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A retelling of the bible story. Pharaoh Ramses decrees the death of all Hebrew children, but Moses, placed in a basket in the Nile by his mother, is taken by a royal princess and raised as the brother of the heir to the throne of Egypt, Memefta. Moses is called by God to lead his people from Egypt to the promised land. A very reluctant prophet, feeling unworthy of the call, Moses accepts the task. After a series of plagues Memefta agrees to let the Hebrews go. With second thoughts, he pursues them to annihilation of his army in the parting of the Red Sea. Starvation is averted by manna from heaven, the ten commandments are given the people through Moses, they go astray with worship of the golden calf. Forty years of wandering in the wilderness, until finally they reach what will be their home (which Moses lives to see but not to enter). Written by
Bruce Cameron <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is the first time Christopher Lee has played a Pharaoh. The second time he played Ramses the first in the movie "In the Beginning"(2000) in this he plays Ramses second who is the grandson of Ramses the first. See more »
You see, steward, a steady hand and there are no more complaints.
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The 1995 TV movie, "Moses," is mostly faithful to the Bible accounts that it covers in the exodus. It has six of the 10 plagues, and it has several of the events during the desert sojourn, including most of the major signs of God's power. It has good scenes of the Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle and the meeting tent, although there is no discussion of these.
It includes the important scouting of the Promised Land. God was ready to lead them into the land just a few months into the exodus, but the people balked. Ten of the 12 scouts said they would not be able to overcome the inhabitants who were there. The people didn't trust God to lead them in conquest of the land, so he condemned them to roam the desert for 40 years, until all those over age 20 had died.
I give this film six stars for its story accuracy during the exodus. It could have been a couple notches higher but for its shortcomings. The special effects are only fair. We see a short scene of the Red Sea after it has parted. When the Nile turns into blood, it looks as though a red filter is sliding over the camera lens. The earthquake seems more like the camera moving around while the people fall and slip.
One of the phenomenal things about the exodus was its sheer size. It involved two to three million people (based on Ex. 12:37). They set out with herds, flocks and belongings from Rameses, the great delta city that the Israelites had been building. This film fails to capture any of that. We see only a small area of adobe homes where the slaves live, and no sign of a great city. There are no scenes of masses of people. Most group scenes had no more than 100 people in them.
Another weak aspect is the story of the early years of Moses, and his adult character. The Bible is silent on most of the first 30 years of his life. It says only that he became the son of Pharaoh's daughter. As such, he would have been taught physical skills and the "art" of combat in the royal household. We see just a glimpse of that in a stick- fighting scene with his cousin. Otherwise, Moses is a clumsy child, withdrawn, and insecure. It's not likely that Moses would have known or visited his real family in his early years. Would Pharaoh have tolerated someone from the despised Israelite slaves as a member of the royal household? There is more in scripture and tradition that attest to the very unlikelihood of this.
Ben Kingsley's grown Moses is very good in his frequent internal conversations with God. But he is not the image of one who could rouse the people to follow him out of Egypt. In the Bible, Moses admits to not being an eloquent speaker, but that hardly equates to his being a lesser man physically. The scene of Moses at the well in Midian is quite novel. It seemed like another way to avoid his being portrayed as a strong man, physically or otherwise. But would Midian shepherds a few hundred miles away from the capitol of Egypt believe that this rag-tag character was from the royal Egyptian household? Or that an army of chariots had just crossed the desert and was about to put upon them? More likely, they would have thought he was an escaped thief. And, when Moses stays with Jethro's family for decades, he surely would encounter those same Midian shepherds in the days, weeks and years ahead. But where would Pharaoh's army be to back him up? No, I don't think much careful thought went into this character for Moses.
The film also is weak in the names of characters, including some who aren't named directly in the Book of Exodus. The first pharaoh in the film, when Moses is growing up, is Rameses I. But his tenure was less than three years. Most scholars think that Seti I was the pharaoh at that time. His reign was about 12 years. His son, Rameses II, was about 30 years old when he became pharaoh and was the chief builder of the glorious city, Rameses. And, he reigned for 67 years which would encompass the time that Moses was in Midian and then leading the exodus. The name of the pharaoh's daughter in this film is Ptiri, but I could find no reference to that name anywhere. In the film, the Pharaoh tells Moses that she died while he was gone. But a later Bible entry (1 Chronicles 4:17) lists Bithiah as "the daughter of Pharaoh." According to tradition, she was banished by Pharaoh for having brought Moses, an Israelite, into the house of the Pharaoh and pretending him to be her own. And, she left with Moses on the exodus part of the "mixed multitude."
Some other Bible names are omitted, and fictitious names added. Zerack is a frequent complainer and critic of Moses in this movie. I can't find a reference to him anywhere. Dathan isn't mentioned at all, but in the Bible he, Korah and other leaders of the rebellion are swallowed up in the earthquake.
Many movies have been made about the exodus. This one is good for its account of the exodus itself, but not very good otherwise. I would like to see an exodus movie someday that has the account of the seraph snakes that bite and kill many of the Israelites for their constant grumbling against Moses and God. And then Moses making the bronze snake and putting it on a high pole for the people to gaze on and recover from their snake bites.
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