Reviewed: Gods of Egypt (2016,Alex Proyos)

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Director : Alex Proyos

Starring : Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites, Chadwick Boseman, Élodie Yung, Courtney Eaton, Gerard Butler, Geoffrey Rush

Studio: Summit Entertainment

Gods of Egypt is an [un]glorious mess. With a nonsensical plot line, convoluted mythos and no emotional core or development, the film struggles to maintain its enjoyable premise beyond that of whats onscreen – this results in a film that is confusing, poorly constructed and shallow.

Based loosely on the myth of Horus and Set, two gods who fought over the rightful rule of Egypt – and through this humankind – Gods of Egypt seems a perfect fit for a cinematic adventure. Jealous of his nephew inheriting the throne, Set (Gerard Butler) kills his brother and takes it by force. Removing Horus’ eyes (the source of his power) and banishing him from the land, the God of Darkness begins a harsh rule of force. With Egypt in decline, the young thief Bek (Brenton Thwaites) steals back and delivers an eye to Horus in hopes of defeating Set and restoring the rightful heir to the throne. This is made personal by the death of his beloved during the theft, which Bek hopes can be overturned upon completion of their quest. With obstacles and creatures blocking the path to Egypt’s salvation, Horus and Bek begin to understand what it required of them to defeat the evil god who undeservedly sits upon the throne.

Upon reflection the plot of the film makes little-to-no sense, with its ever increasing need to update both the mythology and added complications to the overall narrative arc. Used as a means to build up the hype of the action sequences, as well as creating a false idea of consequence to those involved, the storyline struggles to maintain any of its ideas through to its conclusion. This means that although the film is watchable, its multiple ideas become irrelevant in its wider narrative arc. With the plot continually adding complications throughout the characters journeys, the production is never given a space in which developments and emotions can be generated. With this in mind, Gods of Egypt is entertaining but never does enough to justify its narrative missteps.

All but one of the actors within this film are poor beyond that of a standard Hollywood blockbuster, with Coster-Waldau being the only one who stands out as good within the films ensemble cast. Through attempting to bring a depth to his character, the crux of the film is handled quite well. The others however are not as lucky, with most of the others overacted throughout the dire script. This could be the result of such a poor screenplay, with the other actors over-complimenting the poor writing with equally as poor acting standards. With some established names within the cast (Geoffrey Rush being but one example), Gods of Egypt disappoints greatly in the very poor standard of acting shown throughout.

Gods of Egypt is poorly directed, with every scene littered with an overuse of terrible CGI. This low quality visual effect plagues every sequence, with the majority of the film obviously shot within a blue screen before having digital backgrounds layered behind. Although a lot of Larger scale films use this technique to present otherworldly locations, not many do so with such little care. Never blurring the joins of the various layers used, the production presents an eyesore within every one of its frames. With the various characters holding no weight within the filmic environments, the poor use of CGI creates an odd feeling of floating mannequins meandering a pixelated image. This mess is further created though the odd use of scale in representing the differences between the god characters and the human counterparts. With the scale being non-consistent, the effect is poorly visualised – further highlighting the poor nature of the digital work used within the production.

Alongside the poor CGI, Gods of Egypt also has a very poor screenplay that does nothing more than detract from finished article. With plenty of awkward utterances and non-historically correct dialogue, the film becomes unintentionally humorous in the various conversations that drive the plot forward. This coupled with an entirely white cast, and no attempt to hide a multitude of different accents, brings an odd feeling to every word spoken onscreen.

Although Gods of Egypt promised a lot within its premise, the poor execution of fundamental filmmaking aspects brings a low level of craft to its production. This does little more than resonate a feeling of great disappointment to the exploits onscreen, with the majority of its narrative and character attributes overly convoluted in hopes of creating a false idea of grandeur. In truth, Gods of Egypt is a poorly conceived, poorly written and poorly executed mess that feels shallow throughout.

Plot 2
Acting 2
Direction 1
Retrospect 1
Overall 1.5

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