Goofy and comical is not what you expect when you head in for a film called Gods of Egypt.
But that's exactly what it was. To make things even funnier, the film, starring a bunch of white actors as Egyptians, arrives just days before the all-white Oscars.
Compounding matters, the actors don't play at being remotely Egyptian. Like, at all. The Scottish god speaks in a clear-enough Scottish brogue. The Danish god speaks with a clear European accent, and so on.
The diversity problem had been a publicity headache for the studio, with director Alex Proyas even publicly lamenting the casting decisions (or whitewashing). He also addressed the complete lack of historical accuracy:
"It is inspired by Egyptian mythology, but it makes no attempt at historical accuracy because that would be pointless - none of the events in the movie ever really happened. It is about as reality-based as Star Wars - which is not real at all .Maybe one day if I get to make further chapters I will reveal the context of the when and where of the story. But one thing is for sure - it is not set in Ancient Egypt at all."
Well, glad we cleared that up.
The story takes place in ancient Egypt where humans and gods live side by side in a paradise on the Nile. The gods are twice the size of man, can turn into an animal form, and bleed pure gold.
Then the benevolent god Osiris (Bryan Brown) has decided to pass the crown to his son Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), the god of the sky. During the ceremony, Osiris is murdered by his jealous brother Set (Gerard Butler). He also defeats Horus, ripping out his eyes, the source of power. Hathor (Elodie Yung), the goddess of love, gives herself to Set in order to spare Horus, who is then banished to the desert.
So Egypt obviously falls into despair under Set's tyrannical rule. Which is why an unlikely hero must emerge, and in this case it's Bek (Brenton Thwaites) - a peasant that needs a miracle to save his beloved Zaya.
Once Bek and Osiris team up, Gods of Egypt becomes a sort of strange buddy movie, with the cranky god and the cynical mortal reluctantly partnering to defeat Set and save Zaya.
And while you're watching the predictable story unfold, the CGI effects make you wonder of this is a video game-turned-movie. That would make sense, you think.
But it's not. The film obviously doesn't feel the need to be plausible at all (maybe that's the charm?) and kind of leaves you stranded in this uncomfortable middle ground where you're constantly debating if it's racist or if it's okay to just sit back and enjoy the insane imagery.
But it's all very watchable, reminding you of all the times you sat back to watch Beastmaster and Xena: The Warrior Princess.
Before I forget, Geoffrey Rush also shows up occasionally as a bald, robed Ra who's prone to bursting into CGI fire and screaming "ENOUGH BEAST!" at giant space worms.
Acting wise, there's a lot of overacting and a lot of Australians considering this was shot Down Under. Butler and Coster-Waldau simple rehash their best-known roles. Their characters could have easily been pulled from 300 and Game of Thrones. (You're also left wondering if between being Jaimie Lannister and Horus, Coster-Waldau will ever get to put on pants).
This is definitely not even in the so-bad-it's-good territory, but with just a tiny extra push into the ridiculous, this 127-minute slog could have been made into a caustic 90-minute satire.
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