REVIEW: “Gods of Egypt”

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You have to believe there are plenty of ingredients within Egyptian mythology to inspire a fun, sprawling fantasy feature. The gods, the symbols, and the lore seem ready-made for the big budget, eye-popping blockbuster treatment. You would think that, right? Enter “Gods of Egypt”, a mess of a movie that will instantly have you doubting that belief.

This was one of those instances where I couldn’t help but think “It can’t be that bad.” The trailers looked ridiculous and critics ripped this thing to shreds. But I grew up loving the silly, cheesy but self-aware science-fiction and fantasy movies of the 1980s. When it comes to those films I have a lot of tolerance and forgiveness. But “Gods of Egypt” is indeed bad, woefully bad.

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Where to start? I don’t know, how about with the story. Writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless already have a sketchy track record having penned the glaringly underwhelming “Dracula Untold” and “The Last Witch Hunter” (and working on the Power Rangers reboot for next year). “Gods of Egypt” easily fits within that catalog although its problems are significantly broader.

The story basically crosses the paths of a young mortal named Bek (Brenton Thwaites) desperate to save his true love from the underworld and Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Egyptian God of the air whose eyes were gouged out and his throne stolen by the jealous Set (Gerard Butler), the god of the desert. Bek sees Horus as his only chance to save his fiancé. Horus agrees to help under the condition that Bek gets him into Set’s stronghold.

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So there is a decent framework for a story…kinda. Unfortunately it hardly works on any level. Sazama and Sharpless gives us one uninteresting, paper-thin character after another and their stories are as bland as the characters themselves. It meanders through waves of lame character interactions, mind-numbing fight sequences, uninspired creatures, and boring plot contrivances.

And the performances don’t help. They range from passable (Coster-Waldau), to bad (Thwaites), to laughable (Butler), to downright weird (Geoffrey Rush in a role so absurd you have to see it to believe it). And it isn’t as if the dialogue helps them. Some of the lines these actors are asked to utter are mind-boggling.

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My expression exactly Gerard…

And then there are the special effects. At times it seems the script was written in service of the effects and not vice-versa. Director Alex Proyas is constantly trying to find ways for his CGI spectacle to take center stage. The visuals are all over the place. In terms of quality the effects are wildly inconsistent and sometimes shockingly gaudy for a film with a $140 million budget. That’s bad, especially since it is utterly dependent on it’s CGI-heavy presentation.

More could be said but frankly what’s the point? It’s such a poorly written mess. The direction lets the film down in scene after scene. Gerard Butler’s Nic Cage-like career decline continues. And Egyptian mythology was never so boring. I suppose you could have a “It’s so bad it’s good” type of experience, but to do so would requires a lot of face palms, head scratching, eye-rolling, and time checking. If you’re up to trying it by all means give it a shot. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

VERDICT – 1.5 STARS

1.5 stars

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44 thoughts on “REVIEW: “Gods of Egypt”

  1. Gods of Egypt reminds me so much of the fantasy films they used to crank out in the 60s and 70s (Golden Voyage of Sinbad and the like). I have to applaud them for at least trying to go with something semi-original (you don’t see that many films based on Egyptian mythology).

    • True. I touch on that a bit in the review. I grew up on those Sinbad pictures and on the silly but fun sci-fi fantasy stuff of the 80s. I really like those films for exactly what they are. But I just couldn’t get on board with this one even though I really wanted to.

  2. Oh, this movie was so bad that I don’t even know where to begin. On paper, it has all the right elements, but it was poorly executed and handled with some shoddy visuals and some cheesy dialogue scenes. Definitely going to be a top contender on my “worst movies” of 2016.

    • Ooooh Cindy, this is a real stinker. And I can excuse a lot of stuff if a movie hits the target it is aiming for. But this thing seems aimless. Just one head-scratching botch after another. Sigh…

  3. While I enjoyed the film a little bit more than you did, Keith, I have to admit this was pretty bad. I would compare it to the Clash of the Titans remake, but that movie was infinitely better. I liked some of the visuals in Gods of Egypt, it had some interesting ideas, but the execution was beyond sloppy. I expect better of Alex Proyas. I’m a fan of the director, he’s directed two of my favorite movies of all time: The Crow and Dark City, but Gods of Egypt is not particularly salvageable. Nikolaj-Coster Waldau is the only one here who is actually trying. Gerard Butler is being…well….Gerard Butler. Ultimately, though, I have to agree, Gods of Egypt was bad on nearly all counts.

    • This may sound funny but I really liked the Clash remake. I found it to be intentionally cheesy but lots of fun. I also think it had better creatures and better visuals. I was really hoping for something similar here. I think Proyas had too much to overcome. The story he is given is so poorly written and the performances…as you said, NCW was the only one that looked the slightest bit passable.

      • The Clash remake was a lot of fun, so was the sequel. When I first saw the trailer for Gods of Egypt, I knew it was going to be a train wreck, but I still went and saw it out of sheer curiosity. Oh, dear. This is the kind of movie you would expect from The Asylum, not from a major movie studio.

    • And it is aimless. I have a nostalgic lean towards silly, fantasy sci-fi films of past decades. I’m not sure if that is what this thing was trying to hearken back to. If so it fails miserably.

  4. Brenton Thwaites = automatic face palm. Ditto that for Gerard Butler nowadays. Sorry you had to go through this 😉

    • Oh man…so many other things you could point to or just outright laugh at. I mean what on earth is Geoffrey Rush doing??? My wife and I both sat there with our mouths hanging open in utter amazement (and not the flattering kind).

  5. The worst film I’ve seen this year, and probably one of the worst I’ve ever seen, but I was certainly entertained. I laughed more than I have done in some comedies. Geoffrey Rush as Ra fighting a giant worm in space on a silver skiff still brings a tear to my eye!

  6. Oh man, even 1.5 seems awfully generous Keith! I actually just listened to Mark Kermode’s review of this, he’s a British critic I enjoy listening to. This and London Has Fallen made #2 and #3 on his worst 2016 so far, can’t say I’m surprised!

  7. Yeah it’s awful but I do think it has some so bad it’s good laughs. I certainly liked it more than something boring like Independence day resurgence which wasnt even so bad it’s good

    • I am so thankful that I dodged Indepence Day. I’ll catch up with it on DVD but it sounds terrible. I do wish I could have found some laughs in this one. It did make for some interesting conversations with my wife afterwards! 🙂

  8. I’ve heard this was really bad even before reading this. It’s going to be a battle against my own curiosity for me. Like you, I’m occasionally guilty of asking myself “how bad could it be?” If I win, I’ll never see this. If my curiosity wins, I’ll find out the answer to that question.

    • Curiosity can be a powerful thing! It was a big force in bringing me to see it. I think the only truly great thing the movie provided was an incredible conversation with my wife afterwards. We both had so many fully thoughts to share about how shockingly bad the movie was.

    • Thanks! I did have a few ‘shake my head’ laughs. But overall it couldn’t even accomplish that. We set several times stunned at how poorly the whole thing is executed.

  9. This film was irredeemable, atrocious garbage. I guess it’s okay in a stupid “brain off” kinda way, but even that’s a stretch considering the talent wasted before and behind the cameras here. Ugh.

    • Your description is spot-on. And I too can handle a lot of that kind of lightweight entertainment. But this thing was just appalling. So bad.

  10. Hi. Totally respect your opinion. However, I do rate the movie much higher. I was very much delighted by the fact that this movie allows itself to go full-force into the fantasy realm. It does ressemble some 80s movies who (maybe unvoluntarily) realley committed to the genre. That is what i liked about the movie: it is colorful, wild, full of fantastic ideas. I very much enjoyed watching it. I’d rate it. 3.5/5.

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