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Friday, February 26, 2016

Gods of Egypt

Just so, so, so lame...

And yet I DON'T love it anyway!

This review is also up at Channel 24.

What it's about

A mortal thief teams up with the Egyptian god Horus to try and stop the latter's uncle, Set, from bringing Egypt and the rest of the world into darkness in his quest for ultimate power.

What we thought

Way back in the late 1990s director Alex Proyas delivered one of best science fiction films of the decade in the occasionally flawed but largely brilliant Dark City. Sadly, since then he has struggled to match it with much less impressive fare like I, Robot and Knowing. Who ever would have thought he would sink so low, though, that his first film in seven years would be one of the more embarrassing examples of the ever more embarrassing sword-and-sandals fantasy genre.

Gods of Egypt is an overblown, overlong and over-CGI-saturated mess that is saved from an even lower rating only by the fact that, for a while at least, its sheer, unapologetic naffness is almost kind of endearing. Unfortunately, any humble charms it might have had in its earlier sections are completely eroded away by the end as the level of bombast and godawful CGI swallow up anything and everything in their wake.

Ancient Egyptian mythology isn't quite as exceptional as its Greek counterpart but it surely deserves better than what is little more than a glorified toy commercial for a line of toys that I'm reasonably sure are never actually going to be made. This has much less to do with Egyptian mythology than even those terrible Wrath of the Titans remakes had to do with... is it Roman mythology, I forget? This is much closer to something of a mix between Transformers and the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers but somehow even lamer.

Needless to say, the dialogue, acting and, yes, sadly, direction are universally poor but it's amazing just how bad its “special” effects are. Not only does it apparently rely purely on computer-generated, rather than physical, effects – someone didn't learn the lessons of the Star Wars prequels – but those effects are all but entirely crap. Compare these glaringly weightless and extremely fake-looking effects with the seamless blending of CGI and physical effects in Star Wars: The Force Awakens or the Revenant to see just how anachronistic this film truly is. If it weren't for the fact that the women in the film are uniformly gorgeous (and yes, the men are mostly super buff, if you're into that sort of thing), it wouldn't even work as an innocuous piece of eye candy.

I suppose at this point it would be worth wondering what people like Gerard Butler, Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Geoffrey Bloody Rush are doing in this trainwreck of a film but, honestly, they are, if anything, even worse than the less well-known members of the cast: a sure sign of phoning it in for the paycheck if I've ever seen one. Of course, Butler has spent at least half his career in godawful movies and I could name at least a couple of films in which the other two appeared that are well below their talents, so it's not exactly like it's that surprising.

All in all, the lame but amiable early sections do elevate Gods of Egypt out of the very bottom of the trash heap but really, only the most undiscerning of movie goers need apply.

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