Gods of Egypt (2016)
★ / ★★★★
“Gods of Egypt,” directed by Alex Proyas, demands the audience not only to turn our brain off but also everything else that separates us from a lump of coal—an important difference between silly, light popcorn entertainment and a dirge disguised as film.
Not one of the action sequences is especially thrilling, suspenseful, or creative. Credit goes to the overreliance on computer graphic imagery to create a semblance of excitement. Since the majority of what we are seeing looks and feels fake, the material fails to create a world, emotion, or experience we can connect with and hold onto. In addition, the fact that the action, especially the one-on-one duels, look too choreographed, the visuals come across more like a video game than a natural culmination or climax of an ambitious, epic story.
The story, if one were generous enough to call it as such, is also a disappointment. During the coronation of Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), son of Osiris (Bryan Brown), the sole brother of the current king, Set (Gerard Butler), disrupts the event because he believes it is his right to rule Egypt. Set murders Osiris, takes away Horus’ sight, and claims the crown. Meanwhile, mortals are forced into slavery in order to build an obelisk tower and amass wealth to quench their ruler’s unending obsession with riches and power.
In a world where gods and mortals walk together, despite a significant height difference, the picture lacks intrigue. Bek (Brenton Thwaites), a petty thief, is not at all an interesting protagonist because the writing by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless fails to go beyond the young man being madly in love for a girl. He is one-dimensional, transparent, and boring because his actions are solely driven by his romantic, sugary-sweet affections or what his partner wishes him to do. There is no inner turmoil. Not once do we hear him express that he wants to do what he knows is right for Egypt.
Horus, too, is very bland—but in a different way. There is a lack of transition between the changes that the character undergoes. Thus, we do not believe the changes that happens to him throughout his journey. The happy ending, although inevitable, feels too tacked on because we are never convinced that the mighty god has learned anything.
The film is an incredible misfire. From an action-adventure point of view, there is no sense of fun or creativity. The few lines that are meant to be jokes or sarcastic remarks are misplaced and obvious. One gets an increasingly sinking feeling that the piece of work being shown on screen is simply going through the motions. Revisit Stephen Sommers’ enjoyable, energetic, and creative “The Mummy” instead.