Matchup of the Day: Noah vs. Exodus: Gods and Kings
2014 gave us two Biblical epics with high production values and questionable Biblical adherence. One found more commercial and critical success than the other, but both work as entertainment. Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is a fantasy adventure owing as much to The Lord of the Rings as to the Bible. And Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings is a sword-and-sandal epic of the variety Scott has liked to make this century: more on par with Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood than Gladiator.
As is typical with Hollywood, embellishments on the source material abound. Certainly Noah’s ark-building was never assisted by giant rock monsters, though some of the greatest changes may be in the personality of the title character himself. According to Scripture, Noah spent 120 years of ark building begging his neighbors to renounce their wicked ways and join his family on the ark before it was too late. He certainly wasn’t pitched in epic battle trying to keep invading hordes of people off his boat.
This lack of beseeching is one of the biggest omissions from Exodus, as well. In the Biblical tale, Moses returned to Pharaoh after each plague to beg him to reconsider releasing the Hebrews, not just before the final, deadly tenth plague. Perhaps to save running time, the Egyptians are simply allowed to suffer an Old Testament God’s wrath with no chance of reprieve.
Noah hit theaters in March, and amassed respectable box office returns. Exodus bowed in December and suffered from having to battle other more Oscar-worthy films — as well as the final chapter of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy — and bad press about typical Hollywood whitewashing. Noah also fared better with critics, scoring a respectable 76% to Exodus‘s 27% on Rotten Tomatoes. (It ranks higher on Flickchart, too, at #75 for the year vs. #140.)
Adaptations of the Bible will always be gambles for major Hollywood studios, but one thing’s for sure: they’ll never be afraid to exaggerate the story to make it “sexier”.
Fun fact: Russell Crowe‘s 3:10 to Yuma co-star, Christian Bale, was originally offered the title role in Noah, but had to decline due to scheduling conflicts. It wasn’t long after that Exodus came along to satisfy Bale’s desire for a role of such Biblical proportions.
- Noah is currently ranked #5,859 of all time on Flickchart.
- Exodus: Gods and Kings is currently ranked #14,040 of all time on Flickchart.