The IMDB synopsis for Gods of Egypt says “Mortal hero Bek teams with the god Horus in an alliance against Set, the merciless god of darkness who has usurped Egypt’s throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict.”
That sounds like a fantasy movie most people would watch. However, Gods of Egypt is much crazier than that synopsis will lead you to believe.
As you read this review, and many others, listen to people rip it to shreds on podcasts and every social media platform, My buddy Brent pointed out, with a budget of $140 million and a run time of 127 min, this film cost over $1 million dollars a minute.
Take a deep breath…let that sink in for a second.
The movie opens with a narrator who sets up the film by saying Gods and mortals are peacefully living alongside each other in Egypt. The wide shot of a heavily CGI’d Egyptian paradise swoops and introduces the two mortal characters, Bek (Brenton Thwaites) and the love of his his life, Zaya (Courtney Eaton). The two make their way to see Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) crowned the new King of Egypt by his father Osiris (Bryan Brown). In the middle of Horus’ coronation, Set (Gerard Butler) interrupts the ceremony like a drunk uncle at a barbecue interrupting a serious conversation, to bring Horus a gift. What Set also brings to the ceremony is his long lasting feud with Osiris. He challenges Osiris to a battle and kills him in front of what looks like all of Egypt. About $8 million in, a dying Osiris utters this line to Horus, “Your journey has just begun”, right before his last breath. Angry and stunned, Horus fights Set while, surprisingly, other gods stand around and watching like it’s PPV fight.
At this point, the movie is about $10 million dollars in when it decides to start the train to Crazy Town. In the middle of Horus and Set’s fight, they both transform into metallic creatures with wings. Of course, Horus catches a beat down and Set decides plucks out both of his eyes, but spares his life.
Fast forward two years and Set has enslaved most of Egypt is using them as labor to build a gigantic tower to honor of his father. Bek aka The Poor Man’s Aladdin, is sneaking around to visit Zaya who is a servant for Set’s map maker. Zaya believes the only way to beat Set is to get Horus out of exile. But first, her mortal boyfriend to risk his life and steal Horus’ eyes from Set’s vault. Bek complete’s the impossible task, very similar to Eddie Murphy’s test in The Golden Child, but is only able to steal one eye. His love Zaya is killed in the process, so Bek and Horus strike a deal – Bek will help Horus steal his other eye and, once Set is defeated, Horus will raise Zaya from the dead.
They have roughly 48 hours until Zaya’s spirit reaches the “final gate” and can’t be retrieved. The god and the mortal set out on the worst CGI sand-filled buddy cop movie ever made.
There’s so much about this film that’s even crazier than the transforming gods and constant raining of CGI rose petals. Let’s start with Gerard Butler as Set. He’s basically Gerard Butler with a sword. He didn’t try an accent. He didn’t try to recreate 300. He didn’t try much of anything to be honest. Also, he scream-yells a lot of his lines and it’s unclear why. After the first 2 minutes, it’s apparent he was going to mail in the next 125 minutes.
Even crazier is Set’s animal-ish soldiers, who look like Jupiter Ascending extras that do his bidding. There’s also winged-beetle powered chariots, two assassins riding gigantic sand snakes, a magical demon repellent bracelet, gods with gold for blood, a knock-off lightsaber fight complete with fake lightsaber sparks, countless bad accents (Why Chadwick, WHY?), and numerous trips to the underworld we’re told repeatedly they’re not supposed to visit.
And that’s not even the really crazy stuff.
The first stop in Crazy Town, comes courtesy of Geoffrey Rush as Ra. At around the $30 or $40 million dollar mark, Bek and Horus pay a visit to Horus’ grandfather, Ra, who lives on a ship, from the John Carter of Mars collection, which is docked in earth’s orbit. For some reason, Ra is dressed like a member of The Guilty Remnant and sporting a mohawk with a ponytail. When the camera pans out to a wide shot, they show Earth and it’s flat. It’s a flat earth! While Ra is talking, he stares off into the distance tells Horus to put the human below deck. All of the sudden this “demon” shows up out of nowhere, literally. It’s looks like the Sarlacc Pit from Star Wars and The Smoke Monster from Lost had a baby. If that’s not crazy enough, Ra flames on like the Human Torch and shoots flames out of his staff at the creature to fend it off. Apparently, Ra has to fight this demon off every night to protect Flat Earth.
The movie suddenly turned into Lord of the Rings: Gods of Egypt? And why is Geoffrey Rush playing Dollar General Gandalf in this movie. Rush is the MVP of the film. His character is so over-the-top and ridiculous, I know why he’ snot in any of the trailers.
You would think gold blood and Transformers: Beast Wars would make it easy to distinguish the gods from mortals. NOPE! It was somebody’s bright idea to use visual effects to make the gods supersized and the mortals tiny. It looks like a bad version of Gulliver’s Travels.
What people want from fantasy films is some good action and a good adventure. Gods of Egypt provides neither. For instance, there’s a fight sequence on a waterfall and they use unnecessary slow motion during the fights. The adventure part of the story is even boring. The terrible CGI during the desert scenes doesn’t do them any favors, but even without it those scenes are just characters walking and talking about absolutely nothing. You can’t fail at the two things people expect form a fantasy adventure story. I imagine someone watched Wrath of the Titans and asked, “How can I make a movie like this, but 100 times worse?”
At the $100 million mark, the final act brings together all the bad stuff and puts it in one place. It’s like a smorgasbord of stupidity. And yes, Geoffrey Rush shows up again with even more Gandalf tricks up his flaming sleeves.
If you think Gods of Egypt is bad, it probably will exceed those expectations. There are movies that are so bad they’re good, but Gods of Egypt isn’t one of them. I went from thinking, “I wish they’d stop whitewashing films about Africa” to “Thank God they didn’t cast a lot of people of color in this film, we’d never get another movie made.” The horrible script cripples the film almost immediately. It’s literally an uphill battle from after Horus loses his eyes. If you can get past that point, the movie is too busy doing – there countless scenes with bad visual effects and the score coupled with the sound effects make most scenes unnecessarily noisy and unbearable to watch. Gods of Egypt tries so hard to be a blockbuster, it never takes time to be an actual movie.