Gods of Egypt.
This movie had everything going against it. Controversy about its primarily white cast… Hectic and overly CGI trailers… I had extremely low expectations. Was this movie able to surprise me?
It’s ancient Egypt. Humans live alongside gods and the god Osiris rules as king. He’s about to crown his son Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) when his angry brother Set (Gerard Butler) arrives, rips out Horus’ eyes, and kills Osiris. So that’s the start of our story. Human Bek (Brenton Thwaites) seeks out the hermit Horus to help save the soul of his dying girlfriend (Courtney Eaton). We’ve also got the goddess of love (Elodie Yung) and the god of wisdom (Chadwick Boseman).
The premise is interesting, like a “what if” story involving Egyptian gods. It’s a predictable journey but the movie smartly knows why we’re in the seats. Action and monsters abound here, with some huge setpieces including giant snakes, the Sphinx, and even a world-devouring demon. The movie hardly lets up for a minute, packing in as much action as they could conjure up.
And regardless how you feel about the actors (or in the end, their performances), you can’t blame their level of commitment. Everyone is giving 110% out there, including Gerard Butler in one of his most notable villain roles yet. He really goes for it, though the result isn’t super successful.
What doesn’t work?
This movie is, for the most part, really bad. There’s a few big problems, most of them on the page. The dialogue is horrendous and the tone of the movie is really inconsistent. It tries to be funny, in really uncomfortable ways, and it fails.
Once we get to the actual production of the movie, the entire thing feels inauthentic. It’s entirely computer-generated and green screen. Some of it looks fine but other moments, and sometimes even entire characters, look half-finished. Anubis, who guides our hero’s love interest on her journey to the afterlife, looks like a video game character from a few generations back.
And then we have a few performances that are cringeworthy. They commit, yes, but the director should’ve stopped them and given some sort of direction. Most notably, there’s a weird performance by Chadwick Boseman, who plays the god of wisdom. I’ve seen some stellar performances by this guy, I’m not sure what happened here.
Really though, it all adds up.
Horrible dialogue, bad special-effects, strange performances, and then we have a finale that somehow feels more like a Transformers movie as Set assembles himself into some sort of mechanical Megazord (Power Rangers reference).
While the movie falls apart at nearly every opportunity, I can’t lie and say I didn’t have fun. It is not a good movie, at all, but I didn’t hate it as much as I expected to. Still. We’ve got a spectrum of decent to horrible special effects, inconsistent tone issues, some cringeworthy performances, and a plot that feels like a SyFy television movie produced by Michael Bay. But hey, they also fight two giant snakes being ridden by badass goddesses. So sometimes you have to just smile and enjoy a bad movie.