Director: Alex Proyas
Cast: Brenton Thwaites, Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Chadwick Boseman, Geoffrey Rush
Release: February 26, 2016
Review Author: Tony
Rating: 1/5 of the mouldiest can of beer
So I mentioned in my Kung Fu Panda 3 review that at this current moment I don’t have as much time as I’d like to see the latest releases, my free time is literally more valuable than any treasure in Egypt. Yet due to what I can only perceive as poor judgement I chose Gods of Egypt. Look, the warning signs were there, from an awful trailer, white washing cast controversy and god awful reviews yet I held onto some strange hope that Alex Proyas (director of The Crow, Dark City) could produce a passable fantasy film.
I grew up watching campy old fantasy films loosely based on mythology from Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts, the 7th Voyage of Sinbad and read books based on Greek, Egyptian and Norse mythology religiously, so I have to admit I’m rooting for a decent one of these films. Well ladies and gentlemen it looks like I’m going to be waiting for a while because not only has Gods of Egypt dampened my hope it also flat-out hurt my feelings with its incompetence.
I’ll address the casting controversy first, I don’t think there’s a single Egyptian cast member is in this film yet its two biggest stars hail from Scotland and Denmark and are both whiter than Christmas. White washing has existed since the start of film and remains to be a touchy subject especially recently. However I truly believe that any Egyptian that could have been cast in this film has been spared from true embarrassment.
It’s been such a long time since I’ve seen a film with zero redeemable qualities and it truly reminds one how poor a film can be no matter the budget or even dare I say it, the talent that is involved. Director Proyas showed in the 90’s he had a talent and unique vision with cult classics The Crow and Dark City. Unfortunately Proyas’s talents faded as he was handed bigger projects with larger budgets.
From the beginning narrative Gods of Egypt establishes that it’s a fairly silly film with a world that is flat and Gods who are twice the size of humans who bleed gold. The god Horus seeks revenge on his uncle Set who murdered his father and took his eyes. Aided by the mortal Bek, a thief who seeks Horus’s help to save his girlfriend from the underworld both set out to return Horus to the throne of Egypt. While at least the film recognizes it silly it somehow also leaves out any fun that could have juxtaposed its campy setting. The film relies heavily on CGI which really isn’t up to scratch making parts of the film look animated with live action characters uncomfortably standing in frame. Random scenes just follow one after the other with little explanation as to why they occur, for example we find out at the end of one scene that a guardian has a riddle for them so the next scene is getting the guy who has the riddle, then the next scene is the place where the guardian is and he’s guarding an item of importance that’s for the next scene. It feels like collecting items in a video game to progress to the next stage.
The worst aspect of this shit show for me was the dialogue, most lines are delivered as poor exposition to move the plot to some new bizarre location or to try to explain the mythology of the film but as we neither know or care about what is being referred to it never really matters. There’s so many one liners which are played for laughs yet the audience I shared the screening with responded with bewildered silence beside the few good Samaritans who forced a laugh to try compensating for the ticket price.
Performances range from pure cheese to painstakingly phoned in, looking at you Geoffrey Rush, the only actor who seems to commit is Gerard Butler who’s so over the top it’s almost admirable. Brenton Thwaites proves to be utterly detestable as an unfunny, dickhead Aladdin rip off and when you don’t like the protagonist it’s pretty hard to invest any interest in the story. I was interested to see Chadwick Boseman considering how hyped I am for the Black Panther movie and if I can say one positive thing about his performance is that he really commits, unfortunately the character he commits to is so ham-fisted it’ll leave you fed till Christmas dinner.
I suppose I have to say a few positives about the film, here it goes……. Gerard Butler is pretty cool; Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is great in Game of Thrones and the CGI would make for some cool cut-scenes in a PlayStation 2 game. Perhaps the most positive thing I can say about Gods of Egypt is that we need films like this to set the benchmark for what defines a bad movie, sometimes we lose sight of what a truly terrible film looks like and judge sub-par films too harshly, Gods of Egypt can now give us a new perspective on what truly awful film making looks like.