Gods Of Egypt
As a ancient history major, I also love me some good mythology. The stories people used to tell are just as important as what those people actually did. They tell us so much about the culture, how they thought, what they valued, and how they were raised.
Gods of Egypt looks to not celebrate any of this and just go for an expensive CGI fest to tell a bastardized version of the mythology. Now, I have no problem with a movie making up its own stories from actual mythology. After all, if I don’t judge a film based on the book that inspired it, I should also be able to ignore the “real mythology” as well.
It is however quite well known from anyone who sees the trailers that barely any part of this movie is real. Just the actors, and honestly, probably barely at that. It was however one of the first of many new films to film in Australia. It had a budget of 140 million, but apparently thanks to tax incentives and many other offers from the Australian government, it only cost the studio overall 10 million to make. That means they will see profit. Maybe not in week 1, maybe not week 2, but by golly, at least by the DVD sales.
In honor of this film, here is an image that is 100% CGI.
Way back in the day, way back. Pre-Greek stuff. Egypt was a rocking country, parties day and night all down the nile. And Osiris (Bruce Spence), God King of Egypt, was about to pass the kingship on to his son, Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), God of the Air. But Set (Gerard Butler), God of the Desert and War and brother of Osiris, showed up a bit pissed off. He wants the crown, so he kills Osiris in front of everyone. He then challenges Horus to a duel, uses a few cheap tricks to win and secure his kingyness. He also pulls out Horus’ eyes, making Horus blind and unable to use most of his powers.
Now, a year or so later, Set is a very bad king. He is starting wars, he has reduced most of the population to slaves, and has changed the way the afterlife works! Under Osiris’ rule, you had to give a token after death to pass into the after life, big or small, it didn’t matter. Set made it so that only he very wealthy could pass on to the after life. Quite a dick.
Which brings us to Bek (Brenton Thwaites) and Zaya (Courtney Eaton), two poor mortals, now slaves, in love. Bek is a quick and nimble thief, Zaya is just smoking hot, but they make it work. Zaya even convinces Bek to break into Set’s palace to steal Horus’ eyes back. She loves the gods and want Horus to make a come back to rule the world. Bek does what Zaya says.
Needless to say, an eye is stolen, Horus gains some vision back, but Zaya is killed in the ordeal. Horus promises to bring Zaya back from the dead if he can get the eye and defeat Set, as long as this spry mortal continues to help him on the quest. But they have a time limit. Zaya is now walking the path of the dead, and if she gets to the end with no gold, her life will be lost forever.
Also featuring Chadwick Boseman as Ttoth, God of Wisdom, Geoffrey Rush as Ra, God of the Sun, and Elodie Yung as Hathor, God of Love. Also Goran D. Kleut as Anubis, Emma Booth as Memphis, Lindsay Farris as the narrator, and minor-ish roles by Rufus Sewell, Yaya Deng and Abbey Lee.
Look! Real people! Or at least I think these are real people!
First I would like to tackle the white washing controversy. A big deal is made about Butler and Coster-Waldau being white people and playing Egyptian gods. Because Egyptians aren’t that white. And that is true, but they are playing Gods, that tower over the regular Egyptian people as completely separate entities. They could all be blue, as it is all completely fictional and irrelevant. Besides, it is a film that is no way historically accurate and based completely on fiction.
They should be mad that Thwaites is super damn white, because he plays an Egyptian unlike most of the cast. None of this controversy affected my rating.
Instead, what affected the rating was the overly bloated film, the over use of CGI, the terrible plot, and the mediocre acting.
My wife asked me how long the movie was, and I guessed that it surely must be only around 90 minutes or so given the trailers. But no, it is 127 minutes long, full of side plots and side characters with barely any resolution being worth your while. Thwaites is playing our mortal lead, who is spunky and surprises all the Gods who think this mortal man is beneath them. He is there to be for the audience to root for, but his character is incredibly one dimensional. His charm is pathetic and most of the audience by the end probably just want to see him get punched in the face.
The main “plot” of the film involves Horus and Bek going on a journey to extinguish the flames of the desert to weaken Set’s power, so he can be defeated. Needless to say, things don’t go as planned, due to character stupidity, and they have to wing it all at the last minute to save the day instead. This is lazy writing. Twists and turns can and should exist in your story, but throwing away what everyone worked towards for bad reasons is only infuriating.
In fact, by the end, none of Set’s motivations make any sense. He wants to be immortal and to live forever. Somehow he will achieve that by ending all life as we know it. Go and figure that one out.
It is like a very CGI heavy Lord Zedd costume.
Anubis was in this movie! He was also the only God to be in his animal-esque form 100% of the time. For whatever reason, the other Gods (only Set/Horus) just change into their animal form when they feel like it, and everyone else is always human looking. So for Anubis they were just lazy I guess, and definitely inconsistent with how every other God acted.
And finally, the CGI. I can’t imagine any scene set on a real stage or outside. Even the desert scenes seemed to be completely CGI. Why the hell are you going to a desert country and not using its many resources? Oh yeah, tax breaks. The animation is bright, flashy, and ends up looking quite shitty most of the time. I enjoyed the giant snakes, if anything. Part of the craziness around Ra was also well done, but everything else is below quality.
Fun fact: Two of the women that Mad Max and Furiosa freed in Fury Road have parts in this movie.