- (They didn’t have them in those days.) for the exodus from the city.
  79. . . . The white horses of Ramses’s army look beautiful galloping toward the Red Sea and the fleeing Hebrews.
  80. . . . There’s no way out until . . .
  81. . . . Moses first throws his hefty gold sword into the sea and you see it going down, down, down in slow motion.
  82. . . . Then sea begins to recede – it doesn’t part like in Cecil B. DeMille’s (director) version.
  83. . . . The waves lessen and move horizontally to the shore.
  84. . . . The water becomes shallow.
  85. . . . Then the sword sticks up out of the sea.
  86. . . . Moses grabs it.
  87. . . . The way is set for the Hebrews to cross over and they do. They’re on their way to The Promised Land.
  88. . . . Meanwhile the sea is coming back, looming in a massive wall of water that’s making its way back to the way nature planned it.
  89. . . . It looks like the tsunami that happened in Aceh, Indonesia.
  90. . . . It’s time to get the hell outta there. (I know, I shouldn’t cuss while telling a biblical story.)
  91. . . . In the meantime Ramses still pursues Moses and is galloping toward the water but time is running out.
  92. . . . The tide crashes down and hits Moses and Ramses but somehow they each survive. Ramses is left alone with his dead soldiers.
  93. . . . Later on, the little boy appears while Moses is chiseling The Ten Commandments in stone with some kind of stylus (not a Bic pen).
  94. . . . Malak (little boy) tells Moses that if he truly believes in what he’s writing, that he should continue.
  95. . . . Cut to a shot of a long, gray-bearded Moses holding the Commandments, riding in what looks like a covered wagon.
  96. . . . (“Westward Ho the Wagons!” – Music from the motion picture of the same name by a studio chorus, 1956, on Walt Disney Records.)
  97. . . . He plays peek-a-boo and pulls back the cover on the side of the wagon and sees the little boy walking with Moses’s followers.
  98. . . . They look at each other and then the boy seems to disappear in the crowd as the people move through Mount Sinai.
  99. . . . Back on the wagon – he never fell off -- Moses has an expression of contentment on his face.
  100. . . . UH . . . “Go Down, Moses”Paul Robeson, 1930, originally on Decca Records and available since 2008 on EMI Classics Records.



© Rocci Fisch/Random Thoughts

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