Sunday, April 20, 2014

My "The Ten Commandments" Nitpick

"Fuck you, Dicaprio, I'm the king of the world!"
...and no, it's not for the reasons you think.

"The Ten Commandments" is an undeniably great movie. A huge, powerhouse cast of Hollywood giants (and those who would go on to become Hollywood giants). Enormous, elaborate sets. Beautiful, Technicolor photography. A sweeping, epic story and a hero's journey. "The Ten Commandments" has it all. But that doesn't mean I don't have a bone to pick, and this is one that has bugged me ever since I first watched the film as a kid, so here we go!

The central problem is: Moses is a moron. Look, I get that finding out his true heritage was a big, emotional blow. And suddenly coming to the realization that slavery is wrong because now they're his people (when he didn't seem to have any problem with it before) is problematic. But he allowed it to consume him, and send him off on this half-baked quest. If he had been smart, if he had really wanted to help his people, he would have kept his big yap shut, waited for the Sethi (the Pharaoh) to croak, and assumed the throne that was all but being handed to him on a silver platter. Once he was in power, he could have enacted whatever changes he wanted, and served his people far better!

His adoptive mom, Bithiah, tries to tell him that.
"Cannot justice and truth be served better upon
a throne, where all men may benefit
from your goodness and strength?"
  His girlfriend, Nefretiri, tries to tell him, too. But noooo....
"When you are Pharaoh, you can free
your people, worship whatever gods you please."
"You mean to tell me that I could basically just
snap my fingers and make all of this suffering
go away? That seems way too easy."
My Moses story would have chronicled his meteoric rise to power over all of Egypt, and the subsequent adoration and economic prosperity that followed his freeing of the Hebrews slaves and preventing them from being treated as second class citizens. Jews aren't exactly known for not succeeding, right? Imagine what they could have done for Egypt after Pharaoh Moses freed them and gained their favor through fair treatment and a reasonable standard of living?

Hell, if he'd wanted to, he probably could have even been able to convert Egypt to Judaism, the way Emperor Constantine would later convert the Roman Empire to Christianity (the only reason Christianity is still around), thus serving his God better, too!

And all of this without the needless locusts, plague, blood, mud wallowing, mass murder, and crappy desert wandering.

"Of course, you'd still have to worry about me
sticking a shank in your ribs someday, but
one problem at a time.