Exodus: Gods and Kings appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a stellar transfer.
Sharpness excelled, as even in the widest shots, the film appeared accurate and concise. If any softness occurred, I didn’t see it. I noticed no shimmering or jaggies, and the film lacked edge haloes or source flaws.
The palette mainly opted for a mix of gold and teal. Within stylistic choices, the hues looked fine.
Blacks were deep and dense, while low-light shots depicted appropriate clarity. This was a terrific visual presentation.
With plenty of action scenes, the DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix often opened up to give us active information. These used the various speakers to create an involving, effective sense of these situations and circumstances. The elements meshed together well and moved in a satisfying manner.
Audio quality also pleased. Music was peppy and full, while effects demonstrated good clarity and range, with fine low-end response as necessary.
Dialogue also worked fine, with natural, concise speech. The soundtrack complemented the material in a satisfying manner and added to the experience.
This set includes both 2D and 3D versions of Exodus. The picture comments above reflect the 2D image – how did the 3D compare?
In terms of visual quality, the two seemed largely equivalent. I felt the dark scenes looked a bit murkier on the 3D version, but otherwise, it held up well when matched with its 2D counterpart.
Shot with native 3D cameras, parts of the stereo Exodus worked very well, primarily in terms of depth and dimensionality. If you want a movie with a lot of “pop-out” moments, Exodus will disappoint, as it lacked those elements.
However, it did boast an outstanding sense of immersion and depth. Some scenes looked more impressive than others – hail, the swarms of insects, rain on the mountain – but the image became engaging in the way it depicted environment. While this didn’t become a 3D presentation that went nuts with its possibilities, the stereo version added to the movie’s impact.
In terms of extras, this package starts with an audio commentary from director Ridley Scott and co-screenwriter Jeffrey Caine. Both sat separately for a screen-specific look at historical elements and adaptation areas, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, effects, and connected domains.
Overall, this becomes a pretty good chat. As is his wont, Scott occasionally tends to simply narrate the film, but he still adds a lot of useful info, and Caine throws out some nice notes, too. The commentary definitely merits a listen.
A text commentary, The Exodus Historical Guide lives up to its title, as it provides background information about the events depicted in the film. It contributes a nice layer of details that help flesh out our understanding of the movie’s material.
Nine Extended and Deleted Scenes fill a total of 14 minutes, 57 seconds. Most of these tend toward moderate expansions of character notes, but a few more substantial elements appear,
In particular, the added footage fleshes out the Moses/Ramses relationship a bit better. I can’t claim any of this material seems crucial, but some of the clips seem useful.
By the way, in an unusual twist, all the deleted scenes can be viewed either 2D or 3D.
The disc opens with an ad for AD: The Series. Sneak Peek adds promos for Wild and Birdman. No trailer for Exodus appears here.
Over on Disc Two, the main attraction comes from Keepers of the Covenant: Making Exodus: Gods and Kings, a seven-part documentary. It spans two hours, 33 minutes, 15 seconds and provides notes from Scott, producer Mark Huffam, 1st AD Lee Grumett, production designer Arthur Max, construction manager Ray Barrett, senior art director Oliver Hodge, 3D modeler Julian Caldow, hod greensman Roger Holden, costume designer Janty Yates, makeup artist Tina Earnshaw, art director James Wakefield, prosthetics supervisor Conor O’Sullivan, 3rd AD Christian Labarta, hair designer Nana Fischer, stunt coordinator Rob Inch, horse master Dan Naprous, editor Billy Rich, associate producer Teresa Kelly, VFX supervisor Peter Chiang, visual effects data wrangler Felix Pomeranz, digital artist Stephen Tew, composer Alberto Iglesias, and actors Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, Tara Fitzgerald, John Turturro and Golshifteh Farahani.
“Keepers” breaks into research and development, script, story and characters, sets and production design. From there it looks at costumes and makeup, props, previs/storyboards, cast and performances, stunts and action, editing, music and various effects, the use of 3D, and cut scenes.
With so much time at its disposal, one expects a detailed discussion within “Keepers” – and that’s what one gets. The program covers a broad array of production topics and does so in an involved, engaging manner. Granted, we get a little too much praise for Scott along the way, but “Keepers” still adds a lot to our understanding of the filmmaking processes.
An extension of the documentary, 14 Enhancement Pods occupy a total of 48 minutes, seven seconds. Across these, we hear from Scott, Max, Barrett, Yates, O’Sullivan, Farahani, O’Sullivan, Fitzgerald, Pomeranz, Hodge, Holden, armoury master Richard Hooper, animal handlers Alan Amey and Mark Amey, model maker Richard Thomas, senior SFX technician David McGeary, SFX technician Jonathan Bickerdike, bird handler Christopher Belsey, and SFX floor supervisor Camin Bourne.
These segments examine weapons, props and statues, costumes, effects and depicting various plagues, animals, sets and locations. None of these offer crucial information, but they add to our understanding of filmmaking processes.
The Lawgiver’s Legacy: Moses Throughout History goes for 23 minutes, 14 seconds and provides notes from Scott, Edgerton, Fitzgerald, Bale, Biblical Studies Professor William Schniedewind, Ancient Near Eastern Studies Professor Christopher Hays, Old Testament Studies Professor Daniel L. Smith-Christopher, and Egyptologist Kara Cooney. As expected, “Legacy” examines aspects of the historical record in relation to Moses and connected concepts. It becomes a good recap.
Finally, The Gods and Kings Archive breaks into three areas. Under “Pre-Production”, we get two collections of stills: “Ridleygrams” (137 frames) and “The Art of Exodus: Gods and Kings” (440). All offer good material.
Two more sections show up within “Production”: “Ridleyvision” goes for 13 minutes, 28 seconds and lets us see Scott’s perspective on the shoot – literally, as it records footage via Google Glass. It’s fun as a novelty but not really all the informative.
Under “Unit Photography”, we get more stills. This area encompasses 463 images across three domains. We get a lot of good photos here.
Finally, “Post-Production and Release” splits into three domains. “Promotional Featurettes” includes “Domestic” (11:48) and “International” (8:15) reels. They involve remarks from Scott, Max, Yates, Bale, Schniedewind, Cooney, and Edgerton. They’re watchable but not especially useful – especially given how much we learn about the movie elsewhere.
“HBO First Look” lasts 12 minutes, 14 seconds and features Scott, Bale, Edgerton, Max, Inch, and Yates. Like the promotional featurettes, “First Look” exists to sell the movie, so it’s not especially interesting.
The “Marketing Gallery” goes into three sections. We find five trailers, 10 TV spots, and 160 stills used to promote the movie via social media.
Oddly dispassionate and flat, Exodus: Gods and Kings occasionally spurs to life. Too much of it lacks real drama or passion, factors that make it a slow ride. The Blu-ray brings us excellent picture and audio as well as a terrific set of supplements and an effective 3D version. While the movie leaves me cold, I think this becomes a top-notch release.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS