There are few things that are certain in this world: death, taxes, the fact that there’s always an episode of Law and Order: SVU playing on at least one channel at any given time of day or night, and that the biblical epic will always find its way back into the mainstream of cinema. It may have been since the 1950s when the big budget, large scale production was en vogue, but with films like this year’s Noah getting audiences nostalgic for animals marching two-by-two and the big guy upstairs, now Ridley Scott‘s Exodus: Gods and Kings has its path paved to go full blown Charlton Heston with no regrets. The first images from the film, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, show that happening right away.
The story of Exodus, and Moses, is likely a familiar tale for those who have read up on the Old Testament (or anyone who just celebrated Passover). In Egypt, God rains down upon the land 10 terrible plagues to let his displeasure be known with how things are running. Moses goes up against the Pharaoh Ramses to free thousands of slaves (God’s chosen people) from his oppressive rule, and ultimately leads them to salvation in the Holy Land. But first, they must wander the desert for 40 days and 40 nights with Moses at the lead, stopping to part the Red Sea and get the 10 Commandments beamed down for some moral guidance along the way.
“What I thought I knew about Moses I didn’t really,” Scott said to EW. “Either I wasn’t paying attention in Sunday school or I had forgotten. I was knocked out by who he was and the basics of the story—it has to be one of the greatest adventures and spiritual experiences that could ever have been.”
The complete journey of Exodus, from Moses (here played by Christian Bale) doing battle with Ramses (Joel Edgerton) through the trek across the desert is going to be more about adventure and sand-and-sandals than about religion, if the images shown are any indication. But what’s most compelling about these images is how it seems the film is being shot. Does it not look like Exodus is straight from the 1950s, shot in genuine brand-new technicolor?
The saturation of the colors in the stills makes it seem almost more authentic in an odd way; if the film actually does have that technicolor-esque filter, does Scott have a grand vision for the entire movie where the dialogue is more than slightly cheesy, everyone speaks in a booming voice and things are just unnaturally colored to show off? A throwback to golden era Bible epics would be beautiful.
The other thing to focus on in these images is the majesty of Sigourney Weaver, donned in what appears to be her royal finest while getting direction from Scott. Though it’s unclear what her formal title is in this role, if anyone was fit to play a queen, it’s clearly this woman. Look at her.
Check out the other images for peeks at Aaron Paul (he’s disguised by a beard), Ben Kingsley and crew. Exodus: Gods and Kings is in theaters December 12th. Click the image of Joel Edgerton’s Ramses (yes, that’s really Joel Edgerton) below to see the rest of the images: