Tuesday, December 23, 2014

EXODUS FROM THE TRUTH? ...(A REVIEW OF LATEST MOVIE ON MOSES)


(Image courtesy Google Images)
The problems with modern Hollywood trying to make Bible movies to reach the majority interested in viewing Faith and Family movies are multifold. As with anything we do, we must believe in any product in order to have impact, authenticity and success.  Unlike the popular epics like the 1956 "TEN COMMANDMENTS" (Cecil B. DeMille) or even Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ of from a decade ago, the current crop of "bandwagon-on-the-Bible-movie" producers have basically two things in mind: money and agenda, rather than narrative.

Cecil B. DeMille and Gibson's made their blockbuster (in impact and financial succcess) movies for a reason - to tell some of the stories of the Ages, that have forever impacted humanity. A lot of their actors did not necessarily believe in God or the Bible. However, they understood accuracy and appreciated the intelligence of their audiences and demographics (mainly Christians here and around the world). DeMille himself would spend 2-3 years researching, for instance, the Bible BEFORE he got the script together to begin shooting film. The result was the biggest Bible movie ever produced.

The thinking behind two massive Bible-based super-flops out of Hollywood in 2014 is the opposite of the classic film-making of DeMille and the golden age of Hollywood! The first flop one was NOAH, starring Russell Crowe (an avowed atheist). These film makers took so much liberty with the truth and the Bible which both serious Christians and Jews are familiar with, that it was offensive to just about anyone with some bible knowledge.  Now comes Ridley Scott's EXODUS - Gods and Kings". While thinking about this new movie which was released on December 12, 2014, a series on the Great Flood of Noah's era, which NBC TV did over decade ago came to mind. The fiction in this one was so out there, that Saturday Night Live did a stinging parody skit on it, later on that same week which just about sent the NBC TV series into oblivion.

It is against this background we take a look at EXODUS - Gods and Kings (2014) starring Christian Bale (as Moses) and directed by Scott, and produced by FOX. 

While most of us refused to see NOAH, even on DVD due to its outrageous content, we had a little better hope for this latest version of the EXODUS from Egypt by the Israelites, led by the great Moses. Even when actor who played Moses- Christian Bale, Moses' character- and called him a sociopath and barbaric, I thought it may be worth watching to see if Hollywood learned from the mistakes of the Russell Crowe dark fictional version of Noah.  So how did they do? To wit....

THE ENTERTAINMENT:
The Real 3D version of it was technically a winner and it was the best part of the movie.   It was also the most authentic feature of the film as the viewer actually felt him/herself observing what Director Ridley Scott wanted to portray as his interpretation (A plus here).  One actually felt oneself sitting in Pharaoh Rameses’ military strategy session, or down in the quarry at Pithom or even the hair-raising chariot-around-the narrow cliff pursuit by the Egyptians of the departing millions led by Moses across the Red Sea. The visual of the formerly parted Red Sea was a powerful scene as the blue water crashed own on Rameses and of all people “Moishe” (Hebrew for Moses). 

Now we know these things did not happen. It is also telling that Ridley Scott and his production team did NOT show the Red Sea actually parting (to begin with) but showed the escaping Israelites wading through knee deep water. This is typical of people who do not believe in God, the God of the Bible or the Power of God. It is my contention that they really MEANT not to show the Parting of the Red Sea, because to do that will validate the Holy One. But in order to have some semblance of truth in their Exodus from the Truth, they had to show the sea returning to its level. Even with its success here, in the special effects department, I found myself cringing at what biblical outrage they will commit next. It is obvious that the people involved in this movie intended to disrespect and dismiss the God of the Bible, they profess to be filming.

THE ERROR:

Apart from the mostly accurate Passion of the Christ and the few errors of commission (and omission) in Mark Burnett/Roma Downey THE BIBLE record-setting History Channel series in the Spring of 2013, almost anything of historical worth made by mainstream liberal Hollywood lacks in biblical Truth. Their obsession with their agendas permeates every single piece of work they seem to put out, of late.

There were so many errors in "EXODUS", that it would be pointless to list them all. Since Hollywood has no respect for the Christians and Jews to whom they allegedly aimed this movie, they forget that we know the Scriptures and so do gazillions of people from the last 4000 years plus of recorded history! Some examples: God is not a 11 or 12 year old snarling wise guy of a young boy. Pharoah did not look like a linebacker for Rutgers or the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The rivers running red with blood had nothing to do with vicious reptiles sent by a mean 12 year old God....and on and on. It was pointless to sit around and read the credits to see who the technical advisors  were to these guys. Either they did not advise accurately on the truth of the narrative or their input was ignored.

THE EFFECT: 
From word out of Hollywood, more Bible "epic" (failures?) are in the making. God alone knows what they will do to any remakes of the classic "Ben-Hur" and even a new one based on Pontius Pilate (starring Brad Pitt). While Ben-Hur was a tremendous extravaganza starring the incomparable Charlton Heston, it was still fiction. However, Pilate is well known as the man who executed the Lord Jesus on Cross, knowing He was an innocent man. The history of Pilate is available to anyone willing to do research. The Romans kept meticulous records. 

This kind of historical research which the greatest movie producer - Cecil B. DeMille - is known for, is not done these days. They are others listed on the horizon, however after these two debacles, where Exodus with Christian Bale took in less than $40 million in its first two weeks, after costing $185 million to make, they will be rethinking about releasing some of these future failures. In the meantime, expect more independent Christian-based Faith and Family films to score as big as GOD's NOT DEAD, the surprise hit of 2014....bigger than Noah was in America. The after-market on God's Not Dead was both huge, as well as under the Hollywood radar as hundreds of churches bought licenses to show the movie to their congregations across America. 

This is the grassroots that affect what mainstream Hollywood puts out and they know a Faith-based movie when they (we) see one. With better distribution and more mainline actors like Nicholas Cage (LEFT BEHIND); Lee Majors (Six Million Dollar Man) and the upcoming block buster in three months with Cybill Shepherd, PURE FLIX  will become established as the Christian movie company to be reckoned with. The dynamic Christiano Brothers (Rich and Dave) are also on the move with their relevant movies starring well known TV actors like Harry Anderson (Night Court) and Clarence Gilyard (Walker, Texas Ranger).

So in the final analysis, what is the effect of all of these unbiblical "Bible" epics (touted by Hollywood trade papers as the "Year of the Bible Movie")? The effect will be to make the smaller, more intentionally 100% Christian movie producers more established in the huge Heartland Market, where the little white wooden church on the corner still sits and where Aunt Bessie and Uncle Leroy got married and own the same King James Bible for the last 60 years. Hollywood can't make this one up.

Here is the upcoming movie from PURE FLIX, which is the follow-up to God's Not Dead, and is called "DO YOU BELIEVE":



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