Gods of Egypt
Brenton Thwaites, Courtney Eaton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Gerard Butler
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…this is gloriously goofy stuff…
Gods Of Egypt gets off to a rocky start. The stilted first ten minutes introduce characters, gods and human, via clumsy voiceover and a series of clunky scenes crammed with exposition. We meet human thief, Bek (Brenton Thwaites), and his lover, Zaya (Courtney Eaton), as they prepare to attend the coronation of Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). The ceremony is crashed by Set (Gerard Butler), who kills Osiris (Bryan Brown at his Bryan Browniest) and blinds Horus.
It’s a rough introduction, but happily, the film soon finds its feet as circumstances conspire to send Bek and Horus off together on a quest to reclaim the former’s lover from the underworld and the latter’s kingdom from Set. The thing that works best about Gods Of Egypt is that it knows its tone: it’s silly and fun. From the casting choices to the duelling accents to the fact that ancient Egypt looks like a shiny video game level, this is gloriously goofy stuff – and the movie is not at all embarrassed about it.
Experiencing the shot-in-Sydney Gods Of Egypt is a bit like watching Jason And The Argonauts (1963) or Clash Of The Titans (the 1981 original, not the remake), in that the action unfolds with a twinkle in its eye, and you’re either on board or you’re not. Director, Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City), shows his usual flair for visual storytelling with several standout sequences, including Ra (Geoffrey Rush) fighting off a giant, world-eating chaos worm, and a visit to the Underworld where Bruce Spence judges souls worthy or not!
The juxtaposition of the oversized Gods with the puny humans is well handled, and the banter between characters is frequently delightful, with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau offering a surprisingly nuanced turn as Horus, and Chadwick Boseman nailing the arrogant, narcissistic Thoth. Less successful are Gerard Butler, who seems to confuse inner turmoil with bellowing, and Brenton Thwaites, who is very handsome but a little wooden.
For those willing to accept eyebrow-raising casting choices and the ancient-deities-as-flawed-superheroes premise, Gods Of Egypt offers a frequently spectacular, light, and knowingly silly good time.