Gods of Egypt

March 7, 2016 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites
Directed by: Alex Proyas (“Knowing”)
Written by: Matt Sazama (“The Last Witch Hunter”) and Burk Sharpless (“The Last Witch Hunter”)

With the #OscarsSoWhite controversy still fresh on people’s minds and the lack of diversity in Hollywood at a fever pitch, there is probably no worse time for a film like “Gods of Egypt.” With a cast of white, European actors playing Egyptian gods, it isn’t exactly working hard to combat the so-called “white washing” of the film industry. But can the quality of the film be enough to overcome its diversity issues? Spoiler alert: no it can’t.

As Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is set to become the new King of Egypt, Set (Gerard Butler) usurps the crown, stripping Horus of his eyes, and taking reign. In an effort to try to save the one he loves, mortal Bek (Brenton Thwaites) teams up with Horus to try and take the crown back from the merciless Set.

It is difficult to find a good place to start with the issues that plague “Gods of Egypt,” but one may start with the atrocious CGI. Right off the bat, the size differential between the Gods and the mortals look ridiculous, as if actors are playing in dollhouses. Beyond that, a lot of green screen rendering looks awful, and much of the design of computer graphics generated characters looks unfinished, fake, and unpolished. Simply put, “Gods of Egypt” features some of the worst CGI for a big budget movie in recent memory.

The actors of the film cannot be blamed for its terribleness, though they certainly didn’t do anything to elevate the material. Coster-Waldau continues to search for a film role that matches the greatness achieved by his performance in “Game of Thrones” and Thwaites is merely fine. Much of the blame should be shouldered by a really mediocre script that can’t decide what it wants to be or where it wants to go. In some scenes, it feels like a comedy, while in others the theme of love is hammered home with zero subtlety. The tone of the film also suffers, with many scenes playing as goofy, immature comedy which not only seems anachronistic, but corny as well.

Even though the movie is terrible in virtually every facet, it all seems to come back down to the core issue of a diversity problem. Where something like Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings” featured white actors wearing make up to look like Egyptians, “Gods of Egypt” doesn’t even try to make it seem like their Gods are anything other than white, mostly British men. It’s a decision that feels almost equally as offensive. In fact, even Chadwick Boseman, one of the few racially diverse cast members, has a phony British accent slapped on.

Opinions of diversity (or lack their of) aside, “Gods of Egypt” is just a bad movie. It’s lame, boring, pointless, and difficult to follow. It would be one thing if there was some engaging visuals to look at, but they couldn’t even get that right. All in all, there isn’t a single quality of the film that keeps “Gods of Egypt” from being God-awful.

Knowing

March 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne, Chandler Canterbury
Directed by: Alex Proyas (“I, Robot”)
Written by: Alex Proyas (“Dark City”), Juliet Snowden (“Boogeyman”), Stiles White (“Boogeyman”), Stuart Hazeldine (debut), Ryne Douglas Pearson (debut)

Actor Nicolas Cage has only been making consistently terrible choices in movies since 2006, so why does it seem longer?

After doing a fine job in the Oliver Stone–helmed “World Trade Center” where he played a New York City Port Authority police officer, Cage went on a massive losing streak with critical bombs including “The Wicker Man,” “Ghost Rider,” “Next” and “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” and “Bangkok Dangerous.” While it’s only been three years of cinematic gaffes, the torture Cage has put us through seems endless.

He continues his mission of futility with his latest bomb, “Knowing,” an absurd sci-fi movie posing as an end-of-the-world thriller, both of which support the idea that moviegoers should always do their research before going to the theater and raise a red flag when a production gives more than a couple of screenwriters credit for the work. In “Knowing,” five (!) writers are credited and none of them come close to making anything credible or inventive.

It might be just a mediocre combination of ideas, but “Knowing” ends up being a haphazard mess starting from the top. Cage plays John Koestler, a college professor and astrophysicist who stumbles onto a sort of numerical puzzle that reveals the dates, coordinates, and death toll of the world’s most major tragedies.

The list of random numbers comes from a time capsule buried 50 years prior at the school where John’s son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury) now attends. Back in 1959, schoolchildren were given an assignment to draw a picture of what they thought the world would look like in the future. Instead of drawing robots and astronauts like her classmates, one of the students, Lucinda Embry (Lara Robinson), an antisocial little girl with dark circles under her eyes who hears voices, begins to handwrite a sequence of numbers on her paper.

Fifty years later, Caleb ends up taking the excavated note home where his father begins to decipher what it means. For this plot point, all the five-headed screenwriting team could come up with for John’s interest in the numbers is that a stain he accidently makes on the paper directs his eyes to the numbers 9112001, code for the attacks on 9/11. From there, John, like Jim Carrey in “The Number 23,” becomes obsessed with his set of digits, the last of which point to the date of the earth’s demise.

The end of the world doesn’t come soon enough as Proyas and his team focus more on the computer-generated disaster scenes than they do on the actual narrative. Cage and the rest of the cast, which includes Rose Byrne (“28 Weeks Later”) as Diana Wayland, Lucinda’s grown daughter, become pawns for the unpredictable albeit mangled conclusion. “Knowing” thinks it’s more meaningful than it actually is, and that’s the most disturbing part of its inconspicuousness.