REVIEW — “Gods of Egypt”
Gods of Egypt is a loud, dumb, CGI-fest from Alex Proyas (I, Robot), and proves to be little more than a myriad of video game cutscenes amazingly stretched across an unnecessary two hour running time. When Set (Gerard Butler), the god of darkness, usurps Egypt’s throne, it leaves the proud and powerful empire in despair. A mortal hero, Bek (Brenton Thwaites) partners with the Egyptian god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to combat Set and his slew of poorly-rendered, CGI monsters – and that’s all there is to Gods of Egypt.
Like most movies, bad as they are, there are positives to be found – Gods of Egypt features some cool-looking gods, an attribute that is infinitely more attractive to fans of the Transformers series than it is to viewers hoping to find anything even barely above surface level in a movie that’s as shallow as a plastic kiddie pool. No one goes to an actioner like Gods of Egypt for substance, they go for excitation, spectacle, and razzle-dazzle – but for every action sequence that looks good, there are two that don’t.
Poor CGI is the third wheel to the unhappy couple that is unfortunate writing and direction, which leaves Gods of Egypt a step-above a SyFy original movie. In another world, Gods of Egypt would have been released straight-to-video, and I’m not entirely sure this film wasn’t intended to be part of the endless Scorpion King series that litters store shelves.
Gods of Egypt is a tiring cutscene from the Playstation 2 era, complete with pixelated water. For a straight-to-video feature, that’s forgivable. For a big budget movie touting 3D and an IMAX release, it’s an unforgivable sin. Almost as unforgivable as the inclusion of the film’s bigger stars, with Butler and Geoffrey Rush – who exists on a space boat while he eternally combats an immortal tooth monster – seemingly appearing in the film under threat to their persons and/or blackmail. Chadwick Boseman, who plays Thoth, remains unscathed: with Captain America: Civil War and Black Panther on his horizon, there are only big things to come for an actor who deserves better. The mortal characters are responsible for the weakest performances, with Thwaites’ performance doing nothing but causing me to be concerned for his inclusion in the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
The white-washing controversy that plagued the production – Proyas and Lionsgate personally apologized for their lack of diversity – is the least of the film’s problems. At least when Gods of Egypt flops, no one will be able to lay undue blame at the feet of a diversified cast. It’s understandable putting King Leonidas as your main villain and slapping relative star Gerard Butler on posters, but it makes less sense to not feature a cast that is more representative of the region. The giant monsters – at best, cool, and at worst, looking like Wrath of the Titans rejects – aren’t enough to distract from Gods of Egypt‘s biggest failures, chiefly that it’s an unrewarding cinematic experience that will be forgotten by everyone except Lionsgate accountants.
Walk Like an Egyptian out of the theater and see Deadpool again instead.
Gods of Egypt: 2/5
★ ★ ★ ★ ★