Ridley Scott Attempts Manmohan Desai. Fails.
The screen is larger than life, the effects are grand. But everything else is so boringly predictable, you wish they had restored and re-released the original.
Remember Manmohan Desai's Parvarish, where a policeman raises the child of a dreaded dacoit? Or those 'friendship thicker than blood' movies? Movies about 'brothers from different mothers'? Namakharam? Can you imagine Ramesses and Moses singing, 'Salamat rahe dostana hamara' on chariots after winning the battle against the Hittites?
No? Then imagine being held captive by a sword-wielding Shahnaz Hussain of the Kohl, Kurls and Kaftan fame for three hours in the Dhurries and Handwoven Furnishings section inside a Fab India store... She has confiscated all hair conditioner (explains the rough stiff hair everyone in the movie sports... Imagine being told that she'll let you go only if you wear the dhurries and furnishings as dresses... Imagine Joel Edgarton emoting anger and love wearing sheer curtain fabrics as kaftans...
But... But... It has Batman! Alas. This is the most tedious telling of the Ten Commandments story. Batman is rich when he's not 'Batman'. Here Moses loses his moolah, no? So why should Bale bhaiyya act? His Moses is lazy. He hides behind his beard and spouts boring dialog. No crackling thunderbolts chisel the edicts. Moses sits down with hammer and chisel while his people party! No wonder he is grumpy.
And just like Manmohan Desai used child actors in Suhaag and Parvarish, here too God is shown to be a child (Looks as evil as though he appeared straight out of the Stephen King's cornfields). And instead of saying, 'Jaao pehle us aadmi ka sign leke aao...' he just unleashes frogs and giant crocs and superbly magnified locusts. And flies.
It's not that I didn't like the version at all. There were a few good things that earned stars for the movie. Like the evil child god who is really an unhappy chai boy, even though he doesn't explain why he waited for 400 years to do something about his chosen people.
And the introduction of the idea of TED talk in Egypt. Why else would there be some guy explaining new phenomena to the Pharoah?
The Kohl. I know surma is used by men. But men in skirts wearing kohl must have been a progressive lot...
I loved, loved, loved the scene with Joel Edgarton and the snakes. I don't care if they were not real. They were creepily good.
The 3D as in most movies is pointless. But the movie is a big bore. Serves some American agenda which reads like, 'We're on your side, Israel. We'll show people how you were tortured, so the world will give this movie four stars and forget what you are doing to the Palestinians...
See... you are falling asleep already. We almost did as well. Because you learn nothing new with this film. The scale of the film is certainly grand, but there's no fun dialog that you heard in the original ten commandments. Remember Nefreteri telling Moses that she will be his footstool if he became king of Egypt? And how Moses replies, 'The man stupid enough to use you as a footstool would not be wise enough to rule Egypt!' Alas, there is no Anne Baxter who pouts at Charlton Heston saying, 'O Moses, Moses! Why of all men did I fall in love with a prince of fools?'
This version may look grand because of the IMAX screen and 3D, but it lacks the grandeur of the original. Edgarton despite his muscles is no Yul Brynner, and Christian Bale is not a patch on Charlton Heston.
Even Bollywood fails when it attempts to tell stories which Manmohan Desai did so effortlessly. Maybe De Mille and Desai were Gods, and Ridley is merely a king...