At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking ‘Gods of Egypt’ was based on a video game; I even had to look it up to check that it wasn't. That gives you some indication of the type of film this is. All action, little plot, questionable casting and some really dodgy accents. But it isn't all bad. Let me tell you why...
What plot there is follows young thief Bek (Aussie Brenton Thwaites – 'The Giver') as he bargains with the god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to help return Horus to his throne in exchange for rescuing Bek’s lover Zaya (Aussie Courtney Eaton – ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’) from the underworld. Gerald Butler provides the antagonist Set, the usurper of the throne, and Elodie Yung (TV’s ‘Daredevil’) is Hathor, Horus’ lover. Much of ‘Gods of Egypt’ seems to be the bastard love child of ‘The Mummy’ and ‘Clash of the Titans’.
Australian actors pepper the film, which isn't surprising as it was shot here with heavy tax incentives from the Australian Government. Geoffrey Rush hams it up as Sun god Ra, the most powerful of all the gods, while Bryan Brown (no, really) struggles to mask his Aussie accent as Horus’ father Osiris. Performances for the most part are decent, apart from the accents. Gerald Butler doesn't even bother, while Thwaites attempts a generic-British that just seems forced. Coster-Waldau is simply Jaime Lannister missing an eye instead of a hand – he didn't have to do much at all for this role except change his costume.
Sadly there is much potential overlooked here. Certain aspects of the storyline could have been fleshed out for a much more intriguing tale. For example, the family dynamics between Ra and his sons, or the relationship between Horus and Hathor could have done with more detail. Considering the richness of the source material, a film about Egypt’s gods should have been a lot more complicated. Hell, ‘Stargate: SG1’ did a much better job.
At first I thought this film wouldn't take itself too seriously; just be an action romp with some unnecessary slo-mo and shiny effects.
At first I thought this film wouldn't take itself too seriously; just be an action romp with some unnecessary slo-mo and shiny effects. But unfortunately it really does, while at the same time being completely unapologetic for what it is. Like last year’s ‘Jupiter Ascending’ (three-way love child?) it’s all about the effects, but is rather confused about every thing else.
Much of the action sequences look to be taken directly from one of those “Not actual gameplay” ads you see on TV for new games (there is actually a game of ‘Gods of Egypt’ but is ostensibly based on the film, and not the other way around). But some of the character effects are okay (except for the wide shots, which are just dismal). There’s even a spaceship at one point (yep, I kid you not) that looks to be take directly from 2012’s ‘John Carter’ (four-way?). Much of this film seems borrowed from others of the same vein, then smooshed together to overlay the thin plot about Egyptian gods.
I did say it wasn't all bad, didn't I? There are some decent lines amongst all the terribly corny ones, and enough humour to compensate for all the hammed-up seriousness. And it is all so very pretty (not just Jaime Lannister either). So if you enjoyed all this film’s illegitimate parents, can stomach a bit of wooden dialogue and lazy direction to get your SFX fix, you may just enjoy ‘Gods Of Egypt’ for what it is. Just don’t expect anything more.