Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

'Gods of Egypt': A goofy mess

Ancient Egypt, where the gods were white and spoke with British accents - or so Gods of Egypt will have you believe.

Ancient Egypt, where the gods were white and spoke with British accents - or so

Gods of Egypt

will have you believe.

The movie has rightfully taken quite the public drubbing for its whitewashing of a story with roots ostensibly in North African history. But truthfully, it's so ridiculously outlandish that the film couldn't possibly be tied to anything in reality, so it's unfortunate that it borrowed a real place as a loose setting.

Written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, Gods of Egypt has a much lighter tone and clear willingness to embrace obvious campiness than their previous script, the Vin Diesel vehicle The Last Witch Hunter. Taking place in some random ancient time when mortals and gods coexisted, the film starts with the coronation of god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), son of Osiris (Bryan Brown). Uncle Set (Gerard Butler) crashes the party with an army from his desert outpost, to overthrow Osiris and take the kingdom for his own. Battling Horus, he yanks out his powerful all-seeing eyes and banishes him to a dusty pyramid. It's essentially a sibling-rivalry thing.

Enslaving the mortals and killing the gods who stand in his way, Set starts building the pyramids and strengthening his powers. Young, scrappy mortal Bek (Brenton Thwaites), a pickpocket, wants to free his girlfriend, Zaya (Courtney Eaton), from her slavery, so he decides to steal and return the eyes of Horus. Having returned one eye, the unlikely pair of god and mortal set off on a journey to return Horus to his rightful throne and save Zaya from the Land of the Dead.

That's the basic plot, but Gods of Egypt is both so wildly incoherent and extremely silly that one is tempted to simply try to describe some of the weirder moments in director Alex Proyas' movie. First, the gods have been digitally enhanced to three times human size and are shot and staged as if they are giants. Also, they bleed gold blood. In one particularly bonkers recurring set piece, they visit the Sun God Ra, who happens to be a human-torch Geoffrey Rush conscripted to a spaceship that drags the sun on a chain around a flat, disc-shaped Earth while he jousts a space-worm chaos monster.

There's also a scene where the God of Knowledge, Thoth (an unrecognizable Chadwick Bozeman), pontificates on a head of lettuce surrounded by an army of his clones, while bedecked in a sequined gown and headdress.

For a $140 million project filled with movie stars, beating up on it feels like punching down. That might be because Gods of Egypt is essentially good-humored and seems to have a modicum of self-awareness about its own shameless kookiness. It manages to slip just over the line into that sweet spot of awesomely bad, even though none of its magical mumbo jumbo makes a lick of sense.