Gods of Egypt (2016)


Alex Proyas’ latest genre effort has come under a lot of fire mainly for reasons of whitewashing, but after viewing “Gods of Egypt,” it’s no more a white washed endeavor than Harryhausen’s “Clash of the Titans,” or “Ben Hur.” When taken at face value and appreciated as a fantastic take on the mythology, “Gods of Egypt” is an entertaining and engrossing experience, and one I would have had a good time with during a quick Sunday matinee. Proyas constructs an interesting world and I wanted to see how the events would ultimately unfold in what becomes an unlikely buddy action film centered on a God and a mortal finding their own revenge against another God seeking immortality.

When the king Osiris is seeking to pass on the throne, he gives it over to his son Horus, who possesses magical eyes that allow him to transform in to the golden deity and grant him powers. When Osiris’ jealous brother Set (Gerard Butler) intrudes on the ceremony, he murders Osiris and takes down Horus with the help of his army. Tearing Horus’ eyes from his head, Set seeks out to rule over Egypt, and become the ultimate deity which would allow him to overcome mortality. After slave Zaya discovers plans for a powerful monument, she escapes with husband and warrior Bek. Mortally wounded by Set, Bek brings back the plans to Horus as well as one of his magical eyes. Now with only one eye, Horus teams up with Bek to stop Set and reclaim his magical eye, all the while agreeing to revive Zaya before her spirit reaches the gates of the afterlife.

Is “Gods of Egypt” one of the worst movies of the year? I’ve seen so much worse, like 2010’s “Clash of the Titans,” and 2014’s “300: Rise of the Spartans.” Watching “Gods of Egypt” is like sitting through one big bombastic Saturday morning cartoon where the consequences are under played and character exposition is really slim. “Gods of Egypt” lessens the blow of violence quite often by featuring a lot of the battles and deaths in CGI along with giving its super powered characters gold colored blood. Though convoluted and sometimes lagging in the middle, “Gods of Egypt” sets out to entertain as an action epic with a revenge theme, and it worked for me in more ways than I thought it would. Proyas direction is sweeping and quite stunning as he depicts a fantasy based Egypt ruled over by a grand myriad Gods and Goddesses.

They take the form of human beings, but can also transform in to a pretty nifty metallic beasts that can defy all kinds of human limits when necessary. “Gods of Egypt” achieves its goal of providing a world that is serialized and fantastic much in the way the original “Clash of the Titans” was, and in that respect, it works well as an escapist adventure epic. There are plenty of fun moments that really sucked me in to the world, including the confrontation with the riddle telling sphinx, and the two heroes’ battle against the serpent controlling twins within the labyrinth. Reports about the quality of “Gods of Egypt” have been grossly exaggerated. Would I be quick to call Alex Proyas fantasy action film a masterpiece? Absolutely not, in fact in certain areas, it’s campy and kind of goofy, especially when you see Geoffrey Rush as Ra. In the end, though, it’s no different than other blockbuster efforts we find in movie theaters this season. Twenty years ago I would have likely watched this three times a day on VHS; I could easily see myself re-visiting this and enjoying the B Grade spectacle put on-screen, again.

Incidentally, with what we see in “Gods of Egypt,” when are we going to finally see a “Silverhawks” movie?