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Fact-checking the Film: Ridley Scott's 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'

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Oscar season is here, which means a flurry of fact-based movies are on their way to theaters. EW is fact-checking these films—everything from The Theory of Everything to Wild—to see just how true-to-life they turned out.

Yes, we know: There’s no way to truly fact-check a movie based on a Bible story, given that the Bible’s status as a historical document is, putting it mildly, up for debate. But in any case, the story of Moses, first written in the Old Testament book of Exodus, is a famous one; the new Christian Bale film, Exodus: Gods and Kings, is just one of several existing works about the prophet’s life and his success in freeing the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. And it’s a pretty ridiculous version at that.

Director Ridley Scott has drawn widespread criticism for casting white actors in the film’s lead roles, considering it primarily takes place in Egypt. Scott himself didn’t help matters when he told Variety, “I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such.”

When it comes to Bible stories, many onscreen projects take these sorts of liberties when adapting their source material. The epic that’s now in theaters, however, contains some especially fascinating deviations—including a few that suggest the Bible and the filmmaker hold vastly different views on the nature and power of God. Below are some of the more notable differences between the Scott production and Christian and Jewish Biblical texts. And for what it’s worth, some of these are just common sense.  READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Exodus' beats out 'The Hunger Games'

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After three weeks at number one, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 finally had to give up its top box office spot to the less teen-friendly, more controversial Exodus: Gods and Kings.

The Ridley Scott epic brought in $24.5 million over the weekend for a strong opening — but the Moses-based movie still has a while to go before it breaks even with its $140 million budget.

Chris Rock’s Top Five was the only other film with a wide release this weekend. But its numbers didn’t even come close to Exodus‘s, partly because it opened in 979 theaters compared to Exodus‘ 3,503. The comedy grossed $7.2 million. READ FULL STORY

Critical Mass: Will reviews plague 'Exodus'?

“Ridley Scott’s eye-candy spectacle [is] an over-the-top Old Testament epic that’s essentially Gladiator with God,” writes EW‘s Chris Nashawaty. That might serve as both critique and the best advertisement that 20th Century Fox could possibly fathom for Exodus: Gods and Kings. Christian Bale stars as Moses, the Egyptian hero who discovers that his charmed life has been a lie, and that his true destiny is freeing the long-suffering Jewish slaves, who suffer under the heel and whip. Joel Edgerton is Ramses, the narcissistic pharaoh whose heart hardens with every horrible plague that engulfs Egypt, and a slew of famous actors pop up in the background of the Biblical epic.

No spoiler alerts are required, of course. But even though the story is as old as written history, no one will want to miss the end, when a giant wave crushes the Egyptian army, as famously depicted in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 classic, The Ten Commandments. What will that ultimate special effect look and feel like in the hands of a modern CG master like Scott?

Read more from EW’s review, as well as a roundup of other notable critics, below. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Exodus: Gods and Kings' storms into theaters

The Hunger Games‘ days on top of the box office will be over when Exodus: Gods and Kings arrives in 3,503 theaters this weekend, attracting viewers who want to spend their days off watching Christian Bale re-enact biblical sequences.

Along with the bible epic, Chris Rock’s Top Five is also making its big-screen debut on nearly 1,000 screens while Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice hits theaters for the first timebut only in five locations, not enough to warrant any box office waves. But here are the movies that should gross enough to earn them spots in the top five: READ FULL STORY

Ridley Scott, Christian Bale talk 'Blade Runner' sequel, Batman, and what Bale's Moses beard was really made of

In anticipation of Exodus: Gods and Kings‘ release on Dec. 12, director Ridley Scott and star Christian Bale sat down for a SiriusXM Town Hall with EW to discuss the film as well as some of their other biggest projects. READ FULL STORY

Enough Moses already: 5 other Bible stories that deserve a Hollywood epic

When it comes to Bible stories, Hollywood likes to play favorites. The upcoming Christian Bale-starring epic Exodus: Gods and Kings will be the latest in a long line of high-profile onscreen adaptations of the Old Testament’s Moses story, including Charlton Heston’s Ten Commandments and the 1998 animated hit Prince of Egypt. Earlier this year, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah became the third screen adaptation of the Biblical Noah’s Ark story in the last 15 years. The many films about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus merit their own category page on Wikipedia.

But when’s the last time anybody made a big-budget feature film about Jonah, who was swallowed by a whale, then spit out alive on the shore of Nineveh three days later? Or Mary Magdalene—or even David and Goliath? There’s an abundance of compelling Bible stories without their own epic-proportioned film adaptations, so I asked some religion scholars which other Biblical characters’ stories deserve to be told on the silver screen. Here’s what they suggested.  READ FULL STORY

How Ridley Scott looked to science -- not miracles -- to part the Red Sea in 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'

If there’s one Old Testament image everyone knows, it’s the parting of the Red Sea. And when shooting that scene in Exodus: Gods and Kings (in theaters Dec. 12), director Ridley Scott knew that he want to treat the incident as realistically as possible. “You can’t just do a a giant parting, with walls of water trembling while people ride between them,” says Scott, who remembers scoffing at biblical epics from his boyhood like 1956’s The Ten Commandments. “I didn’t believe it then, when I was just a kid sitting in the third row. I remember that feeling, and thought that I’d better come up with a more scientific or natural explanation.” READ FULL STORY

See Ridley Scott's plagues in new 'Exodus: Gods and Kings' trailer

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When one thinks of Moses one typically thinks of… Coldplay, right?* Well, Coldplay is what you’ll get in the new trailer for Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings.

(Okay, yes, you may actually think of Coldplay, given that the band has a song called “Moses” and Chris Martin’s son is named Moses. “Moses” is not the song used in this trailer.)

READ FULL STORY

Video: Christian Bale fights a biblical battle in 'Exodus: Gods and Kings' trailer

We’ve seen director Ridley Scott do the whole swords-and-sandals thing before, in 2000’s Gladiator, but now he’s going even further back in time with Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Christian Bale plays a pre-Ten Commandments Moses, going head-to-head with Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton) to free hundreds of thousands of slaves. Watch the first trailer for the biblical epic below: READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver circling Ridley Scott's 'Exodus'; Plus 'Jersey Boys' updates, more

• Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Sigourney Weaver (Alien), John Turturro (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), and Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3) are circling Ridley Scott’s biblical epic Exodus, starring Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Ramses. Paul, now free of his Breaking Bad commitments, is currently in talks to play the part of Joshua, a Hebrew slave. Kingsley would be joining as a Hebrew scholar, while Turturro and Weaver are set to join as Ramses’s parents. Moneyball co-writer Steven Zaillian (who won an Oscar for Schindler’s List), wrote the latest version of the script. The shoot is scheduled to begin in September. [THR; Variety]

READ FULL STORY

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