‘Gods Of Egypt’ Goes All In On Goofiness (Movie Review)

gods of egypt thumbTo say Gods of Egypt is in a league of its own would be an understatement. This fantasy adventure, functioning as a combination of space opera an Ancient Egyptian mythology brought to life, is gloriously stupid in a way that should be fun-bad, but sadly becomes too repetitive to hold onto even that sort of acclaim. One can praise this film for having a ridiculous amount of (poor) CGI used to create a compellingly goofy original feature, but that does mean sitting for over two hours to try and enjoy it.


gods of egypt 1

The ridiculous story involves Egyptian gods battling over power and control. Game of ThronesNikolaj Coster-Waldau is Horus, the rightful heir to the throne, but things go awry when his uncle, Set (Gerard Butler), kills Horus’ father and takes the crown for himself. Set also rips Horus’ eyes out for good measure, but thanks to a plucky young thief, Bek (Brenton Thwaites), Horus gets one eye back and makes a deal to help Bek bring his girlfriend back to life in exchange for help to take down Set.

There is a great mystery here, as one has to wonder where things turned a corner in regards to the film’s tone. A film this gleefully silly must be self-aware to some degree, but that likely wasn’t due to screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. These two are responsible for Dracula Untold and The Last Witch Hunter and they seem to be guys hired on to write the most basic stories possible, where any actor can be inserted to match bland personas and deliver an occasional joke to make sure we’re all having fun with what passes for dialogue.

Perhaps the performers are the ones to credit for the improved turn towards goofiness. Coster-Waldau and Thwaites are no Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom, but they do play well together. Butler is having a grand time playing the Scottish-accented Set with nothing but moustache-twirling villainy on his mind. I could try to say something about Elodie Yung and Courtney Eaton as the female leads, but the film barely tries to do anything with them, so why should I?

gods of egypt 6

Rounding out the gods, perhaps someday on Inside The Actor’s Studio, we might hear a great story from Chadwick Boseman (42, Get On Up and the upcoming Black Panther) regarding his choice of accent and mannerisms here. Perhaps his performance is the perfect encapsulation of frustration as to being the one black actor among the main cast members in a film about Egyptians. Then again, we have Geoffrey Rush as Ra, a performance that requires him to make insane facial expressions, while hurling fire bolts at a giant smoke worm creature in order to protect Earth. That’s a sentence so distracting that you may have forgotten how I brought up the issue of whitewashing the film.

It seems to be no matter at this point though, as Gods of Egypt has arrived in theaters, riding a wave of backlash for its casting choices, with director Alex Proyas steering the ship. Proyas, a visionary director who gave us an excellent (and very racially diverse) superhero movie back in the day with The Crow and one fantastic sci-fi/noir with Dark City, has not gone on to make features as compelling, with I, Robot and Knowing as his previous credits, but not for a lack of trying. At least with this film it appears as if Proyas was able to throw everything he wanted at the wall, regardless if it stuck. This is also why I propose he is the one who turned things around to make this film what it is.

gods of egypt 3

Rather than make Gods of Egypt super angsty and full of all the dark grittiness that populates so many other would-be blockbusters and supposed franchise-starters these days, Proyas goes big and broad. This film may be set on Earth, but it is out of this world with life and imagination when it comes to the visuals. Even when the film decides to repeat the same exposition once more or delve into the dramatics, there is always something grand and at least potentially astounding in plain sight. At $140 million, you’ll be sure to notice the money spent in the film, even if the effects are sometimes quite awful.

It is such a shame that Gods of Egypt is not more fun. At 127 minutes, this film is about as long as the original Clash of the Titans and certainly just as campy, but falls into obvious traps that I wish were avoided. Again, I blame the writers, as everyone else seems committed to make great fantasy trash. The ingredients are all here to make a film that bounces from one wild set-piece to the next, but too often does the film rely on the same outcome. Characters get to a location filled with traps and they escape by running away, jumping, and grabbing onto something at the last moment.

An interesting bit of trivia is how Gods of Egypt, an Australian production, shares over 200 of the same actors and crew with Mad Max: Fury Road. That in mind and as much as I like Proyas’ work on films featuring practical sets and other bits of visual imagination, it is clear why the action pales in this film. The modern trend of choppy editing and close-ups makes the action jittery and boring to watch. At least the film goes bonkers by having the gods stand 12 feet tall and occasionally morph into mech warriors with figures fit for robotic Calvin Klein advertisements.

gods of egypt 5

From the first preview I can’t say I was disinterested in what Gods of Egypt would have to offer. Casting problems aside, this is the kind of nutso original feature that could have been so wildly over-the-top that I could forgive its stupidity. To its credit, the film basically is that, but it has so much unnecessary padding and a lack of creativity when it comes to sustaining momentum as we are hurled around the world of this film. It is nice to see Proyas grasping at a big budget project like this but the ambition it took to get this film made was sadly undone by a lack of a stronger pulse. No, not even Scottish-Egyptian gods or Geoffrey Rush hurling fire were enough.

gods of egypt poster 1


2 Responses to “‘Gods Of Egypt’ Goes All In On Goofiness (Movie Review)”

  1. Gerard Iribe

    I liked it more than you did – big surprise! 3 out of 5 for me.

  2. Gabriel Bloomer

    It was definitely really bad… But it was a lot of fun.