GODS OF EGYPT
Film Review by Fiore
When Hollywood wants to destroy a movie, it can be more brutal than Michael Myers. Months before its scheduled release, GODS OF EGYPT was the victim of activists who were outraged for the lack of diversity casting in the film. This was the harbinger for the same complaint over the Best Actor category of the Academy Awards. The noise makers were so loud, Hollywood PR and trade publications began bashing the film weeks before its actual release. The trade magazines were filled with reports of doom for the multi-million-dollar endeavor. Box office reports, as early as Thursday, before opening day Friday, related the film’s bad preview outtake, in an effort to frighten patrons away from the movie. The opening weekend tallies, which wrap up at midnight, left coast time, were ignored for reports on how abysmal GODS OF EGYPT fared.
Why would Hollywood so vociferously attack one of its own? Well, first, GODS OF EGYPT is British, so technically, it’s not a Hollywood project. The cry of a lack of diversity is bogus. The film boasts an eclectic cast, with minorities in prominent roles, including the God of Wisdom, who is not only black in race, but homosexual in mien. The main stars are British, not too surprising since it’s a British made film. So what was the problem? Perhaps the noise makers wanted more Egyptians in the roles. If so, the Egyptians should have made the movie – not the British. Is the Arab lobby so strong in Tinseltown they can command this type of knee-jerk reaction? A better question is why is anyone with an IQ above a shoe-size listening to them? CLASH OF THE TITANS (both versions) and WRATH OF THE TITANS, both excellent mythology movies, were made without benefit of Greek casts, yet they were still quite enjoyable.
So, what about the movie. It’s a fine action thriller in the form of a mashup. Screenwriter Matt Sazama abandons the traditional tale of the Egyptian gods in favor of a blending with modern schemes and idioms, much like Kevin Sorbo's rendition of HERCULES. As such, parts of it are a bit difficult to take. For example: Ra, played by Geoffrey Rush, rides in space on an orbital ship fending off a demon spirit determined to destroy Earth. This whole scenario really only makes sense if one is familiar with the fictional myths of Zechariah Sitchin. Without the reference, this entire subplot loses perspective. Egypt is portrayed as a Shangri-La, where value is measured by life’s deeds, until Set takes over and reverts to a taxation system. Perhaps, therein, lies the true reason for Hollywood’s hatred of this film. It proposes corporal works of mercy in place of an over lording government taxing its citizens to death. That theme certainly would irritate the H3L.
Gerard Butler plays Set. He is angry he was banned to lord over the desert, while his brother Osiris, played by Bryan Brown, rules Egypt proper. He attacks his brother, begins to destroy any other gods who align with him and takes command of Egypt, instituting the dreaded tax system so the people can buy their way into the netherworld upon death. The only one standing in Set’s path is Osiris’ son Horus, played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, one of the dreaded three-name people. Meanwhile, Horus becomes dependent on a mere mortal, Bek, played by Brenton Thwaites, who wants nothing more than to experience sexual bliss with Courtney Eaton who plays Zaya. (Actually, can’t say I blame him as Eaton is smoking hot in this role)
KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:
1. The fire-breathing cobras.
2. The opening battle with Set
3. The Riddle of the Sphinx
GODS OF EGYPT is paced well. Credit Editor Richard Learoyd fo the film’s flow. Peter Menzies definitely shot this movie with the 3D experience in mind. In standard view, the movie loses much of its panache. In 3D, many of the scenes that look hokey take on a new dimension.
GODS OF EGYPT is worth a view. Butler who plays the hero well in movies like OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN and the coming LONDON HAS FALLEN, makes a most noble villain. Elodie Yung, as Hathor and Eaton are delightful eye candy, especially clad in veiled bikinis and Geoffrey Rush and Rufus Sewell in supporting roles, provide enough thrills for this popcorn flick.
THE GRADE FOR GODS OF EGYPT = C,
GRADE =B IN 3D.