The first in a planned 12-film franchise of Bible stories—Noah’s Ark will be next— The Ten Commandments renders the life of Moses in 3D computer animation. When the Pharaoh orders the death of the Hebrews’ infant boys, Moses’ family sets him afloat on the river in order to save his life. The Pharaoh’s daughter plucks him from the water and raises him as her own until he kills an Egyptian slave driver and is banished to the desert. Years later, God calls on Moses (Christian Slater, whose contemporary, nasal tone is a poor choice for the voice that famously utters, “Let my people go”) to return to Egypt and free the Hebrews, whom he leads toward the Promised Land.
The spiritual elements of the tale—such as the burning bush from which God speaks to Moses, the angels of death that descend to take the life of Egypt’s first-born sons and the pillars of cloud and fire that lead the Hebrews through the wilderness—are nicely imagined. But otherwise the plastic animation—the characters are stiff and shiny—looks like a cut scene from a mid-range video game. In fact, sequences that take place in first-person point-of-view suggest that the project could have been reimagined for Nintendo Wii.
Alternatively, condensed by 20 to 30 minutes, this Ten Commandments would serve as fine Sunday school tool.
Distributor: Rocky Mountain
Voices: Christian Slater, Alfred Molina, Elliott Gould and Ben Kingsley
Directors: Bill Boyce and John Stronach
Screenwriter: Ed Naha
Producers: John Stronach and Cindy Bond
Rating: PG for some mild peril
Running time: 88 min.
Release date: October 19, 2007