Gods of Egypt is an Abomination

High hopes were strong for visionary director Alex Proyas to come back after a seven year hiatus and give us a visual “Egyptian” movie the world deserves after the atrocious outings of year’s past, cough CLASH OF THE TIANS, cough EXODUS: GODS AND MONSTERS, bus sadly it appears Proyas set these two as his benchmark and did everything to allow them to remain the best in recent years. The Wire calls it “the worst thing to hit the Nile since the Asps” and Rotten Tomatoes calls it an “Epic Fail!” I was hoping it was just the pompous high paid critics that would hate it and Kernel Blake would love it but alas he hated it more than them. And he called my one of my Aussie actor faves, Brenton Thwaites an Ikea chair (damn you Kernel!). GODS OF EGYPT is out now from Entertainment One, it is rated M and runs for 127mins. Enjoy Blake’s decimating “honesty,” all the best…….JK.

 

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BY JASON KING

Alex Proyas has had a solid bank of films under his belt as director over the years, from the classic Brandon Lee starring THE CROW, to the sleeper (no pun intended) noir of DARK CITY to the entertaining sci-fi I, ROBOT with Will Smith. It is out of my liking of those films that I considered writing a kind review for his latest effort after seven years in the wilderness, GODS OF EGYPT. Alas, I am an honest man and thus, you shall receive an honest review.

GODS OF EGYPT is terrible. Any film that can make the similarly themed, CLASH OF THE TITANS look like a cinematic masterpiece is in for a rough ride and it’s rare that within the first few minutes you know you, as an audience member, are in for a rough ride as well, when there is still another two hours and five minutes to go.

Much has been made about Proyas’ decision to ‘whitewash’ the cast in the Egyptian based effort, especially considering Proyas himself is Egyptian, albeit moving to Australia at a young age. The fact this film was shot in Australia is evident from the opening scenes where we are introduced to two young lovers in an unnamed ancient Egyptian city, with acting so wooden, it’s as if they were cast from the pages of an IKEA catalogue.

 

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The young lovers, a thief named Bek (an Egyptian played by Australian – Brenton Thwaites, THE SIGNAL) and the bountifully bosomed Zaya (an Egyptian played by Australian – Courtney Eaton, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD), try their hardest to sound British in downtown Egypt but can’t quite hide their Aussie roots.

We are then introduced, via voice over, to the mythology for our story. Gods reign over the lands, with King Osiris (an Egyptian played by an Australian – Bryan Brown, COCKTAIL) looking to pass the torch to his son Horus (an Egyptian played by a Dane – Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, GAME OF THRONES’ own King slayer) in front of thousands of adoring mortals who worship at the feet of the gods that tower above them.

However trouble is afoot, when Osiris’ brother Set (an Egyptian played by a Scotsman – Gerard Butler, 300), once banished to the desert to rule over the wastelands, arrives to take on his brother and claim his right to the throne. Deception is at hand and we are treated (?) to a fully CGI fight between Set and Horus, who have turned into metallic flying dogs and falcons respectively, because that’s what the gods do. Apparently.

 

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Bested in combat by MechaDog, Horus unceremoniously has his eyes plucked out, robbing him of his strength and power. And sight, I guess. With Set assuming the throne, Horus is banished to a tomb in the desert to live out his days in darkness. Meanwhile, back in the magic kingdom, Set (who would twirl a moustache if he had one) sets out to destroy those who would oppose him, be it mortal or god.

IKEA chair #1, who seems to have an endless supply of makeup and lip gloss in ancient Egypt, believes that Horus is humanity’s only hope of survival against the tyrant Set and enlists her lover, IKEA chair #2, via power of her heaving breasts, to steal Horus’ missing ocular balls and return them to the banished god, in order to give him his power back, so that he may return peace to the land. Sound ridiculous enough yet? Wait, it continues.

Much terrible acting and CGI later, IKEA chair #2 indeed returns an eye to Horus but tragically loses IKEA chair #1 to an arrow to the chest, whose boobs didn’t help her there. Horus is unable to save chair #1 who is taken to the underworld but Anubis, god of the dead or something and our one eyed god along with his barstool friend embark on a journey to save the world and rescue the dead chair from the underworld. Even typing this is making me stupider.

 

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Their journey involves run-ins with giant cobras being riding by half snake people (?!), the God of Love and Horus’ old flame, Hathor (an Egyptian played by a French-Cambodian – Elodie Young, soon to be Elektra in DAREDEVIL), ManBearPigs, fire pyramids and oh yeah, Ra the creator of everything (an Egyptian played by an Australian – Geoffrey Rush, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN) before an inevitable showdown with big bad Set, who has now taken all the best parts of each god and infused them into his MechaDog form. Turning into SuperMechaDogGodMan. Seriously, it’s like a rejected episode of the Power Rangers.

In the end, good beats evil, a god gets his wings back, boy gets girl and everyone lives happily ever after. Yet, we in the audience still have no clue as to what Set’s plan was or why most things happened. Mainly, they happen because…reasons and that seems like it was enough for GODS OF EGPYT’s script to get greenlit and Proyas given USD$140 million (what, really?!) to make this.

 

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Credit where it’s due, Coster-Waldau gives it his all but is a long way from the roguish Jamie Lannister of Westeros, Rufus Sewell is up to his usual sneering villainy best and there is a fun scene or two with the God of Knowledge, Thoth (an Egyptian played by an American – Chadwick Boseman, soon to be the BLACK PANTHER in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). That’s about as much praise as this film will get from me, on the whole I’ve struggled to think of a film I’ve seen in the last few years that has been worse.

With the director and cast involved, GODS OF EGYPT should’ve been at least in the so bad it’s good category but unfortunately for fans of Proyas’ filmography, GODS OF EGYPT is just so bad its bad. More terribad than wondawful and that’s a real shame, just lucky Boseman and Young got their roles with Marvel before casting directors saw this.

 

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Kernel Blake is a part-time beard bandit, philanthropist, industrialist….bicyclist…photographer, world traveller, movie lover, a man of few words who enjoys the finer things in life, like reciting Snake Plissken quotes. And when all that fails, heads out to a racetrack to do skids. Can be found twatting @bcurrall80 and hipstergramming @bcurrall80

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor/publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.