Director: Bill Boyce and John Stronach
Cast (Voice): Christian Slater, Alfred Molina,
Elliot Gould and narrated by Ben Kingsley
Runtime: 1 hr 28 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Official Website: www.10commandmentsmovie.com
Opening Day: 6 December 2007
He is an ordinary man, a humble shepherd who despite a turbulent
past has found peace in a simple life and a loving family.
But the day comes when his peaceful life is shattered by the
sudden awesome appearance of God who has a mission for Moses.
It's a mission that will thrust Moses onto history's stage
and turn him from ordinary into the extraordinary - a mighty
prophet and leader of his people.
The Ten Commandments is a multi-national collaboration between
Singapore’s iVL Animation Studio, Promenade Pictures
from the US and New Zealand’s Huhu Studios. This latest
version of the epic tale of Moses is the first of a series
of 12 titles to be released by Promenade as the Epic Stories
of the Bible. It’s also the first 3D digital animated
movie co-produced by a Singapore company that features recognized
Hollywood voice talents.
if you read the words “New Zealand” and started
thinking “Weta” and, by extension, “Lord
of the Rings”, you should know that such notions are,
sadly, as believable as the story of LOTR itself. “I’m
just a stranger in a strange land”, are Moses’
first words to his wife Zipporah. By about 10 minutes into
the movie, you will start to feel exactly the same way
the risk of stating the redundant, a cartoon lives or dies
on the quality of its animation. Now, have you ever seen action
figures being manipulated by children as they act out their
self-scripted movies? Well, take away the children, give the
figures a bit more liberty of movement, and that’s more
or less what you’ve got here. And really, it’s
no joke to say that the characters are just about as expressive
as action figures. Their movement is clunky and awkward to
the point of being unintentionally comedic. After a while,
it starts to feel like watching something out of the mid-90s,
with one crucial difference: even animation in the mid-90s
was better. And in this day and age, that’s just an
embarrassment, considering what we have seen in the likes
of The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Beowulf et al.
a result, the rich dramatic potential of all the iconic moments
go to waste. The burning bush doesn’t look anything
more than a particularly bright light. Moses turning his staff
into a snake and back feels more like some cheap magic trick.
The plagues (frogs, locusts, etc) slowly descend upon Egypt
like some pirated programme you downloaded waiting to load.
And worst of all, the money shot of the parting of the Red
Sea is criminally wasted. “Behold the salvation of the
Lord!”, Moses proclaims. Sorry, I’m a bit too
busy beholding your lack of facial expression. The overwhelming
impression is that of playing some really old RPG.
story telling also leaves much to be desired. Moses’
journey from coward and murderer to man of God is wholly unconvincing,
considering that the filmmakers’ stated intention was
to portray the entirety of his life. He never quite seems
to move beyond the complainer that we first encounter. The
scenes where he is talking to God also feel more schizophrenic
than divine, which is quite an indictment, considering that
it’s marketing itself as a faith-based tale. After a
while, I started hearing voices too. They were telling me
to get out of the cinema and go watch Prince of Egypt instead.
of voices, the voice actors do make for a rather impressive
cast. Unfortunately, Ben Kingsley’s majestic narration
is wasted by the poorness of the entire production, while
Christian Slater makes for a decidedly unimpressive Moses.
Alfred Molina’s Pharaoh is a fairly good villain, but
is again undermined by the quality (or lack of it) of the
animation. Elliot Gould may have been nominated for an Oscar,
but his voice doesn’t quite make it as that of God (good
as it is, it lacks the necessary authority). All in all, we
see compelling characters who do not inspire here, encumbered
as they are by far too many obstacles.
we haven’t even gotten to the Biblical inaccuracies.
While I recognize that dramatic license is always taken in
the movies, speaking just as a believer, it takes a few too
many liberties for comfort. For example, in the Bible, Dathan
consistently opposes Moses and is eventually punished by God.
In this movie, he becomes an annoying fat guy who is a spy
for the Egyptians and even calls for the golden calf to be
built (it was Moses’s brother Aaron who constructed
the idol for the people to worship).
might say that I ought to give this fledgling effort by a
Singapore studio a chance. My response is, if it was going
to be this bad, then they should’nt even have released
(There can be miracles when you believe. But its’ going
to take many, many nights of prayer before this movie can
be redeemed. Only pre-adolescent children will be able to
tolerate its many flaws)
Review by Nicholas Yong