When dealing with a blockbuster that comes complete with an uninspiring, unoriginal screenplay, and a collection of poor acting performances, when those two things are not going your way, at the very least you need to rely on the visual experience and the use of CGI. “Well it looked nice” would be something of a saving grace when leaving the cinema, and has been for many big-budget endeavours across the years. But not Gods of Egypt. Oh no, Gods of Egypt even looks bad.
Gods of Egypt even looks bad.
Set in Ancient Egypt, our entry point into this fantastical landscape is the mortal Bek (Brenton Thwaites) who is introduced to us when stealing a dress from a street stall for his partner Zaya (Courtney Eaton). She dons her new outfit as the God Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) readies himself for the throne, only for the entire ceremony to be interrupted by the arrival of the latter’s uncle, and God of darkness, Set (Gerard Butler). Suddenly this once happy community is ripped apart from the inside, and Bek wants things returned to normal, so uses his aptitude for thievery by stealing back the eyes of Horus from an underground vault, knowing that with his abnormal vision, the well-meaning God is the only true adversary to Set, and the only being capable of restoring order.
Director Alex Proyas, working off the screenplay by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, has been dealt a variety of one-liners that are a burden to the audience’s investment in this narrative. It’s hard to adhere to a battle sequence, and the implications of those fighting, when one of the characters keeps finding the time to take a moment to reel off one of his wittiest remarks. The delivery of the dialogue is so stilted too, and it gives the feature the feeling of a badly dubbed European advertisement. You would think, as a result, the film would be endearingly kitsch, and a guilty pleasure of sorts, but as we trudge through this picture it just becomes more and more tedious.
The cast assembled is terrific however, with the likes of Geoffrey Rush and Chadwick Boseman also starring – but question marks remain as to why they chose to get involved. Then you remember that they get a rather handsome pay-check, and a couple of weeks in the sun, so it’s hardly the worst way to make a living. So in reality, who can really blame them? We’re (literally) the ones who pay the price.