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.