Kernel Rating (out of 5):
MPAA Rating: PG-13 Length: 127 minutes
Age Appropriate For: 13+. This fantasy action flick includes a good amount of violence, including fighting, enslavement, gods and mortals who die, and demons who attack humans; some kissing, implied nudity, lots of cleavage, implied sexual activity, some sexually themed jokes, and derogatory language about the goddess of love character and her sexual background; some language and rude jokes.
The fantasy film ‘Gods of Egypt’ does practically everything wrong, from its whitewashed cast to its irredeemably goofy storyline. What a waste.
By Roxana Hadadi
Who is “Gods of Egypt” for? This fantasy action film about the power struggles between ancient Egyptian deities has made headlines for months because of its thoroughly whitewashed cast; of all the Egyptian gods featured here, none of them are played by Middle Eastern or African actors, and only one is played by a black actor. Then there is the storyline, which spouts some nonsense about legacies and destiny in between confusingly edited action scenes. Barely any of this comes together well, and practically none of “Gods of Egypt” is worth watching.
In “Gods of Egypt,” the deities of that country love the bountiful land so much that they live among the mortals who worship them; the differences between them physically are that the gods are huge, much taller than humans, bleed gold, are far stronger, and can transform at will into other entities, like animals or armored creatures. In this world, the film focuses on a power struggle between god brothers Osiris (Bryan Brown), who rules the populated part of Egypt and is beloved by the other gods and mortals alike for his equity, and Set (Gerard Butler, of “How to Train Your Dragon 2”), who rules the desert and is feared for his fighting prowess.
When it’s time to crown a new king, Osiris chooses his son Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, of “The Other Woman”), god of the air, renowned for his eyesight. But in reality Horus is a hard-partying pretty boy who isn’t sure if he’ll be a good ruler, and his indecision is made moot anyway when Set crashes the coronation ceremony, murders Osiris, and assumes power for himself. After stealing Horus’s eyesight and exiling him, Osiris goes about enslaving humans and basically throwing Egypt into chaos in his quest to rule all of the world.
But the mortal Bek (Brenton Thwaites, of “Maleficent”) is convinced by his lover Zaya (Courtney Eaton) that Horus could save them, so Bek uses his skills of thievery to steal back one of Horus’s eyes. When Zaya is killed during their escape, though, Horus and Bek make a deal: If Bek helps Horus steal back his other eye and defeat Set, then Horus will help bring Zaya back from the dead. Everyone wins!
Except for us as viewers, of course. It’s doubtful that “Gods of Egypt” would have been a better movie with an appropriately ethnic or diverse cast because there are so many other unforgivable problems with it, but who honestly thought that a bunch of white actors doing British accents is an even remotely accurate representation of “gods of Egypt”? From the beginning, it’s impossible to get into the film when Butler is yelling in his aggressively Scottish accent about ruling Egypt. Didn’t we see from the failed “Exodus: Gods and Kings” that whitewashing Egyptian history doesn’t work?
Aside from that, the plot itself makes barely any sense, and skews heavily male regardless: Only Osiris, Set, and Horus talk of their “legacies” while their wives and love interests are mostly silent; about half of Zaya’s dialogue is just breathily saying Bek’s name; and one of the most interesting characters, the Goddess of Love Hathor (Elodie Young, of “G. I. Joe: Retaliation”), is mentioned to have a shady past with underworld demons, but you know from the beginning she’s only there to be judged for her sexual experience and to eventually sacrifice herself for Horus. And of course, both of those things happen.
There are so many subplots mentioned by “Gods of Egypt” that could have been better movies, like when Horus talks of battling more than 40 demons to secure Hathor’s freedom and when God of Wisdom Thoth (Chadwick Boseman, of “Get On Up”), mentions seeing how the world was created before even other gods and mortals were around. Those would have been great to see onscreen! But instead we get a movie where Hathor teases Thoth, the only Egyptian god played by a black actor, about preferring seeing her “view from behind” — while they both, of course, speak in British accents. That’s the kind of movie “Gods of Egypt” is, and it’s unforgivably awful.
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