UTTERLY WRETCHED: GODS OF EGYPT
In the interests of kicking off on a positive note: holy shit, Gods of Egypt certainly does look like it dumped a whole lot of filthy, filthy USDs into the ol’ Aussie economy, True Believers!
Now, with the pleasantries out of the way, let’s get down to heavily gold-plated ceremonial sacrificial kitchen wear – Gods of Egypt is an unmitigated disaster on every conceivable level.
Aussie director Alex Proyas, once feted as a visionary, stands idly by as his continual bummer of a career trajectory grinds inexorably south. Here, he demotes himself to ‘poorly rendered PS2 cut-scene choreographer’, though Wikipedia hilariously suggests his farcical ambitions for Gods of Egypt included evoking superior works along the lines of The Guns of Navarone, Lawrence of Arabia, The Man Who Would Be King and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
It may come as a source of some consternation to the potentially delusional helmer that risible CG fantasy abortions like The Scorpion King, Prince of Persia and Louis LeTerrier’s Clash of the Titans remake spring more readily to mind, and that any attempted parallels with the timeless work of Ray Harryhausen best be quietly dismissed, so poorly do Gods of Egypt’s weightless virtual fantasias compare with the master’s soulful stop-motion masterpieces.
Then, of course, there’s the whitewashed elephant in the room. Proyas’ flick famously, depressingly, showcases an array of bland lily-white action figures that occasionally morph into woefully realised Killer Instinct character models and weightlessly knock the golden-blooded shit out of each other (it’s, like, part of the ‘mythology’, man).
The roll-call of whities raiding the combined bronzer and guy-liner supplies of the Greater Sydney Area include erstwhile Lannister Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, playing Horus as a smarmy dickhead, Gerard Butler, full brogue hilariously in tow and seemingly straight off the set of 300 as, er, Horus’ evil uncle Set, Proyas rep-player Rufus Sewell as Set’s architect toadie, and a couple of squeaky clean Home and Away graduates, from the looks of it, as the romantic hook for those Millennial bucks.
Surely punting for some desperately needed low-hanging Clash of the Titans style (1981 version, guys) critical cred, Proyas litters his cast with slumming Oz thesp luminaries like Geoffrey Rush and Bryan Brown. Meanwhile the production wastes Matrix production design luminary Owen Paterson on predominantly digital sets ripped straight from a Psygnosis album cover and shot in muddy, dim, worthless 3D.
With a plot cut to ribbons in the editing bay – something about Set collecting all the other Gods’ power-ups so he can become The Best God Ever – Gods of Egypt is, at least, a testament to the conventions of the three act structure; a collective sigh of relief swept our screening when the second act dummy spit and disbanding of our heroes’ party transpired. Though, it should be noted, this thing is an utterly dispiriting one-thirty minutes slog even in its final, hacked to barely comprehensible form.
If that catalogue of atrocities weren’t enough, any flick that’s so cheap or simply squibs the opportunity to give Iron Maiden’s Powerslave a guernsey over the closing credits is clearly deserving of nil but your contempt and a healthy, introspective stint in the cinematic sin bin for all those involved in its production.