Exodus: Gods and Kings 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
I’ve turned into a bit of a Ridley Scott apologizer and it seems every time he has a new movie coming out, I end up on the defensive as to why I like it more than others. I was pleased when THE MARTIAN was met with universal praise, but his previous movie, EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS did not enjoy the same fate. Generally panned by everyone that saw it, EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS became more noteworthy for being the poster child for whitewashing than anything else. I expected another situation where I would have to stand up and defend Scott, but as it turns out, Exodus is just too forgettable to merit an argument.
The film follows the story of Moses and Ramses pretty closely to the Bible, assuming the Bible you read featured epic battles, snake handling and God taking the form of a ten year-old boy. Joking aside, this is a pretty linear tale of how Moses learned of his Hebrew heritage, was banned from Egypt and later returned to free the Hebrew slaves. It has all of the traditional Biblical stories of Moses, complete with the seven plagues, parting of the Red Sea and even the Ten Commandments.
And that might be the problem; although an epic and fascinating story to read in Sunday School, the story of Moses doesn’t translate well on the big screen. Ridley Scott told this story in the most pedestrian way possible and unfortunately, the audience never felt anything for any of the characters. I would argue that the most sympathy we felt for any character was Ramses as he was suffering through the last plague and barely a few scenes earlier he ordered his people to starve. So there wasn’t much there for the audience to get behind and root for. Moses is clearly the hero of the story, but he goes mountain-man on us right after he has his first vision and we don’t get much from him from the time he leaves his family to the time he returns. Most of that time is spent watching the people of Egypt suffer.
Part of the problems are at the hands of director Ridley Scott and the four screenwriters that worked on the script, but blame needs to go to the actors involved as well because everyone was severely miscast. And it has nothing to do with their race. The issue is that Bale is going to give you exactly what’s written on the paper and he’s going to knock it out of the park. But he doesn’t necessarily have the grand charisma that Moses needed in this film. Ramseys didn’t need a charming character, but Edgerton’s makeup and mannerisms were distracting every time he was on screen. He acted like he was shooting pool at a bar and not the King of Egypt. Again, I’m not sure who deserves more blame, but the cast all around seemed out of place.
EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS is not going to crack the top five best Ridley Scott films and I won’t be using this as proof he’s still a great director. But this isn’t necessarily a bad film, it’s just average and a little forgettable. It was hard to get invested in the story and the actors looked like even they weren’t sure why they were there.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS is another title following in the downconvert-upconvert process where the film is shot in 5K but downconverted to 2K and then upconverted to 4K for this Ultra HD release. Like I’ve mentioned before in other 4K reviews, that process isn’t that important, but what’s very important is how it looks on screen. And with that in mind, EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS looks incredible. This is a very dark film and as much as I love Blu-ray, the darker movies can sometimes get washed out when you’re talking various shades of grey. But this 4K transfer offers so much detail that it’s like watching a different movie when compared to previous home video releases. When it comes to the early scenes in the film, where sunlight is more prevalent, the clarity is just as incredible and colors pop. Moses’ wedding scene was of particular clarity to me when I noticed the embroidery on his wife’s veil. I was actually surprised by how much detail I could make out. This is a quality release and a noticeable upgrade to the existing Blu-ray.
Audio: The audio was fine.
There are no 4K exclusive special features, but it does come with the Blu-ray and you can read our Blu-ray review by clicking the link: EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS Blu-ray review.
Click 4K Ultra HD to read more of our 4K reviews.