Monday, February 29, 2016

Review of GODS OF EGYPT: Flashy but Flat

February 26, 2016




Ancient Egypt was ruled by giant gods who lived among the mortals. The King of Egypt then, Osiris, intended to crown his son Horus as his successor. However, his envious brother Set wanted the throne for himself. A mortal petty thief named Bek gets involved in this godly battle when Bek's skills were able to recover something vital Horus had lost.  In return, Bek wanted Osiris to help him reunite with his great love, Zaya.


We should not really expect any depth from its storyline nor acclaimed acting from its stars. There was clearly no attempt to be realistic as cast of the film were not Egyptian or do they even remotely look like Egyptians. Horus was played by Danish actor. Set was played by a Scottish actor. Bek, Zaya, Ra, and Osiris were played by Australian actors. Hathor was played by a French actress. Even all of those extras in the crowd do not look Egyptian. I guess we are just expected to accept it as is.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau might have been an ideal choice to play Jamie Lannister on "Game of Thrones." However as the lead character Horus, I do not know why but I felt he was terribly miscast, and that was not only because he is not Egyptian. He tries hard, but his acting looked awkward and uncomfortable in most of his scenes. His costumes did not look good or fit well on him. He did not look godlike nor heroic nor romantic in all those scenes that required these qualities. 

Gerard Butler seemed to be doing a King Leonidas ("300") retread as the antagonistic god of the afterlife, Set. Butler was swarthy and gruff, as any good villain would be expected to look and act. Butler looked good in his costume, was very comfortable in his acting and was obviously enjoying himself in his role, in contrast to the seeming discomfort manifested by Coster-Waldau.

Surfer boy-looking Brenton Thwaites and voluptuous Courtney Eaton looked pretty good together as Bek and Zaya, the mortals caught up in godly conflict. Thwaite's acting was shallow here, not like when we first saw him in "The Giver." Beautiful French actress Elodie Yung played gorgeous goddess of love Hathor with a wry sense of humor. Chadwick Boseman played the god of wisdom, Thoth, in full camp fashion. I liked that scene where they showed how Thoth only trusted himself. Good to see 80s Australian star Bryan Brown in his short appearance as King Osiris in the first few minutes of this film.

I don't think I have seen Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush since his appearance in "The King's Speech". I was surprised to see him in this film as Horus' venerable grandfather Ra. There was no subtlely in the acting of Rush here as he was uncharacteristically florid and even hammy in his approach. 

As you can see from its blindingly dazzling poster and trailers, this film sells itself as a computer-graphics extravaganza, nothing more. The costumes, makeup and hairstyling and production design were certainly ostentatious. The visual effects were not always neat and tended to be over the top and obvious, such as it would appear on a video game rather than a feature film. This was especially true with the animal forms of each god and the booby-trapped temples and tombs Bek had to raid. I liked how they made the gods giants beside mere mortals. Those scorpions looked terrible though. 

Overall, this is mindless entertainment targeting mainly young viewers of the videogame generation. This was all visual spectacle with little substance, fun (and funny) to watch but ultimately forgettable. 5/10. 


14 comments:

  1. Trying hard to look and sound Egyptian might be really challenging. I think they should have taken another actor to join the cast.

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  2. I have read not-so-good reviews about this movie. Maybe because it was too flashy and less substance? I'm not bent on watching though just to find out the answer to this.

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  3. Great review Fred. When I first saw the trailer it sure did look amazing. I felt like I wanted to watch it. I got turned off when things started getting too weird and extreme and this was me basing from the trailer alone. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. I've heard so much about this. And although it didn't have as much hype, I got really interested when I saw the trailer. I can't believe it's wasn't that good.

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  5. I heard from another Brunei Blogger that it was a disappointment, hence decided to give it a miss. I'm glad you reaffirmed his point!

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  6. The poster actually tells you that. It has too many frills, with over the top editing. It's such a dispoointment considering the stellar cast.

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  7. I'm so glad that I didn't go to see this film. I however went to watch one that was even worse. The Witch. I wish I could get back that 1 1/2hrs of my life.

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  8. I am mystified by mythology movies like this. With the low rating, I'd better pass on this one.

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  9. Only 5 points I think I m going to skip this movie. Might as well rest my eyes or have extra 2 hours nap.

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  10. Glad I read this review before seeing the film. It kind of looks corny!! lol. Thanks as always. :)

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  11. Oh! I wanted to watch this movie. Now I will reconsider or probably just skip after this review.

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  12. Sad.... Can't expect art history or mythology in a movie like this I guess!!!

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  13. I love Butler in this kind of a movie like the "300". I'm going to watch this online, thanks so much for this review Fred.

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  14. Oh gosh, I hate watching films that are not properly portraying roles!

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