Please note the review below may contain minor spoilers - I've done my best to keep them to a minimum.
A filmic masterpiece? Highbrow art? Gods of Egypt fits with none of these labels - part and parcel the cause of many horrid critical reviews - but one thing it truly achieves, pure escapism.
As a young child getting invested within the medium of film for the first time, one of the early films that sparked my imagination and wonder of what could truly be possible was Jason and the Argonauts; witnessing a world on screen very unlike our own, along with creatures feeling so alive that have manifested from pure imagination - released today that film would be laughed at. Is it any wonder then that the genre has been so underserved for decades? Relegated to b-movie budgets and 90ís television shows like Hercules and Xena.
Gods of Egypt is a two hour ride that will at first blow you away with how beautiful it all looks, yes the film is paper thin, with a plot that basically lends itself to moving from one spectacular action set piece to the next, but it does so in beautiful fashion - clearly every frame of its $140 million budget has been spent on screen - and might I say they nailed the size disparity that caused fellow fantasy film Lords of the Rings so many problems.
What also works well within Gods of Egypt is the lore on display, instead of lending itself to a modicum of realism - in turn connecting it to our own world, like many modern fantasy efforts now strive for - it fully understands the absurdity on screen and instead goes full bore into those ancient mythological roots and takes them at face value - complete with Ra, the God of all creation sailing a boat in space, whilst staving off the terrifying Apophis, a giant space-serpent every night. Yes itís all existentially absurd, but perfectly fits together as a whole within the world crafted on screen.
Gods of Egypt is also a film that just aims to be pure fun, and this permeates through the performances themselves - and indicated through its special features - with the actors clearly enjoying their more physical, sometimes hammy renditions and just basically having a laugh with the whole thing.
With a plot of - basically like all age-old tales - good versus evil, thereís not a whole lot to get invested in, but surprisingly you do become invested in Horus and Bek, for as much as Gods of Egypt is swords-and-sandals, popcorn eye-candy, itís also a buddy movie with a fulfilling arc beyond its action culmination. And speaking of action, Gods of Egypt has plenty on show, whether it's battling giant monsters or fellow Gods - with obvious careful attention to fight choreography - and succeeding where a lot of action-led films commit a cardinal sin, in actually making the action actually followable to the viewer's eye.
Much like the recent Warcraft movie, Gods of Egypt is the reason why the medium exists, to create strange worlds very unlike our own, to transport us there and allow us to escape from our lives for a few hours, and Gods of Egypt wholly succeeds in that effort.
If thereís one thing Iíve come to understand from my short time spent with Gods of Egypt, itís that not only were the critics wrong in initially lambasting Gods of Egypt with the title of Ďworst film of 2016í - if they believe that then they truly havenít seen bad films - but that itís more indicative that thereís really no longer a space for pure high-fantasy films like Gods of Egypt to exist in the critical space for many - which is the true shame.
A DVD review copy of Gods of Egypt was provided by the distributor for review purposes.
- 3 Out of 5 Stars
Lack of emotional investment
No director's commentary
Gods of Egypt
Release Date: 24th October
Runtime: 2 hr 6 mins
Director: Alex Proyas
Starring: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Gerard Butler, Brenton Thwaites, Courtney Eaton, Rufus Sewell, Geoffrey Rush & Elodie Yung
- Warcraft: The Beginning
Yes, it contains one or two scenes of actual human violence, but mostly in the fantasy realm involving CG monsters and Gods.
Filming Gods of Egypt occurred in the Australian desert, which served for the Sahara desert. It was considered to film in the Sahara itself but it was felt to be too dangerous.
Gods of Egypt actually features no Egyptian-born actors.
Director Alex Proyas' (known for The Crow) first feature in seven years.