Gods of Egypt
Cert: 12A / 127 mins / Dir. Alex Proyas / Trailer
Now, I've complained about the San Miguel advert in another post, I know, but it played again tonight after the trailers and immediately before the film, like some unofficial sponsor of what was to come. 'How is this going to put in a good mood for a movie I'm already half-dreading?'*1 I thought. Then after five minutes, I saw the thematic link. Gods of Egypt stars Brendon Thwaites and Courtney Eaton as a young, naive couple, and both their mannerisms and delivery are worthy of that San Miguel advert! This was going to be a long night...
Blah, blah, ancient Egypt. Blah, blah gods walking among men. Blah, blah there's a good one and a bad one and they're going to spend two hours chasing each other and fighting through a CGI landscape while an annoying adolescent attempts to crack jokes, and also there's some lady-gods with barely constrained boobies For The Dads*2. You know the drill, you've seen it before.
The film's script weaves back and forth between pompous and excruciating, while the visual effects work on a sliding-scale between 'pretty slick' and 'Power Rangers'. From a production-design standpoint, the comparisons to Stargate are inevitable (and undeserved to be fair, given the film's setting), but for those of you into tick-lists, there are some serious visual nods to Clash of the Titans, Watchmen, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Assassins Creed and even John Carter. I'm also fairly certain I saw a carved glyph of the Playboy bunny when Horus is climbing up a tower at one point; a visual gag which gets less funny the more you think about it.
It also didn't escape my attention that the film's conceit of having the 'god' characters appear as scaled-up giants next to the humans is so inconsistently executed that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (god) and Brendon Thwaites (human) miss each other's eyeline for approximately half of their shared scenes, as Brendon appears to be changing size each time he's on-screen.
Accents are a massive bugbear of mine (as regular readers will attest), but given that this story is a) translated into English from whatever ancient Egyptian dialogue would have been used and b) completely fictionalised anyway, the mix of US/UK tones throughout the cast didn't actually bother me at all. I'd have just liked Gerard Butler to pick one. A telling watermark for Butler's films will be the accent he's allowed to use for his dialogue. His better and/or more entertaining flicks feature him with his natural Paisley brogue, whereas the poorer works tend to see him struggling under the weight of Fauxmerican. However, after watching Gods of Egypt in its entirety, I'm still not sure what he was meant to be doing. He rolls a few Rs with that wry smirk of his, but I swear to god(s) he's doing a sort of Italian-Cockney half the time. I think Gerard may actually have forgotten how to be Scottish now, like one of those people who get a bang on the head and start speaking in another language without realising it...
Anyway. As utterly shite as this film is (and it is), at least Gods of Egypt didn't succeed in making me angry, if only because it doesn't seem to be taking itself seriously at all. Although that said, it's not even silly enough to be a decent kids' film.
The really weird thing is that this is all brought to us by Alex Proyas, the director of The Crow and Dark City. While neither of those movies are ageing particularly well, they're both incredibly interesting, unique pieces of work. This ancient tale, on the other hand, is timelessly incoherent.
If you were looking for the perfect movie to top off a triple-bill with I, Frankenstein and Jupiter Ascending, Gods of Egypt is for you...
Watch this if you enjoyed Immortals…
Level 1: This movie stars Bruce 'Tion Medon' Spence.
And isn't it quite awful that Spence is cast as a decaying Egyptian Pharaoh Zombie, yet is instantly recognisable? Poor bloke…
*1 It's not that I'd "pre-judged" the movie exactly, but after watching the trailer several times it was pretty fucking difficult to feel enthusiastic about the prospect of two-hours worth...
*2 Or indeed for the 14yr olds this film is aimed at, to be fair.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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