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GODS OF EGYPT (USA 2016) **
Directed by Alex Proyas
Starring: Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Courtney Eaton, Chadwick Boseman, Elodie Yung
Review by Gilbert Seah
The Lionsgate blockbuster GODS OF EGPYT has been plagued by many problems the most notable of it being a totally white cast for its lead characters. But this is the least of the film’s troubles. Made by Lionsgate, the HUNGER GAMES company that desperately needs a big hit after their stock plummeted 30% in one day after the earnings announcement, this $140 million production is only expected to gross, by industry estimates only $15 million on its opening weekend. To Lionsgate credit, it claims that it only footed $10 million of the budget, the rest covered by pre-sales and tax credits. The Australian Government apparently paid half the production costs.
The director Alex Proyas (I, ROBOT, THE CROW) claims that the world of Gods of Egypt never really existed. It is inspired by Egyptian mythology, and therefore it would make no sense to attempt any historical accuracy because that would be pointless — none of the events in the movie ever really happened. So, it does not really matter that the film was never shot in Egypt but down-under.
The story of Gods and man is set in Egypt. At the film’s start, the audience is given the heads-up by voice-over of the film’s setting. Apparently God and man are co-existing side-by-side. The film distinguishes one from the other by the size. Gods are figures that appear much taller (or larger) than humans. The film opens with a common human thief, Bek (Brenton Thwaites) stealing an amulet to offer it as a gift to his everlasting love. They attend the coronation of the crowning of the new King, Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), whose throne is stolen by Uncle Set (Gerard Butler with all the growling he can muster!) After that, it is the quest of reclaiming the throne.
Since when do Gods die or fight for a throne? And where does the idea of so many Gods living together ever come from? The main premise is as ridiculous as it looks and it does look even sillier in a big budgeted film. One best example is the scene of the coronation with the screen filled with thousands of spectators as far the the screen can hold. How then can they hear what is going on on the stage when the microphone was not invented then. The scene reminds one of MONTY PYTHON’S LFE OF BRIAN where the Monty Python group complain about being unable to hear what Jesus was preaching during the sermon on the Mount.
The film running more than 2 hours is CGI gone mad. The special effects, 3D and CGI are costly and look good on the screen. But the script meanders more than the Nile giving the impression that the writers are making things up as they go along. For a multi-million dollar epic, the one-liners could at least being funnier. “Run…”, “Run Faster”… are the best the film has to offer. The climatic fight is good enough, performed at the top of a pyramid, but the entire adventure turns out to be a totally boring affair.
Never has so much money been devoted to the realm of boredom.
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