MOVIE REVIEW : Exodus Gods and Kings

 

Exodus

 

Whenever Hollywood attempt to adapt a biblical story for the big screen, the church is very apprehensive. Whenever the church attempts to review a hollywood movie hollywood is apprehensive. What we have then today is the confluence of two opposing worlds, a hollywood production of a biblical text being reviewed by a Pastor who happens to be a movie geek too. Yes, this movie reviewer is not your average christian Tyler Perry movie watcher, I am a movie geek. I not only watch a lot of movies, but follow a lot of blogs (Latino Review*), news sites (Screen Rant*), studio execs (Kevin Tsujiara and Kevin Fiege *) , movie directors (Zack Snyder*), directors of photography (Larry Fong*), movie score composers (Hans Zimmer*), podcasts (Schmoes Know*) youtube channels (AMC Movie Talk*) etc. I have my finger on the pulse of Hollywood, and know what is current and what is coming. This review is not from an archaic preacher with antiquated views that are steeped in religion, and sees the illuminati in everything.I am a genuine movie enthusiast who loves movies in general and will give my take on this movie.

I will preface my review by stating, all movies are subjective, what I hate someone else may like, and what I like someone else may hate.

The Good.

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1. Epic Visuals. Visually this movie was stunning. Ridley Scott  who of late has been a hit or miss director ,has made many classics (Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise and Gladiator) and this was him going back to his Gladiator roots. He showed us Egypt on a level that we have not seen before. The visual experience was breathtaking, from the battles, to the 10 plagues to the Cities of Memphis and Pithom they were simply epic. In this department this movie cannot be faulted at all.

The Bad

  1. The Casting Controversy. While this movie was in principal photography, chatter began about the “whitewashing” of the casting choices. A fierce racial debate began, concerning why in this day and age, a movie based on Arabs and Africans would feature an all white ensemble cast.  My take on this is, though I was disappointed in the bulk of their casting choices I was still willing to give the movie a chance and hope that the final product would justify the decisions. Which in my view didn’t. The casting of John Turturo as a Pharaoh (Ramesis father) was a bad fit and Sigourney Weaver was no different from the statues being constructed by the Israelite Slaves.exodus-gods-and-kings-set-visit-10-things-we-learned-167929-a-1410882914-470-75
  2. Deviating from the source Material. This is where the church gets upset with Hollywood. There are certain elements of the biblical text which are open to poetic licence. Even when preaching a sermon based on biblical narratives, a preacher can exercise certain levels of poetic licence to give us their take on the story. But  there are certain elements you can not drift too far away from without ultimately looking goofy. This movie drifted and drowned.
  3. Burning Bush. This movie started well but all the trouble began at the burning bush. The mud slide is a metaphor of this movie, it went down hill from that point. SPOILERS COMING. The burning bush which is an iconic moment in the movie, the equivalent of Krypton exploding while Kal el flies to earth or Luke Skywalker being told by Darth Vader “ I am your father”. This is a major pillar in the story, if you mess with it, the entire movie falls apart. Instead of talking to God in the burning bush, we are introduced to God depicted as a little boy with a bad attitude. I agree with  Christopher Orr of the Atlantic who said “This is the first portrayal of God I’ve ever encountered who looked like he could use a good spanking.” If you are going to venture to depict God as a a small boy (which was an epic fail moment) at least give him the right attitude, make him mature, kind, regal even. But no he must be this little brat. Ridley Scott messed up here.exodus-empire-mosesjoshua
  4. Sword for a rod. Moses wielding a sword and not the rod was a major blunder. The idea of him raising and training guerrilla soldiers, though I didn’t like, artistically you can get away with it. But it robbed us of the back and forth exchanges between Moses and Ramesis between the plagues. This would have been excellent in terms of the tension between two brothers falling out. Two other things I didn’t like about Teenage Mutant Ninja swords wielding Moses was that scene where he held a sword to the throat of pharaoh. That was reaching and totally out of synch with the character, that action alone makes sense to this comment Christian Bale (Moses) said about Moses “I think the man was likely schizophrenic and was one of the most barbaric individuals that I ever read about in my life,”. With comments like that, the portrayal of a  sword wielding Moses makes sense. Secondly the Egyptian sword which was flung in the red sea was responsible for making them cross the red sea, really?? To me was another major mistake with the red sea scene (which we shall deal with later.)
  5. The scientific plagues. Biblically the Exodus has God’s most epic miracles. This element of the story has God as the superhero doing amazing things through Moses. They really messed up here with brat boy god and Moses  communicating badly, with Moses not knowing before hand what is coming, and Moses not telling pharaoh in advance but being a victim of the plagues like everyone else. This was just a waste of beautiful visuals with no substance to back them up. The plan here was to minimise the God element and scientifically explain the plagues with exposition. This was a major mister in the movie. The crocodiles looked epic but were not canon.
  6. Red sea anticlimax. You can mess up many things in this story and we can forgive you while we wait for the red sea to SPLIT… But no, let’s not SPLIT it let us recede it instead and make it come back as a Tsunami. You had one Job Ridley, to Split the Red Sea in two but no, let us recede it instead. This was the final nail in the coffin. They failed to deliver the final knock out punch and instead decided to confuse us with an almost battle in a red sea tsunami which Moses gets caught in but survives. Terrible ending. With the all the advancements we have made with CGI and 3D and IMAX this is a missed opportunity.exodus-gods-kings-red-sea
  7. Numbers Don’t Lie. In conclusion the best example for a movie based on a biblical narrative is the passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson. The director’s obsession was accuracy in relationship to the source material, That’s why it Grossed 600 million from a 30 million budget. Exodus God’s and kings is currently a box office disaster. It cost 140 million (5 times more than the Passion) and made 24 million in it’s opening and is now sitting on 113 million.  it has a 29% score on Rottentomatoes.com out of 153 certified movie critics, 109 say it stinks. Numbers don’t lie, if critics and viewing audience are not resonating with it, it’s a fail on all fronts. I went to watch the 10 plagues…But this movie is turned out to be an 11th plague unleashed to hapless movie fans.

Final Rating 2/5

  • The sites and people mentioned are current favourites.

From one mother to another

 

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Recently being a mum to our first child I began to appreciate the value of my own mother and that of the mother of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

And she (Mary) will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭1‬:‭21‬ NKJV)

In thinking of the mother of Jesus Mary I learn a few things about parenting:

1. As a parent you ought to be able to hear the voice of God for yourself about your child. What plans does God have for your child?

2. Believe in what God has told you about your child.  If God says you are raising a genius who will find a cure for the greatest epidemic we ve seen, believe it, nurture it and affirm it. Even if the world doubts you, hold on to what God has said to you because if God said it-that settles it.

3. Know that there will always be opposition. There’ll be many people who will want to impose their will on your child. In the age we live in there’s strong pulling forces (Herods) who want to kill your child’s destiny before it is fulfilled. Flee, pray, protect and be deliberate in hiding your child from these pulling forces.

 

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4. Expose your child to all things Godly and things that will prepare them for their destiny. It is important to know that every perfect gift comes from our God. So church and the word of God are critical to your child’s journey even if their destiny is in the market place and not in the church. A good Church will lay a solid foundation complimentary to your efforts.

5. Be there, even when your child might face the toughest time in their lives, just be there. Walk the journey with them as their number one supporter and believer. With you by their side, they will gain strength to go on and to be what God called the to be.

8. Be deliberate in preparing your child for their destiny. Research, educate yourself and invest in your child’s destiny. If your child is called to be a  the best tennis player the world has ever seen, start training him/her at a young age.

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7. Be a good custodian and role model. This is just so critical. For your child to be what God has called them, you need to be faithful. Faithful to the word, your role and in your own walk to your own destiny.

8.  Lastly, trust God to reveal the journey /path of childs destiny up to fulfillment. Trust God to keep him or her covered in the shadow of His wings.

Mary, thank you for remaining faithful to your journey as a mother to the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ.

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭1‬:‭23‬ NKJV)

May you and your family enjoy this day as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas with love,
Bokangs Mummy 😉

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Is Christmas Demonic?

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One of the major challenges we have as the Church in 2014, is we are living in the hyper information age. In that this generation through being connected to the internet and social media is relentlessly bombarded with vast amounts of information on a daily basis. The biggest challenge with that is two things 1) Not all the information that we are bombard with on the internet is accurate, in fact a large amount of it is false. 2) People believe anything that is written and published on the internet. The scripture 1 John 4:1 does not only apply to false teachers only, but to any source of information: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

As Christians we need to become more analytical and less superstitious. In that now more than ever with information flying past our eyes 24/7 we have to be able to analyse just how accurate it is before we believe it . Befefore we rush to post it on our social media and get others to believe in an inaccurate position, we must test the accuracy of what is being presented.

Todays’ post is concerning Christmas, and I was inspired to write after seeing a small group of friends on my Facebook timeline posting arguments to the effect that Christmas is demonic. Around this time of the year, there are some hardline Christians who take the position that Christmas is demonic and shouldn’t be observed. Here are just a few points on Christmas I would like to share with you.

 

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  1. What is the literal Meaning of Christmas? The Merriam – Webster  Dictionary defines Christmas as :  a Christian feast on December 25 or among some Eastern Orthodox Christians on January 7 that commemorates the birth of Christ and is usually observed as a legal holiday. Just based on this definition you can see that there are actually two Christmas days, depending on which side of the orthodox calendar you are. The word  Christmas is a compound word which means Christ’s Mass. In the name we can find the source and foundation of this season.
  2. What is the original source and reason for Christmas? For modern day Christians without any exposure to Christian orthodoxy, the term Mass in Christ’s Mass will not resonate. The Catholic Church and other orthodox churches every year function  under a structure called the Liturgical Cycle or Liturgical Year. In simple terms, public worship, is scripted to fit a fixed calendar throughout the year. To further simplify it Christmas is a designated Church service on an Othordox church calendar. The ultimate lowest denominator for Christmas is it’s a church service where the focus of worship is going to centre around the scriptures concerning the birth of our Lord. Liturgical Cycle Churches do not preach from random scriptures, they use a Lectionary, which has specific scriptures all churches must preach from throughout the year. So when Christmas comes, the lectionary has set scriptures to preach from concerning the birth of Jesus. So in it’s literal smallest denominator Christmas is a church service that has now been turned into a legal holiday.
  3. When did Christmas start? Christmas was placed on the Liturgical calendar as early as the 4th Century, December 25 in Rome. The key thing to know here is that the date is not attempt to prove  Jesus’ birthday, but view it as an entry in a church calendar, with other worship events observed too. The reason why a liturgical calendar is employed is The liturgical calendar provides a structure for the Church’s collective memory, a way of consecrating human experience of time in the celebration of God’s work – in Christ.
  4. Is Christmas Jesus’ Birthday? The exact year, month or date of the birth of Jesus is not known. Christmas is not an attempt to define the date that Jesus was born, but a day in a church calendar to remember and celebrate  his birth. It is estimated that Jesus was born between 7 and 4 BC, apart from that, there is no clear date. NativityScene
  5. Does Xmas cancel CHRIST from Christmas? This one is a major can of worms. There is a common belief that when you write Xmass you are removing Christ from Christmas. This position is in accurate. Writing Xmas does not remove Christ from Christmas simply because  The “X” is actually indicating the Greek letter “Chi”, which is short for the Greek meaning “Christ”. The difference between “Xmas” and “Christmas” is their lettering. The use of Xmas dates as far back as the 16th century. It is not part of a modern day conspiracy to remove Christ from Christmas.
  6. Is Christmas a biblical command? The first thing I have to deal with here, is that Christmas is not a day designated by God for man to celebrate the birth of his son. There is no scripture in the bible which commands us to celebrate the birthday of Jesus. It is a man made event, I will go further to suggest that whether you celebrate it or not you are not sin. Our job is to believe in the deity of Jesus that God came from heaven to earth, manifested in the flesh, died on the cross for our sins and rose again. Celebrating Christmas doesn’t get you saved indeed and in fact, everyday we must celebrate that he was born, he lived, he died and rose again. There is no scripture which says thou shalt celebrate Christmas.      Santa-Claus-01
  7. What about  Santa Claus?  Concerning Santa, I have some serious concerns. The origin of the concept is derived from the life of a 4th century Greek Bishop by the name of Saint Nicholas of Myra. He was famous for his generosity in particular his giving of gifts to the poor. If the current incarnation of Santa Clause was only based on St Nicholas I would have no problem with him. But the stumbling block comes with how the current version was formed. The current version is a mix of St Nicholas and a pagan god called Odin (this name will resonate with those who are fans of the movie THOR, odin is his father). During the Christianization of Germanic Europe, major elements o were mixed with St Nicholas in particular his current looks. In time with the commercialisation and secularisation of the day, Santa has become the face of Christmas as opposed to Jesus. But be that as it may, Santa Claus is just a concept not a demon, which personally I will not promote in my home. From day one we are not doing Santa, we are buying and exchanging gifts as a family and thanking God for Him blessing us with the provision.
  8. Is Jesus being pushed out of Christmas? Through the commercialisation of Christmas, we can indeed argue that Jesus is being sidelined by corporations and governments, which push concepts like “Happy Holidays as opposed to Merry Christmas” or you will see more pictures of Santa than of Jesus in a manger. Like we stated earlier, Christmas is a church service, so the purpose of the holiday is for people to got to church and hear about how God manifested in the flesh. Be that as it may, secular corporations and governments are free to do that, in no way does Jesus lose sleep over that neither should we. Anything that is done to secularise Christmas  cannot change the fact that Jesus came, manifested in human flesh. Waste no energy engaging in battles for Christmas, celebrate with your family and love your God.

In conclusion, Christmas is not demonic and as Christians we are free to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Have a blessed holiday.

Pastor Israel Phiri