Hollywood, it appears, has an aversion to God. Or originality. Or both.
The Smart Money refused to have anything to do with Mel Gibson, only to find itself flummoxed by the runaway success of “The Passion of the Christ”. Since then there have been many “Christian” movies to grace our screens lately. including offerings such as Fireproof (not impressed), Courageous (Very good) and God’s not Dead (OK, but faintly nonsensical in places). Most of these were small/medium budget movies, and all made a health profit at the box office.
I recently had occasion to watch “Exodus: Gods and Kings”. This film billed itself as a fictionalized account of the Book of Exodus, but it took a lot of liberties with scriptures that are considered fundamental to three of the world’s major religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam:
- Moses was reputedly about eighty years old when he returned to Egypt to liberate the children of Israel. The Directors chose to cast him as a young man.
- Moses’ brother Aaron, who acts as the speaker for the reticent Moses, is not mentioned at all.
- The producers went to great lengths to attempt to explain the plagues of Egypt as natural phenomena wherever possible
- Moses’ repeated warnings and entreaties to Ramses — and the Pharaoh’s hardness of heart — are not mentioned at all.
- Most of the top-billing cast were played by white Americans. Wassup wid dat?
- When God finally showed up in person, it was in the form of a petulant, vindictive little boy, constantly sneering and plotting revenge, that I found fundamentally unbelievable and incompatible with the scriptural character of God. There is nowhere in scripture that God takes joy in killing.
I came away feeling like I had watched a big-budget historical documentary that was trying to prove the non-existence of God. I wasn’t offended in the least, I just didn’t get the impression that I had come face-to-face with the living God of the bible. Whether this is a due to an error of the filmmakers or a fault in my theology I cannot say.
What I can say is that the producers of this film have taken a diabolical (no pun intended) liberty with the source material that seems almost like a calculated insult to the world’s three biggest faiths. The result fell between two stools, and ended up being neither accurate nor particularly enjoyable.
The best thing that I can say about this movie is that I didn’t pay a penny to see it — it was an in-flight movie. Afterwards I watched the “Shaun the Sheep” movie, wonderful chuckle-fest that was just what I needed to wipe the ghastly taste of this truly bad excuse of a biblical tale from my mind.