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Hollywood Scores New Lows With Gods of Egypt

Ben Atwater

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When the trailers for Gods of Egypt came out a few months ago, no one was more excited than me. Despite the protests of white washing, I was looking forward to a fun, fantasy-action piece that would offer popcorn entertainment, similar to Clash of the Titans and The Mummy. Instead, director Alex Proyas has delivered a two hour digital media file that does not deserve to be called a film.

The story takes place not in historical Egypt, but rather a fantasy realm akin to Asgard from Thor.  Most traditional Egyptian gods are present, coexisting with mortals, and the gods are portrayed as much larger than their human counterparts. At god Horus’ coronation, Horus is attacked by his brother, Set, and stripped of his power as well as his title, throwing the kingdom of Egypt into chaos.  Horus is banished to the desert, where he sinks into depression in an empty tomb. Mortal Bek is present in the battle, and his love Zaya is wounded. Sometime later, Bek seeks Horus’ godly help to bring Zaya back from the land of the dead in return for help in overthrowing the tyrannical Set, who has thrown the kingdom into darkness. The two set out, and meet all sorts of Egyptian deities on their quest, including Ra, the Sphynx, and Thoth.

To explain the plot any further would not be of much use, as not even the screenwriters knew what story they wanted to tell. Gods of Egypt is a mess start to finish. No one on screen has any charisma, and there is certainly no chemistry between the cast. I had to look up the names of characters to even remember them, as there is little to no development given to the characters.  Everyone is one dimensional and does not act according to any reason or logic, and rather just acts as a vehicle for some sort of story development.

The story here seems as if it was written by a twelve year old. With rich Egyptian mythology to draw from, putting together a basic story of questing through the spirit world should not have been hard. Yet there is no logic in why anything happens, as there are no parameters in this universe and logical decision making is not instilled in any of the characters.

Perhaps even more unforgivable than the mess of a story are the visual effects. In this day and age, it is expected that a film with a $140 million budget is going to look like $140 million. While there is a view out there that films are too visual effects heavy, I feel as though for many films, particularly sci-fi and fantasy, the visual effects are integral to the story telling that tell such fantastical stories. Star Wars and Jurassic Park are iconic, as they utilized state of the art technology to tell stories that cannot be rendered in reality. This is always a spectacle to see, and in Gods of Egypt, the visual effects are some of the worst I have ever seen. The trailers showcased an interesting landscape shot of pyramids; that shot is nowhere to be found here. Last year’s Exodus: Gods and Kings was an awful film, yet at least the set design of grand halls and inner furnishings created a genuine feeling environment. Gods of Egypt has no such lovely furnishings, and every single background is CGI, and poor CGI at that. Crowds of thousands look like puppets with no work put into computer duplication. With obvious simulated environments, the Star Wars prequels are evoked, as there is not a single scene in this film that is authentic. Perhaps why the scenes play off so stale is that all the actors have to work with is a green screen and stale dialogue.

Gods of Egypt has bombed, and deserved to. With quality films like Zootopia and 10 Cloverfield Lane out, it would be a terrible waste of resources to spend money on this “film.” At the end of the day, Gods of Egypt is just another example of why movies have to be both business endeavors as well as artistic endeavors.  Films have to make money, but there is an undeniable correlation between quality and profit.  For instance, Edge of Tomorrow was an excellent film with a horrible marketing strategy. As a result, what should have been blockbuster barely broke even. On the other end of the spectrum, In the Heart of the Sea had great marketing yet no one really talked about the film as it was very mediocre, and ended up flopping, just like Gods of Egypt. At any rate, this movie is not worth spending the two hours it would take to watch it. Take a pass here.

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Hollywood Scores New Lows With Gods of Egypt