Bad Movie Tuesday: Gods of CGI Egypt
Gods of Egypt is a weird movie directed by the talented director Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City). It is a bright blob of CGI that features stiff performances, white Egyptians and Gerard Butler yelling a lot. It is a mishmash of Egyptian history, glossy colors and a few really cool ideas. It represents the worst of big budget film making because it homogenizes cool ideas and moves so quickly you don’t care about anything. There are chases scenes, giant snakes and plunging neck-lines but it becomes boring. The $140 million film bombed at the box-office and feels like it was filmed in 2001, forgotten about, then dumped into the theaters this year.
I wonder if the distressed looks are from watching the dailies?
Gods of Egypt tells the story of the Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) attempting to get revenge on his uncle Set (Gerard Butler). Why does he want revenge? Well, on the day he was to become king, Set killed his parents, stole his girlfriend and ripped out his eyes. Set takes over world, and it becomes a gross place where nobody has money to go into the afterlife (Set is a jerk). However, a resourceful and underwritten thief named Bek (Brenton Thwaites) steals back Horus’s eyes and they go a mission to save the thieve’s girlfriend Zaya (Courtney Eaton) and kill Set. What follows is a bonkers movie that plays like The Immortals met Wrath of the Titans then teamed up with Prince of Persia and spawned something silly. It is stuck in a boring middle ground between blockbuster and Monty Python sketch. I kept waiting for this to happen.
I’ve been a fan of director Alex Proyas for 22 years now. He stormed out of the gate with The Crow, then directed the beautiful Dark City. From there his talents were wasted in I, Robot, Knowing and now Gods of Egypt. His films are always best when they feature grimy settings and R-rated violence. His style doesn’t blend well with CGI because he needs something practical to ground the science fiction in. In The Crow and Dark City he created iconic characters and moments that thrived in the bleak and layered settings. His CGI PG-13 films are basically all smash, crash and more smash. The chase scenes follow a strict structure of people running from CGI creations while the CGI creations destroy CGI structures. There is no creativity to the action and I found myself missing the Brendan Fraser classic (yeah, I said it) The Mummy.
Gods of Egypt is a wasted world building opportunity. It feels like they put it together in a couple months and forgot about making it good. You can’t will a franchise into existence, and I hate that it might prevent future original properties from being released.