Monday, April 10, 2006

ABC's The Ten Commandments

Yeah... I think ABC and the like shouldn't be allowed to do Biblical epics anymore... They get them all wrong... They couldn't have gotten this version of "The Ten Commandments" anymore wrong if they had used the same script as the 1956 Charlton Heston movie.

Moses... has blue eyes... so does the Egyptian queen. *All* of the little children look like they got plucked off a playground somewhere in white-bread America, though they were all dark-haired. The Hebrew slaves have possession of Joseph's body in an entirely unadored tomb among the slave hovels and hold secret meetings of rebellion in his tomb over his bones... I seriously doubt it... The Hebrews are also fairly modern looking, despite the rags, greasy hair and beards, and they don't look in the slightest bit Semitic. Incorrect pronunciations abound.

Moses grows up to be Dougray Scott... who doesn't have a shaved head underneath his wigs and head-dresses. His foster brother grows up to be Naveen Andrews (Sayid on "Lost"), who also doesn't have a shaved head under his head-dress... Moses saves a Hebrew woman from being raped, that's how he kills an Egyptian guard, not saving a man from being flogged. I also love how immediately outside the city walls is the desert... no nothing except sand and wind. And not Egyptian sand and wind... It looks like Morocco, and a rocky and flat part of Morocco at that! I just love the (not!) the sociological implications of this version of the Exodus... Hebrews who look like modern Ashkinazic Jews and Moroccan extras at best... Egyptians for the most part look like what would read as "foreign-looking" to "Middle America," their skin noticeably darker than the Hebrews and their pomp and circumstance. It all accentuates the differences between the Hebrews (the upright, G-d-fearing, forbearers of Western religion) and the Egyptians (the polytheistic, backward, slave-owners who were on "the true G-d's" bad side in the this story)... If you don't believe me, I welcome you to tell me just why Dougary Scott as Moses looks more and more like Jesus in a classic blue-eyed European Christian art kind of way the further into the story it goes. And Miriam, played by the lovely (cause I really do adore her) Susan Lynch (Rebecca in the A&E mini "Ivanhoe" - she looks like that kind of Jewess, although she's Irish), is downplayed *so* much... She hardly says a thing and most of the time is just lingering in the background somewhere. It's not like she had a huge role to begin with, being a prophetess notwithstanding, and ABC's version makes it even smaller. It's disappointing. I'm not even going to go into how they did the parting of the Red Sea (which should have been the Sea of Reeds) thing... It looked a lot like the Disney "Prince of Egypt" version, but *obviously* CGed, instead of animated.

I *so* wish they would *stop* doing this kind of thing! Just stop! It's wrong...

Should people not tell the story in dramatic ways? Of course they should, just as they should any other history and not only because it is a religious commandment for Jews to tell this particular story. But I wish that they would do it right! Using actors who really look the part... And, I don't know... be avant-garde enough to consult some actual Biblical scholars as to what they're pretty sure *actually* happened, due to critical textual analysis and archeaology, which contradicts the traditional version... You know, the Hiksos, the controversies over the plague discrepancies and the number of tribes coming out of Egypt, the far fewer people involved, the "Sea of Reeds" vs "Red Sea" misunderstanding (no, they *aren't* the same thing... one's a marsh and the other's an actual sea... guess which one they actually crossed? That's right, the marsh... Not as dramatic to see a marsh suddenly have some dry land, is it?). For a change, it would be nice not to see a party line dramatization of the Exodus.

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