by: S. Scott Stanikmas – Senior Staff Writer
What has the world done to be subjected to Gods of Egypt? What was probably envisioned as a sandles-and-sorcery epic for a new generation was instead a plodding and hokey piece of cinema that makes the viewer wish they were the ones with their eyes ripped out instead of one of the main characters.
Set in an Egypt that was inspired by Egyptian mythology, director Alex Proyas gives us the ultimate in family feuds. Osiris (Bryan Brown), king of the people of Egypt, is ready to pass the crown to his son Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). But Osiris’ brother and Horus’ uncle Set (Gerard Butler) has other plans. Killing Osiris and ripping the eyes from Horus, Set takes over proclaiming himself King of all of Egypt. This means slavery for all mortals and servitude for every other god while Horus goes into a self-imposed exile..
Thief Bek (Brenton Thwaites) is now pushing stones instead of stealing goods while his love Zaya (Courtney Eaton) is a slave in the house of Set’s master builder. Zaya, a true believer that Horus will return, comes up with a plan that will bring fairness back to the land – steal the Eyes of Horus from Set’s vault.
Bek manages to swipe one of the eyes and steal away with his love. But in their escape attempt Zaya gets killed. Striking a deal with Horus, Bek agrees to help the god retrieve his other eye so that he may reclaim his throne. In return Horus will return Zaya from the afterlife to be reunited with her true love.
What the hell was Alex Proyas thinking when he took this job? This film is a long way from The Crow and Dark City. It’s like his work has been on a slow decline over the years and Gods Of Egypt isn’t doing him any favors.
The entire load can’t be put squarely on the director though. Screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless turn in a wholly uninspired script that makes their previous films (Dracula Untold and The Last Witch Hunter) look like quality cinema. I shudder for the Power Rangers film that these two will be working on.
I’m not going to focus on the fact that a film about Egyptian gods hired a cast that was almost exclusively Caucasian. That dead horse has been flogged enough. But the acting did seem really phoned in. The only person who really seemed to be enjoying themselves was Chadwick Boseman as the God of Knowledge, Thoth. Other than that everyone here was entirely replaceable.
And in a time where practical stunts and on location filming is making a comeback the CGI in this film is distracting. It makes the backgrounds in the Sin City films look almost lifelike in comparison.
In what might be the first big budget bomb of the year, Gods of Egypt drags its feet through the almost two-hour runtime. Even though it sets itself up for a sequel in the end I don’t think this a series that is destined to be labeled as a franchise.