Hot Take: Although it was most fun I’ve had watching a terrible movie in quite some time, how the hell does this movie get a green light?
Early on, it was pointed out by the narrator that Gods of Egypt took place before history began. This should have been a tip-off the typical rules would not apply to this prehistoric whitewashing of Egyptian mythology. However, even if it was, the ridiculousness of Gods of Egypt has to go down in cinematic history as one of the worst films with a budget greater than $100 million. Yet, despite it’s racial insensitivity, pointlessness and overall terribleness, there’s something highly watchable about Gods of Egypt. I guess it’s not farfetched to compare it to when you slow down as you drive past a horrific wreck on the highway. Sure, you have somewhere better to be and you don’t really want to see the carnage but you can’t help but gaze upon the wreck.
The wreckage that is Gods of Egypt starts off feeling like a comedy. An unfunny comedy but a comedy nonetheless. The opening scene only needs a rousing rendition of “One Jump Ahead” to complete the Aladdin rip-off it unwittingly is as main character Bek (Brenton Thwaites) robs a shopkeeper in the ancient market. Only this thief doesn’t steal to live, Bek steals a necklace to impress his girl Zaya (Courtney Eaton) who laughs off the gesture and, unlike most inherently good characters, accepts the spoils of his misdeeds with neck agape.
The rest of the film continues an unprecedented downward spiral as each scene gets more ridiculous than the next. The Egyptian gods are almost twice as tall as their human counterparts and can’t transform into beasts reminiscent of the old Transformers: Beast Wars cartoon. Gerard Butler plays the powerful Egyptian god Set and delivers an incredibly over-the-top performance as senselessly evil as any character ever to exist. Unfortunately, Butler’s over-the-top can’t even compete with Geoffrey Rush’s turn as Ra, Set’s father who spends his nights battling Apophis, the god of darkness. Apophis is basically a really big space worm that Ra shoes away by throwing mystical iteams at it until it returns the next day and do it all again.
It’s even more silly than it sounds. The overly tall and overly white (sans one — Chadwick Boseman as Thoth) gods bleed gold and can have their glowing blue powers ripped from their bodies like some sort of mythical game of Operation. The story jumps from random setting to random setting almost like it was written by some wannabe dungeon master who found a box of old Dungeons & Dragons modules and played through them rapid fire by himself so that his fellow D&D players couldn’t stop him from going off the deep end with nonsensical beasts and landscapes. There’s old temples, forests, waterfalls, deserts, a space fortress, the underworld, pyramids and gigantic towers (complete with fully functioning elevator).
As for the story, who cares? This pointless ravaging of Egyptian mythology will likely become a cult classic along the lines of Battlefield Earth. I’m embarrassed to admit I liked it even though I know how very awful Gods of Egypt is.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- The Female Assassins
The scene with the serpent-tongued assassins sent by Set to hunt down Bek and Horus (Set’s nephew whom Set blinded during the overthrowing of his brother to become King of Egypt… yeah, it’s that off the wall) where they ride gigantic fire-breathing snake monsters is fantastic. It’s awful… but fantastic!
- It’s Non-Stop
There’s never really any time to process your disgust with how bad the film is as it never stops moving. Gods of Egypt‘s pace is admirable and rarely seen as the movie jumps from one scene to the next with barely an explanation or transition. It’s what makes the movie fun. It’s awful… but fun!
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- The Whitewashing of Egypt
Seriously? It’s not like Gerard Butler, Geoffrey Rush and Bryan Brown are such box office draws that the idea of a diverse cast can be completely dismissed. The complete lack of diversity is unnecessary and indefensible.
- Transformers: Gods of Egypt
What made director Alex Proyas think it would be a good idea to make the gods transformers? It’s about as horrible of a choice as it sounds.
- Narrator Does Not Equal Narrative
It’s all over the place and incoherent. The narrator doesn’t help, he’s just there.