Review: GODS OF EGYPT (2016) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Monday, 29 February 2016

Review: GODS OF EGYPT (2016)

Set in an alternate universe where mortals live together with the titular deities, the movie begins with Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is about to be crowned as the new king of Egypt by his father Osiris (Bryan Brown). However, the grand ceremony is disrupted when Osiris' vengeful and power-hungry brother Set (Gerard Butler) shows up all of the sudden. Not only he ends up killing Osiris in cold blood, but also ripped off Horus' precious eyes and take over the throne. Enter Bek (Brenton Thwaites), a young mortal thief who is desperate to save his true love, Zaya (Courtney Eaton). After Bek strikes a deal with Horus, both of them set out on a quest to stop Set at all cost.

REVIEW: Believe it or not, it has been seven years since Alex Proyas last directed a feature movie. That movie in question was the Nicolas Cage-starred sci-fi drama KNOWING (2009). Still best known for his first two directorial efforts in THE CROW (1994) and DARK CITY (1998), Proyas' latest effort in GODS OF EGYPT marks a new low for the once-promising visionary director. So, what went wrong?

To begin with, let's start with the visual. Despite arming with an expensive US$140 million budget, the overall special effects look surprisingly dated. In fact, the effect is so dated that the sword-and-sandal fantasy genre such as CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010) and the sequel, WRATH OF THE TITANS (2012) are better by comparison.

Forget about the half-cooked storyline either, which is basically nothing more than a stitched-together familiar themes of power struggle, family feud and -- yes -- love story told in a haphazard manner. Following their sub-par screenplays in DRACULA UNTOLD (2014) and THE LAST WITCH HUNTER (2015), Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless have seriously squandered their screenwriting careers for the third time in a row. 

The acting, in the meantime, is laughably bad as well. It's hard to take Nikolaj Coster-Waldau seriously, given his uneven performance who tries to be both serious and funny at the same time. Gerard Butler, a sword-and-sandal fantasy veteran known for his iconic King Leonidas role in 300 (2007), plays a villain for a change. He hams it up with an over-the-top performance and he doesn't even bother to tone down his thick Scottish accent. The less said about Geoffrey Rush the better, who basically phoned in his performance as the sun god Ra.

But not all is bad in GODS OF EGYPT. Yes, the CGI may have been inconsistent but Proyas still knows how to stage a few entertaining moments. For instance, there's the worthwhile set-piece involving Horus and Bek trying to outsmart a pair of fire-breathing giant serpents. Although Coster-Waldau's individual performance feels awkward, he somehow manages to pair well with the surprisingly likable Brenton Thwaites as two unlikely buddies. Chadwick Boseman provides a decent comic relief here as the witty god of knowledge Thoth, while Courtney Eaton and Elodie Yung are both adequate enough as eye candy.

This big budget sword-and-sandal fantasy epic is both campy and cheesy, but still packed a decent entertainment value.

* This review is written courtesy from TGV press screening *

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