Gods of Egypt Can't Even Ascend to Guilty Pleasure Status
- Jeffrey Huston Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2016 25 Feb
A bizarre excursion into big-budget moviemaking gone completely off the rails, Gods of Egypt is a bungled, boring, monotonous amalgam of 300 and Lord of the Rings that implodes into a "What were they thinking?!" train wreck. 1.5 out of 5.
Pulling loosely from various mythologies to contrive an entirely new one, Gods of Egypt is set in time long past when that nation was ruled by gods, and begins its story in an age of peace and prosperity. As the benevolent god-king is about to pass the crown to his son Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), the king's evil brother, Set (Gerard Butler), the ruthless god of darkness, returns to seize the throne and send the empire into total chaos. Bek (Brenton Thwaites), a young mortal who bears a personal vengeance against Set, forms an alliance with Horus to defeat Set and return Egypt to its glory.
Not much, aside from Marco Beltrami's movie score. His thrilling, sweeping compositions are suitable for a far superior action epic, giving Gods of Egypt much more of a cinematic tone than it deserves. It's also swiftly paced, yet at two-plus hours Gods of Egypt still overstays its welcome by a longshot. It doesn't even give us the best visual effects that money can buy, merely the most.
Nearly everything in Gods of Egypt fails in spectacular fashion. The digital effects overkill is bad enough, as are the gaudy costume and set designs (1990s TBN sets would be jealous), but what ultimately makes this all so tedious – even more than the mish-mash narrative – is the bland all-British/non-Arab supporting cast of supermodels trying to prop up good lead talent slumming for a paycheck. You almost have to respect director Alex Proyas's total commitment to over-the-top cheese... almost. Ultimately, you can't, because the grimy, grungy mayhem of this disaster doesn't earn the right to "guilty pleasure" status.
Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes
Aside from pat references to ideals of "good deeds, compassion, and generosity" made at the very end, Gods of Egypt is thematically flat, with the thinnest of "good vs. evil" constructs. Its ancient polytheism – which includes exploration into the afterlife – is clearly in contrast to Christian theology, but harmlessly so. This is pure fantasy that won't, and can't, be taken seriously.
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers)
- MPAA Rating: PG-13 for fantasy violence and action, and some sexuality
- Language/Profanity: Almost none. One S-word, one A-word.
- Sexuality/Nudity: Never explicit, but there are moments of sensuality. A woman massages a man's shoulders while he's in a bath, before he pulls her in with him as they kiss. Another scene of a man and woman in bed, kissing, and her bare back is seen (sex is suggested but not depicted). Another far more chaste scene of a young man and woman kissing in bed, fully clothed. A woman changes clothes behind a screen; she is briefly in a vague silhouette. Some dresses push up and highly accentuate cleavage.
- Violence/Frightening/Intense: A great deal of action violence, but never graphically depicted, including some stabbings, arrows shot into people, swordplay, and ancient combat, with some deaths. More "comic book" or teen-rated video game level violence than realistic. One scene of a god's eyes being gorged out, but since the eyes are crystals the action isn't bloody. There's also a good deal of pseudo-sorcery, magic, and supernatural creatures since this is a story of mythological gods, but nothing overly dark or spiritually oppressive in nature.
Drugs/Alcohol: Some drinking of wine during scenes of eating and celebration, but no open drunkenness.
The Bottom Line
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Everyone else.
Gods of Egypt, directed by Alex Proyas, opened in theaters February 26, 2016; available for home viewing May 31, 2016. It runs 127 minutes and stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Gerard Butler, Brenton Thwaites, Elodie Yung, Courtney Eaton, Chadwick Boseman, Rufus Sewell and Geoffrey Rush. Watch the trailer for Gods of Egypt here.
Jeff Huston is a writer/director/editor for Steelehouse Productions, a film & video production company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He also publishes a movie blog that can be found at hustonmovieblog.com, and is a member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. In 2015, his short film Pink Shorts was a finalist in HBO's Project Greenlight competition, and was one of six winners in that show's online "Greenie Awards."
Publication date: February 25, 2016