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(Review originally written at 22 September 2010)

This is one big, overblown and overacted epic but I was absolutely taken by it.

In todays light and perspective, certain elements of this movie and it's overall approach can be seen definitely as silly and overdone. But you also really have to put this movie in its perspective and realize that this movie was one of the very first within its sort. Movies like "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad", "Ben-Hur" and "Jason and the Argonauts" weren't made yet and this really was one of the very first Hollywood movies to take a grand, epic and adventurous approach with its story. Movies of this scale were something new and still in development.

The movie takes an almost stage-play approach at times. This means foremost that the movie features often silly long dialog, that at times seem to come out of a Shakespeare play. Seriously, just no person ever said sentences that way, not even a couple of thousands of years ago. There is plenty of overacting in this movie, even from the greatest actors that are all in it. But it really didn't bugged me that much, since the overall movie was taking a bit of an overblown approach with basically everything and it did this well and effective, which caused me to be taken away by it all, nonetheless.

I was definitely impressed by this movie. Not only by its looks but also really by its compelling story. It's of course a well known story, everybody is already in one way or another familiar with and it's a story with lots of great elements in it. Not that I really cared for any of the movie its religious messages but I can look past all of these elements. Nevertheless I should say that I don't think the movie always took a very good approach with its religious story elements. I don't feel it explains really enough as to why God does certain things, which at times makes 'his' actions seem a bit uncalled for and he is simply asking way to much of Moses and his people to endure. The movie claimed it tried to tell the story of Moses and then especially what happened with him in the period that he was still the prince of Egypt till the moment he came down the mountain, spreading the ten commandments amongst his people. For this it falls back to some scriptures and of course the bible itself but also foremost on some novels, that attempt the tell the true story and history of Moses. It's always a bit dodgy when a movie like this claims it's telling the true story and present things as facts, since it at times certainly takes a lot of liberties with its story and of course because no one on this earth could say what is really true about this story and what isn't.

This movie is known for its epicness but also really because of its epic running time, that is around 3 and a half hours long. This is a long sit, for just every movie, no matter how great and compelling it is. And yes, they could had certainly cut some moments short in this movie or completely cut it out entirely but by saying this I by no means am of opinion that the movie has some bad scenes in it. Basically ever scenes is great to look at and really adds something to the story and its characters. But really, no movie ever needs to be that long and it's not like the story can only be told in a 3 hour+ movie. Just look at the "The Prince of Egypt" that is more than twice as short but still pretty much tells the same story.

Visually this movie is really eye candy. It's a movie that got shot in full color and also really got made for the wide-screen. It uses plenty of early special effects, of which some are still quite looking by todays standards. But this movie impresses the most with its grand looking sets, environments (Egypt never looked more impressive on screen and this movie got hardly shot in Egypt at all actually) and all of its extra's. It uses 14,000 extra's in it, which really shows in some of its crowed sequences.

The movie has plenty of big acting names in it. And even though most of the time and most of them are overacting, it's still a pleasure seeing all of those great names together on screen. Some of them are cast in, for them, some unlikely roles, such as Edward G. Robinson who most people were only accustomed to seeing as a gangster and Vincent Price and John Carradine, who both are best known for their work in the horror genre. But most of the actors also weren't really established names yet at the time. Just look at Yul Brynner, who had only just a few movies behind his name, prior to this one.

But before this review is starting to take epic proportions, let me just end it by saying that this is one wonderful to look at overblown epic movie, that I was taken away by.

9/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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