Now showing in Hong Kong

Film review: Gods of Egypt – CGI chaos reigns in cheesy foray into mythology

Potential of backdrops and layered storyline spoilt as director manages to coax worst performances from quality actors

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 March, 2016, 8:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 March, 2016, 8:00pm

This unfortunate film dearly wants to be Thor set in ancient Egypt, but some terrible dialogue ensures that it comes up way short of that unambitious aim. Scenes featuring a Gandalf-like Geoffrey Rush as Ra the sun god add a bit of well-needed gravitas, but it’s generally a ham-fisted affair which is constantly on the verge of falling apart.

The story mixes the rich and the poor. Set (Gerard Butler), the god of war and chaos, usurps the throne of Egypt from his brother, and then steals his nephew Horus’ (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) magic eyes in a duel. Meanwhile, a petty thief, Bek (Brenton Thwaites), watches his beloved killed by the evil official who built Set’s palace. After stealing some architectural plans, Bek makes a deal to retrieve Horus’ eyes from the palace if the god brings his love back from the underworld in return.

Most big-budget actioners are aimed at the lowest common denominator, but few are as juvenile as this: director Alex Proyas seems intent on pulling the worst possible performances out of a competent cast, and Butler’s inability to completely disguise his Scottish accent doesn’t help much.

It’s a shame, as the Egyptian backdrops and the layered storyline have potential, and the special effects, while cheesy, are fun to watch. Gods of Egypt borrows liberally from other films, notably the Transformers series and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Copying is par for the course in Hollywood, but it’s a sin to do it this badly.

Gods of Egypt opens on March 3

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