HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Gods of Egypt
HTS Overall Score:83
The name Alex Proyas was enough to get my butt into the viewer’s seat, as the man has come up with some of the most fun movie experiences of my teenage years with “The Crow” and “Dark City”. Not to mention the stupid fun that was “I, Robot” and even was entertained with his version of the film “Knowing” with Nick Cage. However what was once a rather prolific and stylistic director seems to have given up all that made him great (except for the visual style) and instead settled into the style over substance shtick giving us one of the cheesiest and hilariously bad films of the last decade. Before I go on any more I want to urge you to actually finis the review, as my rating is kind of a middle ground between the stupid fun I had and the actual objective grading of the film itself from a technical perspective. “Gods of Egypt” is probably one of the WORST films I have ever seen in my life, but it was soooooooooooooo ridiculously cheesy and bad that I was having an insanely good time. Much like “I, Frankenstein” it’s gloriously self-aware of level of bad that it is sinking into and yet seems to want to take itself seriously at the same time, with the same overabundance of bad special effects and horrible one liners to boot. There’s a great deal of fun to be had if you really enjoy “so bad they’re awesome” types of films and the ensemble cast of misfit gods do add their own charm and style along the way.
Instead of fighting ancient demons and Gargoyles with blessed sticks, we’re fighting with magical staffs and super powered armor suits that resemble and anime character’s transformation into their final form. It seems that the god’s didn’t just rule ancient Egypt from on high, but also amongst their followers as well. Not to mention the fact that they’re 9 feet tall and arrogant as the mythology would claim. When Osiris, god of death and King of Egypt is ready to retire the role of leader, he anoints his son, Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldou), as the next king, only to find out that he has a little bit of competition in the form of his vengeful brother, Set (Gerard Butler), god of the desert. Slaughtering his brother Osiris and ripping the eyes from Horus’s head, Set appoints himself the new king of Egypt and instead of the kind loving rule of his brother, dominates with an iron hand. Imprisoning his now sightless brother in a tomb, Set has the entire world under his domain, but has his sights set on something so much more.
As with all mythology related to the gods, there HAS to be a human element. This human element comes in the form of Bek (played by “The Giver’s” Brenton Thwaites) and his love interest, Zaya (Courtney Eaton). Bek is a bit of a low level thief, but his bride Zaya adores him to death and loves the gods just as much. Even though Bek doesn’t exactly put much faith in the gods, he agrees to help Zaya steal the plans for Set’s temple and take back the eyes of Horus so that the god may once again rise up and defeat his uncle Set. Sadly things don’t go EXACTLY as planned and the young girl ends up going to the land of the dead where Anubis resides. Grief stricken and with only one of Horus’s eyes, the young man strikes a bargain with the sightless god. He will give him his eye back and help him get into Set’s temple to steal the other IF Horus will bring Zaya back from the dead.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=70793[/img]Alex Proyas once directed some of the most fun, if not visually stimulating films of the last 25 years. “The Crow” is a visual masterpiece that has become a cult legend. Especially considering the tragic circumstances that led to Brandon Lee’s death on set. “Dark City” is another visual feather in Proyas’ cap, and was actually inspired by a recurring nightmare from the stylistic director. “I, Robot” wasn’t exactly impressive on the story front, but hey, it was a lot of fun with actor Will Smith in his prime. Since then Proyas has only directed ONE feature film in the form of “Knowing”, a movie that got theatrically trashed but is actually a great pleasure of mine. 9 years later he comes back to the silver screen, but the director seems to have lost his way, as the jumbled up script is nothing shy of wince worthy. He was helped out in the script department by Matt Sazma and Burk Sharpless, but bringing in the guys who penned “The Last Witch Hunter” and “Dracula Untold” isn’t exactly something that should inspire confidence in anyone.
Hilariously bad, “Gods of Egypt” brings in an ensemble cast of characters that deliver the cheesy goods with mixed results. Brenton Thwaites is ok as Bek, the thief with a heart of gold, but his character is fairly two dimensional with a few character flaws that make him almost annoying at times. Courtney Eaton as Zaya isn’t any better. Left to serve as window dressing and the love interest to be rescued. It’s not really her fault though, as she is not given a whole lot to work with considering her limited screen time. Nikolaj does a watered down version of his Jaimie Lannister character from “Game of Thrones”, but does a solid enough job with the role. Gerard Butler is almost the highlight of the film with a hammed up version of his King Leonidas character from “300” (albeit a bit more subdued in the anger department), and we even have a hysterically bad interpretation of the sun god RA in the form of Geoffrey Rush. On the other hand, Elodie Yung does a great job with the flirtatious and tempting goddess of love Hathor, and her character adds some much needed warmth to the story. While not a MAJOR character, Chadwick Boseman’s Thoth, god of wisdom, is one of the best parts of the movie, with Boseman playing the ancient god as a weird mixture of arrogant god the temperament of a drag queen. He’s given some awful lines to spit out, but does so with incredibly funny results.
“Gods of Egypt” is a bad movie. I don’t mean that I hated it. I mean that technically speaking it is a horribly inept movie that really showcases Proyas love of style over substance. To the point where there’s almost no substance whatsoever and we’re left with gaudy CGI exuberance. Which brings me to the other weird facet of the movie. It was a 140 million dollars to product, but the movie is literally almost ENTIRELY CGI and green screen effects. Much like “300”, I don’t think there was more than one or two scenes that didn’t have the actors just running around on a green screen set. The problem with this is that with so much over the top action and mythological settings, they just didn’t have the budget to make it look GOOD. The CGI gold blood and temple settings just looked about 10 years old in the CGI department and then was just slathered in EVERY corner of the movie, making it look like an early 2000’s video game a majority of the time. I almost take this as a huge negative, but on the other hand it added another layer to the levels of incredibly bad this movie sunk to.
Rated PG-13 for Fantasy Violence and Action, and Some Sexuality
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=70801[/img]The 2.40:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray is stunning to behold in person. The CGI is going to be the weakest part of the visual look, as it’s a bit cheap looking and tends to soften the image when there’s an excessive amount of action, but overall the transfer looks incredibly sharp and colorful. The film is just awash with all types of bright colors, from the slick golden blood of the gods, to the multicolored tapestries that is their armor. Everything is amped up in saturation levels to almost seemingly blinding color attributes, adding to the almost video game like texture of the movie. Black levels are deep and inky and I don’t think I noticed more than a glimpse or two of banding, which usually plagues Lionsgate films. Shadow detail is commendable and while the image does soften from time to time, facial detail and individual detailing along the CGI architecture is sharp and well defined.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=70809[/img]Object based audio tracks are getting more and more popular, and while Dolby is taking the lead with Atoms, Lionsgate had done a great job at putting the competing DTS:X tracks on their discs as well. “Gods of Egypt” comes to Blu-ray with a stunning DTS:X track that remains as nuanced and finely detailed as it is aggressive and powerful. I’m enjoying this modern trend of NOT engaging in what I like to call loudness wars. There is a definite level of aggression and throbbing low end power to the track (listen to the Sphinx encounter and the end battle with Set and Horus for sheer pulsing low end), but there is also some great restraint employed as well. The low end isn’t beating you over the head with constant LFE and the track keeps a solid balance between the dialog spoken and the special effects employed. Surrounds are wildly active with all sorts of noises, from the chirping birds in the rain forest, to the rushing of the river behind Horus, to the all-encompassing battle sounds as he tears through Set’s forces. There is a finely tuned texture and tone to each individual sound making them distinct and noticeable instead of just blurring everything into a one note experience. Definitely a magnificent track.
• Deleted Storyboards
• “A Divine Vision: Creating a Cinematic Action Fantasy” Featurette
• “Of Gods and Mortals: The Cast” Featurette
• “Transformation: Costume, Make-up & Hair” Featurette
• “On Location: Shooting in Australia” Featurette
• “The Battle for Eternity: Stunts” Featurette
• “A Window into Another World: Visual Effects” Featurette
Again, I have to reiterate that “Gods of Egypt” is not unentertaining under the right mindset. It’s a horrifically bad movie, but also hilariously fun at the same time. Expect good acting and a good plot, you need to look elsewhere. Expect stupidity galore, with over the top performances and horrible CGI that will leave you rolling on the floor, ala “I, Frankentstein”, then sure…. Have at it! Objectively the movies about a 1/5, but in terms of entertainment it's a solid 4/5, thus the middle ground 2.5 rating. Part of me is a bit sad though, as Alex Proyas was such a well-loved part of my film collection with classics like “The Crow” and “Dark City”, but I guess everyone has to have a critical bomb once or twice in their lifetime. Audio and video are outstanding for the 3D and 2D release alike, but the extras are just a bit mediocre. Recommended as a cheesy watch
Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Gerard Butler
Directed by: Alex Proyas
Written by: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS:X (DTS-HD MA 7.1 core), Spanish DTS 5.1, English DD 2.0 (optimized for late night listening)
Runtime: 127 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 31st 2016
Buy Gods of Egypt 3D Combo Pack Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Gods of Egypt 2D Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Cheesy Fun
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