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New 'Exodus: Gods and Kings' trailer promotes latest biblical blockbuster

Published: Saturday, July 12 2014 11:30 a.m. MDT

Updated: Monday, July 28 2014 10:43 a.m. MDT

Christian Bale as Moses in the upcoming film "Exodus: Gods and Kings." Biblical films such as "Exodus" and "Noah" have garnered negative attention for giving white actors the leading roles.

Exodus Movie

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If the first trailer is a fair representation of the feature film to come, "Exodus: Gods and Kings" will be a Bible-based movie of epic proportions. But will critics — and audiences — be inspired by the digitally enhanced scenes of burning cities and crashing tidal waves?

"All the drama of the Bible story seems to be in place," The Guardian reported. "(Director Ridley) Scott has perhaps zeroed in on the intimate human struggle between (Moses and the Pharoah), but there is still his skill for indelible imagery and scale."

"The first trailer … is here — and it's pretty much what you'd expect," wrote Peter Chattaway for Patheos. "Spectacular images, an enormous sense of scale, and hints of a brotherly love between Moses and Ramses that turns sour when Moses and his God turn against the Egyptians and their gods to liberate the Hebrew slaves. Oh, and horses. Lots and lots of horses."

However, optimism about the upcoming film was tempered by concern over the all-white cast. "It's worth noting that … Egypt is mostly comprised of white people," Slate reported. "That's nothing new for Hollywood blockbusters, but here the effect is jarring because none of the main actors … look remotely Egyptian, even while bedecked in intricate costumes and makeup."

Scheduled to be released in December, the film's storyline will be familiar to fans of "The Ten Commandments," "Exodus" and, of course, the Bible. It follows Moses (Christian Bale) as he obeys God's command to free the Israelites from Egypt.

Patheos offered a shot-by-shot analysis of the trailer, noting that the dialogue is between Moses and the Egyptian leaders. There are no thundering commandments from God to set the tone. Instead, the film centers on human relationships.

"You say this is not your fault," says Ramses to Moses. "So let's just see who's more effective at killing. You, or me."

Director Ridley Scott has been vocal about his intention to focus on the character of Moses rather than build the film around big moments like the parting of the Red Sea or the 10 plagues. He's not interested in "the big stuff that everybody knows," Screen Rant reported.

Scott is known for blockbuster favorites like "Gladiator," "Black Hawk Down" and "Thelma & Louise."

“ ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings' continues the biblical-epic trend that's been sweeping theaters all year, beginning with "Son of God" in February and "Noah" in March," Yahoo! reported. Hollywood's recent interest in religion also produced "God's Not Dead" and "Heaven Is for Real."

And Scott himself may be keeping the trend alive into 2015. "20th Century Fox, Chernin Entertainment and Ridley Scott are already looking to reteam on another Old Testament character: David," Variety reported.

Email: kdallas@deseretnews.com Twitter: @kelsey_dallas

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