Gods of Egypt – Movie Review
Gods of Egypt – Movie Review
Rating: D+ (Bad)
Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy eOne Films
Technology is in a great period right now, able to realise the many visions of their directors thought impossible many decades earlier. However, as has been said countless times before, all of the computers and special effects in the world are merely a tool. Millions of computer-generated extras and fight scenes will never mask a weak script. If one of the few compliments one can give to Gods of Egypt is that it’s pretty, there’s a problem. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this film, especially in light of recent calls for more diversity in Hollywood. While it seems a little out of place having an actor with a thick Scottish brogue playing an Egyptian god, that’s the least of the issues with this flashy but empty spectacle.
When Gods of Egypt begins, there is a lot of promise. Director Alex Proyas and his production team have spared no expense in recreating a fantastical ancient Egypt, with gold radiating at every corner. Almost all of the departments take a lot of lessons from the great epics of the Hollywood Golden Age when mounting the sets and designing the costumes. The scale of the gods towering over the mortals of the land has clearly been thought out and the consistency is kept through the entire film. The early sword fight between the villainous Set and his nephew Horus is decently choreographed and memorable. At the start, it looks like the film will have the scope and production values of a Ben-Hur and a Cleopatra and apply them to a story befitting the classic Ray Harryhausen B-movies. Then the rest of the film happens and those comparisons are immediately whisked away.
Most of Gods of Egypt consists of merely throwing one flashy action sequence after another at the screen. Eventually, it becomes a blur and leaves little room for proper character development or emotional investment. The special effects artists certainly put a lot of effect into them, but eventually the onslaught of vicious monsters populating the screen becomes tiring. The moment of boredom sets in during an extended sequence in which Geoffrey Rush’s Ra fights a creature that primarily has a lot of teeth and little else. It just gets more ridiculous from there. When the final battle begins, Gods of Egypt turns into a light show, hoping to wake the audience up with non-stop flying and clanging swords.
The cast is similarly disappointing, though their underwritten characters certainly don’t help. Brenton Thwaites’s Bek is a generically written protagonist with his performance looking like an audition for when Disney inevitably greenlights a live-action adaptation of Aladdin. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau merely grunts and grimaces through his performance and at no point does he become particularly likeable nor does he grow through the film. Gerard Butler shouts his way through the role, though in his defense, Set is written with a very basic motivation and he becomes a boring and un-intimidating villain as a result. Chadwick Boseman seems uncertain of which accent to give Thoth and yet feels weirdly underused, only appearing twice just to offer some tired comic phrase.
Gods of Egypt was an expensive production and all of the money is definitely on the screen. However, it feels like a video game where your friend is hogging the controller the entire time. One almost wishes the Game Grumps would start piping in with their commentary, because it would certainly make this glorified demo reel more entertaining. There’s no personal investment in what’s going on and no matter how many shiny effects appear on the screen, there is no reason to become interested in what is transpiring and the conflict that arises. The questionable casting will receive the most attention, but the script is frankly the biggest problem with Gods of Egypt and will likely be the main complaint from most people who watch it.