Saturday, 11 April 2015

Exodus: Gods and Kings & Prince of Egypt (1998)

A tale of two Moses?

Continuing from my previous religious movie review, these two stories follow the life of Moses - adapted son of the pharaoh who learns of his past, goes away for a bit and due to an encounter on a mountain returns a changed man with a mission to set all the slaves free. Obviously there are differences between the two, and I'm talking more than just one has Christian Bale and the other is a cartoon with a lot of singing. We'll look at Exodus first.

The movie opens with a bit of reading and that's never a good thing if your movie doesn't include the words "Star Wars" in the title. Bale's Moses is a skilled warrior who has no problem shanking enemies with swords when he feels like, and he feels like it often. He's also starts out as an atheist who only believes in himself. It's a little odd but hey, they wanted something new so that's fine.

Despite this he seems to be the favored "son" of the pharaoh since Ramses in this movie doesn't really understand the managerial part of his position. I should point out too that while Moses here ages it seems Ramses doesn't. Must have good genes? The time skips were also... sudden?

Warrior Moses personally sending people to hell!

Anywho, this movie tries to down play the powers and plagues (apart from the last one) in an attempt to make things more plausible rather than miraculous. The 3D effects of these are awesome, but they do make Moses look like a bit of a crazy chump on the sidelines and not actively doing anything.

In the Prince of Egypt, Moses is a scoundrel and trouble maker but that doesn't stop him from being good friends with his step brother, Ramses. He does kill someone too but it really shatters him entirely (unlike Bale's more ruthless counterpart). He also sticks to the staff wielding version which basically makes him the main conduit for everything to flow through. It's good to see that the Egyptian priests also had powers from their own gods to show off too, but more or less everything goes exactly as you'd expect which is surprising given the amount of death.

Wizard Moses ponders if he should attack the darkness, or summon it.

Art wise, Dreamworks did a good job here and all the character animation is fantastic. The part that involves the hieroglyph dream is pretty awesome too. What isn't so good is the music. Apart from the first song and the last (female duet) the ones in the middle are all various degrees of mediocre - especially when characters just sing in their heads instead of out loud.

Scoring time! While both movies had their own faults I did quite enjoy them equally so they both get two and a half plagues out of five from me. Which one would I want to watch again? Prince of Egypt, purely because I quite like the animation.


  1. I remember watching Prince of Egypt in the cinema back in the day and still have the soundtrack on CD; I'm surprised you considered it such a letdown! Especially the song about the plagues was positively shiver-inducing.

    1. Hehe, sorry Shintar. For some reason it just didn't do it for me. I don't mean to say that they were "bad" (well - "Playing with the big boys now" might fall into that category for me) but apart from the first and last I didn't get that feeling of awesomeness or connection. :(