Alright, there’s quite a few people out there that know that I was hyped to see this movie. Like, REALLY hyped. Almost more so for this than DEADPOOL (yeah, I know, “BLASPHEMER!!!”), but it’s true. The moment I saw the trailer for this, I was expecting something huge, epic, action-packed, stupid, and mindless, but most importantly, fun. And Gerard Butler yelling at the top of his lungs never hurts a film. In short, I was hoping for a “so bad, it’s amazing” film. So without further adieu, this is my honest opinion of GODS OF EGYPT.
The story follows human Bek (Brenton Thwaites) and god prince Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Bek is in a committed relationship with the beautiful Zaya (Courtney Eaton), and the two are madly in love, but Bek harbors apathetic feelings toward the gods, whereas Zaya loves them. Horus is about to be crowned the next king of all of Egypt, thanks to his father Osiris (Bryan Brown). A grand ceremony is being held for the future king, when suddenly, the god Set (Gerard Butler), uncle of Horus, shows up to show his support. Well, that ends up being a lie as Set murders his brother Osiris for the crown and defeats Horus in battle, taking his eyes as trophies, banishing Horus elsewhere. Under Set’s iron rule, any gods who opposed him were slain, and most of the Egyptian people were enslaved. Zaya, now a servant for a human working directly for Set, knows the only way to get Egypt back to its glory is for Horus to defeat Set in battle. In order to do that, he needs his eyes. She sends Bek into Set’s treasure room and manages to steal one of Horus’ eyes, but the other is nowhere to be found. Hellbent on getting the eye back to the blinded prince god, they escape their servitude… but not before Zaya is slain in their escape. Bek meets up with Horus and demands his help in bringing back Zaya, but he is unable to do so. After Bek reveals that he knows how to get Horus’ second eye back, Horus lies that there might be away to bring Zaya back from death, and the two begin a journey back to Egypt, hunted by Set’s agents and assassins.
And… I was a tad underwhelmed. Oh don’t get me wrong, it’s still a bad movie, and I still had fun… but not as much fun as I was hoping for.
The primary problem with the movie is that there’s a little too much talking. Director Alex Proyas (THE CROW and I, ROBOT) in an interview stated basically that this movie was not meant to be historically accurate or anything. Essentially, and this is where I decided to fill in the blanks, this was supposed to be a stupid, mindless, and fun fantasy-action movie. But for all that talk, the talking gets pretty boring half way through. A little too much emotional drama that no one gives a crap about. The main criticism I’d give a movie like this is, fine, you have characters in a romantic relationship. But pick a genre: bad-ass action film, or fantasy-melodrama (obviously, I lean toward one choice over the other). The trailer made it seem like that’s what this movie was going to be, but it’s deliverance kinda misses the bar of expectations. Not by much, but kinda.
Also, Bek’s annoying. Oh, what, was I expecting characters straight out of THE GODFATHER? Hell no. But you know what, it’s one thing to have bland or uninteresting characters that the writers half-assed on purpose. A boring character can be ignored and forgotten. In a movie like this, that’s fine, but when the character is so annoying and one-note about something that no one gives a shit about, it’s distracting and ruins any measure of fun you might be having. Bek ruins a lot of scenes.
Also, the final battle is pretty boring too. I know I keep going on and on about this, but, yeah, I wanted to see shiny gods having great and epic battle scenes against each other, fighting monsters and shit. But when you have the human versions fighting, when they are revealed to be able to transform into their god forms at will, it’s… kind of boring when they fight looking like people. Even if it makes sense as far as the story is concerned, it’s just not that much fun to watch.
But that’s enough about the bad. Does the movie have what the trailer keeps pitching: bad-ass action scenes with gods against monsters, god against gods, and all that good stuff? When it’s on screen, yes.
When the gods transform and fight, it’s pretty awesome. They get thrown into pillars, shit falls down, debris gets thrown everywhere, it is a lot of fun. When the monsters appear, they look big, intimidating, and pretty damn cool. There may not be enough of it, but when it is on screen, it’s great.
Despite the acting not being the primary focus, everyone does seem to be having fun with the roles they’re in. Butler chews the scenery as always. Elodie Yung as Hathor certainly seems like she’s having a blast being the center of penis attention, and is probably the best written character in the movie. All around, the performances weren’t dull. It’s only the character Bek that’s annoying, but I don’t blame Thwaites for that.
The CG is also pretty damn good. Never mind the grand scale of Egypt itself, or the god characters in their god forms, that’s all well and fun too, but… okay, this takes some explanation. The gods in their human forms are much taller than any human. I know this isn’t exactly a new effect, seeing a ten foot tall person standing next to a five-foot six person, but man it doesn’t get old. I imagine there was some cheating in the process, like just having a god character stand really close to the camera and cheat that the human character in the background is small, but when they’re side by side, it’s pretty convincing.
I guess now would be a good time to address an issue that other people have had with the movie: white-washing. The movie has been getting a lot of backlash over it; a white-dominated cast. Honestly, as I said before, this movie knew what it wanted to be and set out to make it. This wasn’t meant to be historically accurate or taken seriously. If this was a movie that was indeed supposed to be an accurate representation of ancient Egypt, then the backlash would be warranted. However, since the director went on record and said THAT WASN’T THE POINT, then I have a hard time taking the criticism seriously. This isn’t SELMA, folks. If Martin Luther King Jr. was cast as a white guy, I’d be up in arms about that horse-shit too. But this is GODS OF EGYPT. Pick a battle worth fighting, y’all. In a month, who’s going to remember this movie (besides me)?
So is this a recommendation? Yeah, I like the movie just fine if you’re in the mood to see a dumb fantasy-action movie. Didn’t quite meet the hype I had going for it, but for what it was, I enjoyed myself. I won’t cry if there won’t be a sequel for it, but I had a fun outing.
My honest rating: 3/5