August 31, 2008

Thou Shall Ignore

By CROOT, James

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (G) Directed by Bill Boyce and Jon Stronach * Reviewed by James Croot --------------------

Using animation to bring Bible stories to a whole new generation is a great idea. Slick visuals, star-studded vocals and even catchy tunes can be employed to make plagues of locusts, burning bushes and parting seas come alive.

If you want something that combines all of these, you could rent The Prince of Egypt. But whatever you do, steer clear of this unholy abomination.

The movie's biggest problem is its major selling point, computer animation. The chunky visuals are from last century, with fight scenes that appear as if they were lifted from Playstation 2's Tekken and characters so stiff they look like they are Gerry Anderson marionettes. It also seems as if everyone used hair gel in ancient Egypt because nothing moves. If only they'd used the nice two- dimensional hieroglyphics that appear during the opening credits.

However, the issues plaguing this film don't end there. Composer Reg Powell appears to be under the delusion he's John Williams blasting out an overbearing and overpowering score, while Ed Naha (Troll) produces some risible and ridiculous dialogue. "I'm a dead man to my pharaoh and my donkey has a bad temper," says Moses, channelling Clint Eastwood's man with no name, while Moses's brother Aaron asks him "Do you not remember the river? The basket?" Um, he was a baby.

Ben Kingsley sermon-like narration provides little in the way of nuance, while Christian Slater and Alfred Molina aren't exactly Charlton Heston and Yul Brunner. And rather than Morgan Freeman or John Huston, we have Ross and Monica's dad from Friends (Elliott Gould) as the voice of God.

Brought to you by the director of such classics as Buzby and the Grumble Bees and the producer of Charlton Heston Presents the Bible, Commandments will struggle to entertain even the least discerning five-year- old. Even last year's schlocky horror The Reaping has more of a theological statement to make than this biography of Moses.


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