MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Gods Of Egypt’ mixes old with new, still sucks

gods of egypt

Film: Gods Of Egypt
Directed by: Alex Proyas
Starring: Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites

There’s something really admirable about Hollywood’s eagerness to keep pumping out loud, big budget, mythological epics with the hope of striking gold. It sometimes provides auteurs with a chance to run rampant through centuries-old material while making it their own. I’m in the minority here that thinks that Tarsem Singh’s Immortals is one of the most beautiful sword-and-sandal blockbusters to come out in the past decade. Gods Of Egypt is another one of those “grand visions,” providing a giant canvas for director Alex Proyas to play around with. Unfortunately, the brush strokes are broad and the colors got muddled together before hitting the surface. What we see here is an odd, ofttimes goofy battle between gods that seems burdened by comic book cinema. Imagine 2010’s Clash Of The Titans but with an even less engaging story and more in-your-face battles.

In a world dominated and run by giant gods, skeptics like Bek (Brenton Thwaites) believe that his city’s rulers are a bit too big for their britches. After Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) gets dethroned and exiled by Set (Gerard Butler), the world descends into madness. Bek is forced to team up with Horus once his main squeeze, Zaya (Courtney Eaton), is sent to purgatory prematurely. What blossoms is an adventure to restore the world to its prior glory.

I’m just going to go out on a limb and say that Alex Proyas is one weird dude. I mean, he made The Crow, Dark City and the bonkers Nicolas Cage flick, Knowing. The man certainly doesn’t like to take a concept and keep to the path of least resistance. As a matter of fact, Gods Of Egypt is all stuff on the path of least resistance and in the worst way possible, too. His camera barely affixes for more than a few seconds before doing frenetic tricks like 360-degree slow motion camera sweeps around completely computer generated environments. It’s like a bunch of money shots filled with stuff that was only halfway done. All of the visual effects would belong in a Roger Corman production or a Golan and Globus one, but here everything is played against a turgid “chosen one” storyline and a universe shoddily introduced and explored.

Gods Of Egypt actually has all of the ingredients to be an entertaining bad movie, but that isn’t the reality. For all of the gonzo mythological shit thrown into a blender—like Set turning into a metal-clad horse monster or the sun god turning out to be a nonplussed gatekeeper of the universe—everything just turns out extremely dull. Chadwick Boseman, who plays the god of infinite wisdom, Thoth, at least hams things up to add some spice to a bland story. For a movie that has a million rushed action scenes like it has to get somewhere, it’s a real slog to get through the two-plus hours of this thing.

There’s this “grand vision” lying in Gods Of Egypt somewhere. There’s even some okay bits about breaking the veneer off of these gods’ respective vanities in there. It’s simultaneously a callback to the trashy ’70s and ’80s mythological epics of old but mixed with the comic book conventions of new. Oh well, moving on.

GRADE: D

Sam Cohen

Sam Cohen is that guy you can't have a conversation with without bringing up Michael Mann. He is also incapable of separating himself from his teenage angst (looking at you, Yellowcard). Read on as he tries to formulate words about movies!
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