Gods of Egypt tells the fantastical, and I do emphasize fantastical tale of the bitter Set (Gerard Butler), a god of darkness and chaos who overthrows his brother Isis (Bryan Brown) on the day that Isis was planning on passing the crown down to his son, the lazy Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), god of the sky. Once Set has killed his brother and beaten Horus in battle, the other gods and mortals quickly fall under Set's brutal rule. With Horus blinded, exiled and clipped of his wings, what little opposition is left is easily dealt with. These two young lovers, Beck (Brenton Thwaites) and Zaya (Courtney Eaton) are forced to live under Set's rule with Zaya being forced to work for Urshu (Rufus Sewell), the smartest mortal. Zaya starts putting a plan together that will allow Horus to regain his sight and overthrow Set's tyrannical rule. Bek is skeptical of the gods, but he trusts Zaya and she believes in Horus, so he agrees to go after Horus' eyes based on information that Zaya has gathered for him.
Let's address the elephant in the room first, the cast. The gods were a fair mixture I thought, the only one who struck me as being white was Horus, all the rest had some color to them, not that it should really matter, the gods were not Egyptian born, they were gods. The only one who really struck me as being distractingly out of place was Bryan Brown as Isis, but apparently because they filmed in Australia they had to cast so many Australians in roles. Thoth (Chadwick Boseman) was the only black god that was given any depth, there were other black gods, but we never got to know them. Chadwick Boseman had this weird English inflection in his voice too that distracted me almost as much as Bryan Brown did. I wish he would have dropped the accent.
With contentious movies like this you're never going to please to everyone, but I think they did a reasonable job balancing the cast out. Professional anthropologists can't even agree on the racial makeup of early Egypt, so what the hell chance do I have? All the professionals can agree on is that Egypt was the racial melting pot of its day, so it looked diverse enough to me. But this movie made no claims whatsoever of being factual or historically accurate to any degree. Like I said, this is pure fantasy. This is not a documentary. It has giant scarab beetles, snakes and mecha-suits of some sort, realism was not this movie's goal.
The movie itself was a mess from start to finish. The screenwriters must have patched this thing together, their only other credits are The Last Witch Hunter and Dracula Untold and all three suffer from the same sort of thin development, ridiculous scenarios, vague mythology, an erratic narrative and predictable dialogue. The editing was horrendous as well, but I've no doubt that stemmed from the script. Gerard Butler does an admirable job of injecting some life into Gods of Egypt, but his screen-time is limited. We spend most of the time with the grumpy Horus and the lovesick Beck.
Hathor (Elodie Yung) the goddess of love and beauty appears throughout the movie and she felt like a welcome addition, but again, her screen-time is short. The action was your typical frenetic and hyper edited blur of super shiny movements. There was also a lot of terrible green screen work. Admittedly it wasn't all bad, but it wasn't far short of it either. I did like the 'attempt' to bring Ra and Apep and their never ending battle into the story line in such a big way, and Anubis and the Underworld was a cool bonus as well. The gods battle transformations were pretty sweet too. It was all visually interesting and ambitious if nothing else. However the script and dialogue is so banal that it all gets tiresome pretty quickly.
Gods of Egypt is practically the hero's journey trope 101. It almost felt like a Percy Jackson movie to me. There's very little in the way of emotion or surprises in the story, and it's one of those movies were things just happen with very little coherency or flow. No real suspense or immersion was developed, nor was there an emotional investment of any kind. Instead it just felt increasingly tedious at the minutes ticked on by. I like to give Alex Proyas the benefit of the doubt too, but what a waste of $140 million dollars. I guess he's got bills to pay like everyone else does.
Written by - The Sentry - 25/02/2016