Gods of Egypt
So finally we have the chance to see Alex Proyas’ Gods of Egypt, I would say fresh from it’s disappointing box-office on its release in the US, but that was back in February, so “fresh” is a word that seems unwarranted. However, was the critical slating, a merge 12% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the lacklustre box-office take fair? I decided to find out, and armed with low expectations, and a box of popcorn I ventured into the cinema to find out.
The plot sees the Gods of ancient Egypt living amongst their worshipers along the banks of the Nile. Bryan Brown (Cocktail, Australia) plays Osiris, the King of these particular Gods as well as the mortals of Egypt. We join the action as he is about to pass his crown to his son, a very able Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Oblivion, Game of Thrones) playing Jamie Lannister, sorry make that Horus. At the coronation Osiris’ brother Set shows up, with all the Paisley swagger a gruff Gerard Butler (300, Olympus Has Fallen) can muster, and throws a spanner in the works by killing his beloved brother, and ripping out his nephew Horus’ eyes. This results in making Horus unable to transform into Battle-Horus and fight back. So far, so ridiculous and bafflingly insane, and so we come to the point where you have a decision to make; go with it, or accept you’re going to have a miserable time.
Getting back to the plot, we now have Bek, ably brought to life by Brenton Thwaites (Oculus, Maleficent), and his girlfriend Zaya, portrayed by Courtney Eaton (Mad Max: Fury Road). Bek is a petty thief, and his girlfriend is a true believer in Horus. She get’s taken into slavery in the service of Urshu, a somewhat disinterested Rufus Sewell (Dark City, The Illusionist), who just so happens to be the architect for Set, and designer of the vault that is storing Horus’ eyes. Now, what would a fan of Horus do with this information when she has a boyfriend that’s a thief? I’ll leave you to guess, but now we have the impetus for the rest of the story.
Yes, this nonsense is convoluted, and there’s a fair bit to cram in before it even gets properly started, but Bek teams up with Jamie Lannister, sorry again, Horus, who gets one eye back, so now he’s only disabled slightly from his former fighting glory. There is tragedy, there are some triumphs, a little romance, brought mainly by Elodie Yung’s (G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) character Hathor, and Geoffrey Rush (Shakespeare in Love, Pirates of the Caribbean) shows up and adds a little acting weight as Ra the Sun-God himself.
Everyone knows what they are here for, and as summer block-busters go, it’s pretty decent fare. Coster-Waldau is square-jawed enough as Horus, and manages to come across more or less ok playing to the trope of the “arrogant hero learns his lesson and comes good”. Butler is a suitably boo-hiss baddie, with a plan that makes so little sense that a Bond villian would raise a well-manicured eyebrow. The supporting cast do fine, no more, no less. With Proyas (Dark City, The Crow) at the helm, the visuals are as sumptuous, pretty, and imaginative as you would expect, with the action zipping along at an impressive enough pace that you’re unlikely to be too bored.
Even before its release this film was criticized for its lack of sensitivity to the historical deities of Ancient Egypt, and for white-washing with its cast, but I feel this is somewhat harsh. In all honesty, if you were expecting anything even slightly accurate to the myths and legends from this part of the world, a Hollywood blockbuster was never the place to look for it. As for the alleged white-washing, I’m not sure any more culturally appropriate thespians would want anything to do with this movie. It’s a brainless block-buster, and if Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, the writing duo behind this as well as Dracula Untold and The Last Witch Hunter, had had any sense they’d have renamed the characters and called the film “Gods of Alpha Centauri”, at which point no one would have batted an eyelid.
This film comes down to a fairly simple equation. If you like brainless summer fare, and have a soft spot for Stargate or the Mummy franchise of the late 90’s early 00’s, then you’ll have a perfectly serviceable time watching Gods of Egypt. It’s true to say there is nothing of depth here, and there are plot-holes as wide as the Nile is long, but did we really expect anything more? The visuals are fairly sumptuous, and the acting adequate for the genre, and it does exactly what it says on the tin. If you are praying for more from your trip to the cinema, the Gods of Egypt are the wrong deities to be looking at.
- Sumptuous visuals.
- Standard blockbuster fare.
- Brainless fun.
- Convoluted and plot-hole riddled story.
- Nothing rising much above average.