Somewhat on the back of 2014’s Exodus : Gods and Kings, Lionsgate Studios offers up a tale of ancient gods and mortals with an epic tale based on Egyptian mythology. Directed by Alex Proyas (The Crow, I, Robot, Dark City, Knowing) the film is written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (previous collaborators on Dracula Untold and The Last Witch Hunter).
Set in an ancient land, it is a time where Gods in human form, rule over the ‘mortals’. The opening of the film sees the murder of Osiris (Bryan Brown) by his younger brother Set (Gerard Butler) at the coronation of Osiris’ son Horsus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Set battles Horsus, and takes his magical eyes, then banishing him and taking the throne for himself.
A young egyptian mortal Bek (Breton Thwaites) steals on of the taken eyes in order to attempt to escape from the slavery of Set with his love Zaya (Courtney Eaton). The escape doesnt go to plan, and Bek is forced to unite with the Horsus in an attempt to overthrow Set and free the now enslaved mortals of Egypt.
The journey sees the two travelling into space to meet the God Ra (Geoffrey Rush), and venturing into the Sphinx with the God of Wisdom (Chadwick Boseman) and even into the Underworld itself as they seek to defy death itself.
To find a surprisingly bad Gerard Butler is a remarkable thing nowadays given how low expectations would start with such a thing. And yet Gods Of Egypt is exactly that. The CGI is lazy, the script is clunky and the delivery of most performances are oddly camp and lacking in any emotion or sincerity whatsoever. Boseman especially seems to be attempting to be in some odd 70’s British spoof, but no performance comes away from this film with credibility.
And yet, the thing that is most surprising is not how bad that the film is, but that it is well aware and doesn’t seem to care. These performances are not be accident. If film is a directors medium then Proyas takes all of the blame for this. It almost reaches a point where it is entertainingly bad but unfortunately misses here too.
Proyas found himself, rightly, embroiled in negative press given the heavy focus on white cast members for the roles, for which he apologised for the lack of diversity. My only issue here is that the apology should have been more wide ranging than the casting of this film alone.
Having seen interviews, it appeared that Lionsgate and Proyas had plans for further entries in this franchise. We can only pray to the Gods that this does not happen.