‘Gods of Egypt’ Review | It’s Even Worse Than It Looks
About halfway through my second viewing of Gods of Egypt I wondered what I was doing with my life. The crisp night air was calling me, the warm touch of a cherished lover waited at home, and instead I was watching Gerard Butler pull a glowing crystal brain out of another actor’s skull so he could shove it in an Iron Man suit. And I was watching that for the second time.
Nobody asked me to watch Gods of Egypt twice, mind you. I considered it my solemn duty. The first time I saw Gods of Egypt, I found the film to be so unbelievably, absurdly dumb that I didn’t think I could fully trust my senses. Perhaps this movie was better than it at first appeared. It was a definite possibility, I figured, since it at first appeared to be one of the worst films I had ever seen in my life. Or maybe this movie would turn out to be, now that I knew exactly what I was watching, “so bad it’s good.”
But no, I was right the first time. Gods of Egypt is not only terrible, but it also gets worse with each viewing. The film’s awfulness is probably its only selling point, but unlike ironically entertaining turkeys like Batman & Robin, Battlefield Earth and Showgirls, its badness isn’t even particularly interesting. Gods of Egypt takes bonkers ideas and whitewashes them into generalized mediocrity. It’s so bad it’s just bad.
Gods of Egypt is a fantasy adventure about ancient Egypt, populated mostly by white people, in which the gods walk amongst mankind. They wear flamboyant outfits and stand three feet taller than everybody else, and they soak up admiration from throngs of cheering mortals who receive nothing in return. It’s like the Grammy Awards red carpet but it never ends, and sometimes Lady Gaga beats the tar out of Miley Cyrus and plucks her eyes out with her bare hands.
So a Scottish-Egyptian god played by Gerard Butler assassinates an Australian-Egyptian god played by Bryan Brown and then usurps the throne of Egypt. The rightful heir, a Danish-Egyptian god played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, is blinded and banished to the desert, but then Aladdin (Brenton Thwaites) steals back one of the missing eyes from a Prince of Persia demo level and they embark on an epic quest to bicker a lot and walk past green screen backgrounds.
Meanwhile, Chadwick Boseman gives an impossibly bad performance as the god of wisdom, who minces every line like he’s trying to be as off-putting as possible. Then Geoffrey Rush shows up on a shiny giant shuffleboard satellite and shoots rockets at a space worm. The whole thing is completely baffling from beginning to end and it cost $140 million to produce, and it still manages to be boring because every scene feels perfunctory. The movie is so oblivious to its own oddness that it fails to forge its own identity.
When you think about the staggering amount of effort it took to put this movie together – money, creativity, technology, craftsmanship, time, good intentions – it seems almost offensive that it turned out this bland. Only a few moments of noteworthy craziness punctuate the otherwise limp, by-the-numbers fantasy production when the only thing that could have possibly saved this movie was making it as crazy as possible.
Audiences are entitled to their standards, even audiences who like bad movies. So exercise your rights and don’t bother watching Gods of Egypt. There are better ways to spend your time. There are even worse ways to spend your time that will still be more enjoyable. Life is too short for subpar movies like this.
Top Photo: Summit Entertainment
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and watch him on the weekly YouTube series Most Craved and What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.