Exodus: Gods and Kings - 3D Collector's Edition review

Ridley Scott keeps faith in home cinema with the Blu-ray treatment of his Biblical blockbuster

Following the downright bizarre misfire of 2013's crime drama The Counsellor, Ridley Scott went back to doing what he does best – epic blockbuster spectacle – with this lavish re-telling of the story of Moses. Every bit of the film's $140million budget is there on the screen for all to see, although some of the storytelling decisions that have been made serve to make Exodus… a bit of a mess when you get past all of the epic grandeur. It's no Gladiator, basically.

Christian Bale (Moses) and Joel Edgerton (Ramses II) are both talented actors, yet the script does them few favours. The decision to have God tell Moses to take a backseat while He gets on with a series of plagues means that the main character is absent during some of the most iconic parts of the story. Meanwhile, despite early hints of being an arresting and conflicted character, Ramses II ends up becoming nothing more than a 'boo-hiss' pantomime villain.

Thankfully, the one thing that you can't call Exodus… is boring. From battles with a Hittite army to the depiction of the plagues themselves, Scott regularly conjures up the sort of cinematic magic that he's built a career on, and which has the power to keep you glued to your seat. If you're willing to treat Exodus… as a brainless blockbuster, you'll be on pretty safe ground.

Picture: Let's not beat around the burning bush: Exodus: Gods and Kings looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

The 2D AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode is a true work of art, impressing from the get-go with its visual acuity. The imagery is cleanly delineated throughout, the sharpness and clarity helping highlight the meticulous detailing visible in every shot. Colour presentation is also flawless, with the encode having no difficult reproducing the films' myriad vivid hues, including the gold finery of the costumes. Contrasting these are rock solid blacks that retain plenty of shadow detail.

Curiously, the stereoscopic MVC 2.40:1 encode (which gets a disc all to itself in this triple-platter Collector's Edition) isn't quite as immersive as we expected. Despite reasonable depth of field, volumetric effects feel underplayed and there's little that really wows. While there's no denying the technical excellence of the 3D BD encode, it doesn't really add much to watching Exodus…, which is a shame given the affinity Scott showed for the 3D format with Prometheus.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: This DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix is more than a match for the film's mind-boggling visuals. The entire soundfield is peppered with frequent surround effects, while dialogue and Alberto Iglesias' music are both presented flawlessly.

Naturally, the mix is at its very best when it comes to the set-piece action scenes. The attack on the Hittite camp (Chapter 3), Moses' guerilla attacks (Chapter 21) and the chase across the Red Sea (Chapter 36) all provide the sort of powerful, dynamic and immersive sonics that will delight audiophiles. 

In short, this has demo disc written all over it, although we do wish Twentieth Century Fox had bothered to implement the Dolby Atmos soundtrack that Exodus... had for its theatrical run.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: The 2D version of the film is accompanied by a pop-up trivia track (The History of Exodus), nine deleted and extended scenes, plus a fascinating commentary by Ridley Scott and writer Jeffrey Caine that is brimming with facts and insight.

Everything else is housed on a bonus hi-def platter, the centrepiece of which is the 153-minute, seven-part Keepers of the Covenant: The Making of Exodus: Gods and Kings documentary. There are also 14 additional Enhancement Pods (total running time, 48 minutes) that can be linked to while watching the doc or be viewed separately.

An additional featurette, The Lawgiver's Legacy: Moses Throughout History (23 minutes), explores the historical basis for the story.

Finally, there's The Gods and Kings Archive. Split into three sections (Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production and Release) this is a treasure trove of production art, photographs, pre-vis comparisons, storyboards, trailers, TV spots, posters and even a look at a typical day on the set, shot by the director using Google Glass technology.
Extras rating: 5/5

We say: A spectacular high-definition package for Ridley Scott's middling Biblical bash

Exodus: Gods and Kings – 3D Collector’s Edition, Twentieth Century Fox, All-region BD (2D) & Region A/B BD (3D), £28 Approx