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Not too long ago, we thought that Interstellar was going to be one of the longest movie released this year. Not that there's anything wrong with a long movie, but depending on what you're going to see, your interpretation of what constitutes as "long" will vary. That having been said, we've now got a new candidate for the longest film in 2014, as well as the film that will most likely divide the audience in two. That movie is Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods And Kings.
The IMDB page for the upcoming Christian Bale/Joel Edgerton epic clocks the movie in at a balmy 3 hours and 20 minutes. The only movie that could seriously challenge Exodus: Gods And Kings for the longest movie you tried to fit into your holiday celebration schedule is The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies, and even that film probably won't come close to what Ridley Scott hath wrought in digital 3D. But before you start lighting torches and marching to theaters to protest, there's still a chance that Exodus: Gods And Kings could be brought in with a shorter run time.
In addition to the fact that IMDb can be untrustworthy at times, the length of Exodus: Gods And Kings' can always change between now and the film's release date of December 12th. It wouldn't be too much of a shock if Fox asked Ridley Scott to cut his film to a more theatrically-friendly running time, only to let the project loose in its more complete form on Blu-ray and DVD. That exact fate befell his last religious period epic, the 2005 Orlando Bloom vehicle Kingdom Of Heaven. While the original 144 minute cut was a mixed bag with audiences and critics, the 189 minute version that hit home video was treated with a much kinder welcome.
The ultimate lesson here, of course, is that the length of a film doesn't matter, so long as there's enough story to tell in the time that's used. Given that the biblical inspiration to Exodus: Gods And Kings has always been fertile storytelling ground for filmmakers comfortable with over three hour running times, as well as Ridley Scott's gift of pacing and beautiful scenery, it wouldn't be that bad of a thing to let Exodus: Gods And Kings run its full course in theaters.
With fewer screenings available, the buzz on the film's running time (as well as what the content would be contained in that running time) could make Exodus: Gods And Kings a surprise hit like the epic biblical pictures of old. Or, the pendulum could swing the other way and audiences looking for more exciting holiday fare could see Horrible Bosses 2 or The Penguins Of Madagascar, which are both released a couple weeks beforehand and will most definitely be much shorter. In either case, while Exodus: Gods And Kings is far from the longest movie ever, it may have an uphill battle to overcome.
Exodus: Gods And Kings heads to the big screen on December 12th.