As someone who saw and enjoyed the previous movie in this series when it was also released for a Fathom exclusive , I have to say that this is the sort of film that I can easily appreciate. The filmmaker, who has a second part to this film already lined up to premier in early May, is an appealing sort of figure as someone who has strong and somewhat unconventional opinions but politely and doggedly pursues truth without being particularly offensive about it. Generally speaking, he manages to have interviews with people of diverse opinions, some of which he agrees with more than others but all of which help him to understand the nature of viewpoints and also to avoid causing offense by presenting his own views. That said, the mildness of the filmmaker, who makes an appealing writer and director as well as moderator of a variety of different people who present wildly different ideas about the Exodus, should not disguise the fact that his views are quite different from most. If he avoids coming off in an extreme fashion, that is likely because a great many people confuse the extremism of people’s opinions with the vehemence that they defend them with, and the author is nowhere near vehement in his discussion of anything.
This film begins rather slowly, and takes a lot of time to get to the point where one can see any sort of evidence at all for the Exodus ideas that are being presented. The author correctly notes that there is a distinct difference between what he calls Egyptian reasoning and Hebrew reasoning in terms of how big God’s actions being conveyed are and how large of a miracle would be involved. I would tend to be strongly in the Hebrew view myself, but the filmmaker is fair-minded with those in the Egyptian camp and notes that some people have a bit of overlap. The best moments in this particular film are the little moments where the author reveals himself to have a sly and ironic sense of humor, such as when he and one of the people who believes in a Gulf of Aqaba Red Sea crossing explore the Sinai peninsula to find it is flat enough to walk through fairly easily and also prone to rain during the time of the spring, allowing for crops and people to find water in accordance with the biblical account. If this film doesn’t provide quite as much evidence as one would hope to support its conclusions, it does at least provide some interesting food for thought about the plausibility of a longer Exodus journey made in considerable haste followed by a slowing down as Midian and Mount Sinai was approached, and that is a solid start.
If there is one area where this film falls short of its predecessor it is with regards to the quality of the post-film panel. The first film had a diverse panel where there was significant disagreement between the perspectives involved, including Jews and Christians as well as those who were neither. In this particular panel, which the moderator viewed as the best panel ever, were three people whose viewpoints were practically identical and who never once disagreed with any of the others. That said, if the panel was a bit more of an Amen corner than I prefer from such things, the film did a much better job of being diverse in its interview subjects, some of whom were in the last film, and some of whom make entertaining cameos. It is unclear if the Red Sea Miracle really needed to be a two part film, as there could have definitely been some editing here to capture the best scenes. But as far as films go, this is an easy documentary to enjoy so long as you appreciate the Bible