Gods of Egypt (2016) Review

director: Alex Proyas

writers: Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless

starring: Brenton Thwaites, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Gerard Butler 

genre: Action | Adventure | Fantasy

released: 25 February 2016 (Australia & Greece), 26 February 2016 (USA), 21 April 2016 (Germany)

This over-bloated Hollywood production is a misfire of epic proportions. It has some of Hollywood's best talent from cast and crew be a part of a film that followed sadly a trend that already was dead while it was in production and expected for no reason at all that audiences would eat it up. Fortunately, and in rightful fashion audiences weren't in the mood to shell out money for Egyptian Gods, when they already had a mouthful of bad, mediocre and inaccurate Greek Gods in this past decade.

story:

In the fictional land of Egypt, Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is ready to become king after his father's long and peaceful rule over the people of Egypt. His uncle Set (Gerald Butler) though will not allow the peaceful passage of power to commence, with him forcefully making himself to be the rightful king of Egypt. Horus unable to beat Set in battle for the crown will go into forced exile for the rest of his days not knowing if we will ever be able to get revenge and reclaim his kingdom.

Some time later and due to the cunning skills of a mortal who only wanted to please his loved one's favorite God Horus. Vows to help Horus take back the throne and see that Egypt is in the hands of the right God once again.

thoughts:

Let's first get out of the way the non-casting of regional/ethnic actors for the roles of the Egyptian deities and in general the people of Egypt. Now, I am always the first to protect Hollywood and say it makes sense that casts are chosen most of the time based on marketing reasons as it is a business and they must protect their investment. Sometimes though it is kind of silly as in the case of Cameron Crowe's recent film 'Aloha' and the casting of Emma Stone as a Hawaiian. Although, in other cases we can live with such decisions when notable actors are cast in films such as in the films 'Clash of the Titans' and 'Immortals'. As the actors in general looked the closest to the people of Greece, but still if we wanted to get technical about it of course they didn’t look exactly like Greeks, but who cares if they do or don't to the finest detail. As its not a matter of someone's casting being offensive or not, as I wasn't ever personally offended by an Irish man having played Great Alexander (Colin Farrell in Alexander) or for an English man to have played President Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln). As both actors looked the parts and sold it with their performances. If it was anyone else, it may not have been an offensive casting choice and performance, but instead maybe a ridiculous one.

More problematic though is when the director of the present film Alex Proyas says the film is a fantasy. Based on that if this film is a fantasy then why didn't he state that from pre-production and make it more obvious in the film's story and marketing. Also, why call your film 'Gods of Egypt' and use the actual names of the Egyptian Gods as it leads audiences to believe that they are Egyptian if this is "fantasy". But that didn't happen as they thought 'Gods of Egypt' would be a more profitable title then 'Gods of Z' or 'Conflict in Land X'. In the end, the joke is on them as the film didn't make a profit or lead to a series that they had initially hoped for.

Furthermore, it's quite ridiculous that so much money was spent on this film when anybody could have told them this was too risky of a production to go forward with. Especially with the trend of Mythological Gods being a faint memory to audiences even though it was barely two or three years since the last one. Also, let's not forget one of those films 'Clash of The Titans' was a brand name when it came out and had a grittier look to it. Then there were the film 'Immortals' that at least had a dark and distinct style to it to set it apart. And if we go even further there is the 'Percy Jackson' films that were a hit series of children books that were meant for the whole family. Here the vibrant look and adventure vibe narrative wasn't the best choice they could have gone with.

Additionally, the trailer of the film didn't even sell the best elements of the production. Which was its outstanding visuals at times and story themes. As when the film took itself seriously and played with those themes of mortality, world creation and went epic with its catalytic consequences of what it means to rule, while also showing how possibly a Egyptian god reality would work. Was where it was something to marvel at and admire. Instead, sold as this playful adventure of Gods where they would fight and all would be glorious and fun with puns, jokes and cheesy romances was something we have seen before and difficult that we would be interested again. If they had stuck with the God creator in the sky fighting an endless evil and the ego and insecurities of Gods to please their daddy for eternity, maybe they would have had some shot of recouping the costs and peaking people's curiosity. Although, even if these elements and themes were emphasized and sold to the public. It still would have been a weird film in of itself that couldn't escape the whitewashing backlash, terrible romances, cheesy lines and pitiful main character arc. Which I'm not even going to go into any detail about as what's the point.

verdict:

It may be unusual to see a Danish and Scottish man portray Egyptian deities, although it is weirder to see Hollywood be late to the party with a fad that wasn't even one of their best hits. And truth be told this isn't even one of Hollywood's worst attempts at making a buck. For all the film's inconsistencies and mistakes, it is still a mildly entertaining film that could be considered a fine guilty pleasure if you give it the chance.

Personal Rating:

review by P K

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