An Unbelievable Accomplishment
“Gods of Egypt” is quite honestly amazing. I could not believe what I was witnessing. This movie defied all expectations for me and truly blew me away. One day I believe “Gods of Egypt” will be uttered in the same breath as “Batman and Robin” or maybe even “The Happening”. (You didn’t think I was going to say this was a masterpiece because of how well crafted of a film this is did you?) This is a movie that is utterly convinced that it is something that is massive and epic, on the levels of a “300” or maybe even a “Lord of the Rings,” that it is quite honestly comical how terribly it misses it’s mark.
I knew from the trailer this movie wasn’t going to be a serious epic with truly deep characters and well written narrative arcs. The trailer was actually rather fun and I thought this could be just a solid turn your brain off type of movie. In many ways I suppose it is. Part of me wants to love it for all the sheer ridiculousness, over the top (and many times poor) CGI/action and corny dialogue. But another part of me just wants to hate it for all the terrible plotting that it has.
I honestly couldn’t recite you what the exact plot is for this movie. This is very all over the place but at its basic core “Gods of Egypt” is about the mythology of Egypt. Egypt itself is a paradise and the Gods live among the mortal man, but are far taller than them and bleed gold instead of blood. A God rules over the peoples of Egypt and now it’s time for a new king, Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). However Horus is betrayed by his EVIL uncle and his eyes are taken from him and he goes into exile. Set (Gerard Butler) enslaves all of mankind. A thief (Brenton Thwaites) attempts to steal Horus’s eyes back and rescue his loved one (Courtney Eaton), and bring back the one true king of Egypt before Set unleashes his next terrible plan.
Trust me, just reading this aloud to myself sounds stupid enough but going into detail about the afterlife subplot and Set’s real plan (that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense) would make this movie sound even stupider (if that is even possible). Now in reality some of the ideas put in place here are actually some good starting points for a good movie. An evil uncle, and redemption for the exile hero worked well for “Lion King” and why shouldn’t it here? There is some other interesting ideas placed with the god of Ra and the afterlife that could have made good use of the real Egyptian mythology. It all lies however in the execution.
Sometimes though you need someone with a lot talent to make something really bad. Normally our go to choice for that is M. Night Shyamalan; but he kind of made a nice return for himself with “The Visit” so director Alex Proyas is the next candidate. Director of such films as “The Crow”, “Dark City” and “I, Robot” Proyas is a talented man behind the camera. I have to ask though, What went through his head when making this film? It just feels like nearly every creative choice he makes is the wrong one. The action is completely incoherent with an a strange choice to film everything with the camera spinning 360 degrees around the scene; the CGI ranges from the solid to the downright terrible. Some scenes go for an epic feel that will quite honestly make you laugh instead. I won’t criticize his casting choices here because that hardly the problem with this movie.
When I saw Gerard Butler was cast here, I should have known what I was getting myself in for. You might say he was trying to replicate the success of “300” but I get the feeling that Butler was the only person in this movie that knew what kind of film he was making. He is so incredibly over the top and plays the role so evil that it just makes me laugh thinking about. I love Butler in this movie so much.
The rest of the actors are not all that bad but all of them are playing the material so earnestly that is comes off as out of place. Look, Butler’s performance isn’t close to being good but he seemed to be having one hell of a fun time in this movie. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (from “Game of Thrones”) sort of plays it loose with a lot of one liners that…..just don’t work. Waldau is a likeable lead and we know he is a good actor from “Game of Thrones” (As one of my favorite characters Jamie Lannister the Kingslayer) and I hope he gets more opportunity to lead other films. I actually liked him in this movie as well. Geoffrey Rush plays it way too seriously that it comes across as goofy. Brenton Thwaites is a “discount” Aladdin and his love interest, Courtney Eaton are just fine, nothing more nothing less.
This has one huge glaring fault that keeps it from being perhaps a big guilty pleasure of mine. And that is the 127 minute long running time. My god, is that just unbearable. I could feel myself starting to fall asleep halfway through the movie. I honestly wonder how long some of the rough cuts were. Even at 127 minutes some scenes feel like they have been chopped in half and incomplete. That’s for the best though. If this was maybe another 30 minutes shorter this movie would have easily become a guilty pleasure of mine or part of a “so bad it’s good list”. But over 2 hours of this movie becomes just too relentless, even for me.
This isn’t a movie to check out in theaters but when it comes out on Blu-Ray this movie is prime for a solid rental or viewing. This is certainly worth viewing on those merits alone. Part of me wanted to give this movie a positive score for its entertainment value. But, I can’t in good conscious do that (and it’s overlong running time didn’t help it any further either). I suppose if you want to support “original” movies (that aren’t a remake or a sequel) then here’s your chance.