By Justin Rev Ino Tamang
Hollywood films that dabble in mythology tend to be bad almost all the time. Clash of the Titans, Immortals, and Wrath of the Titans are proof of that. Gods of Egypt had the chance (and the budget, to boot) to be different, to be actually good. Sadly, that chance gets wasted in 127 minutes.
The film presents an alternate take on ancient Egypt. In this film, there is no pharaoh. Instead, the gods live among men and rule over them. The story begins with Osiris passing on the crown to his son Horus. During the ceremony, Osiris’s brother, Set, shows up and takes the throne for himself.
Set takes out both of Horus’s eyes and stores them in his vault. Bek, a mortal thief, gets convinced by his lover Zaya to sneak into the vault and retrieve one of the stolen eyes. After that, he brokers a deal with Horus where he gives back the god’s eye if Horus decides to help him.
From there, the adventure of Horus and Bek begins. This is also the part where the film loses touch with its narrative. The characters get whisked from one location to another without any clear purpose. The themes become confusing and contradictory, not to mention not expounded sufficiently. In the end, the film finds itself lost in its own fuzz.
Naturally, every location gets to see an action scene, but that’s it. The story gets sacrificed for CGI-heavy, action-filled scenes – which, frankly, weren’t really good. The green screen work is laughable and everything is just too bright and colorful. The film also provides a ridiculous, out-of-place Transformers vibe whenever the gods morph into their non-human forms. Perhaps the only redeeming quality of the sequences are the stunning backdrops, but even these get overshadowed by cheesy visual effects.
At the very least, the cast did try to put on a good performance. The personalities of the deities were spot-on – from the ego of Thoth to the chaotic demeanor of Set. The white-washing is too much, though. It’s hard to take seriously a film about Egypt where the characters have Scottish and Australian accents.
Gods of Egypt has its fun moments, especially if one does not mind the wonky narrative it presents. But let’s be honest: it is a terrible movie, even if we ignore the heavy white-washing and the cultural reappropriation. Watching it on the big screen is hardly worth the money – which is a pity, because it could have been so much more.