GODS OF EGYPT
The survival of mankind hangs in the balance as an unexpected mortal hero Bek (Brenton Thwaites) undertakes a thrilling journey to save the world and rescue his true love. In order to succeed, he must enlist the help of the powerful god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) in an unlikely alliance against Set (Gerard Butler), the merciless god of darkness, who has usurped Egypt's throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict. As their breathtaking battle against Set and his henchmen takes them into the afterlife and across the heavens, both god and mortal must pass tests of courage and sacrifice if they hope to prevail in the epic final confrontation. (Inspired by the classic mythology of Egypt.)
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
When all known superheroes bred and developed by Marvel and DC Comics are already taken and otherwise busy in major Hollywood studios, where does a filmmaker look? Well, the gods of Egyptian mythology. If they are less well known than the likes of Batman and Superman, the upside is they can be portrayed any which way suits the filmmakers. They can have all the superhero powers and more, they can transform into flying fighters, and they can flirt with immortality - not to mention giving the costumiers and production designers a field day. As for the special effects teams - well, they are given free rein to stretch their imaginations in computing the most fiery dragon-substitutes, the most apocalyptic terrors and the most vicious fights with magic weapons.
The period setting lends itself to vast set pieces that would make Cecil B. de Mille's eyes water. But these days, you don't want your actors to speak in stilted 'period' style - they can speak in contemporary mode, where the stilt is less noticeable. Well, not much less ...
You can do all that without having to buy any rights to characters or stories: the film claims to be inspired by the mythology of ancient Egypt, and it is certainly an inspired approach.
Shot in Sydney at the Fox Studios, director Alex Proyas made the most of the opportunity to cast Australians in some supporting roles, for which their bank managers would be grateful. I doubt their agents would use the film as a showcase for further work, though; it's not that kind of film.
The principals get a better deal in the film, with Brenton Thwaites a plucky Bek, a mortal whose heroism and intelligence propels him to success. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as the God of Air, Horus, is also effective, a good balance for the baddie, Set the God of Darkness, played with Scottish fury by Gerard Butler. The two principal women, Courtney Eaton as Zaya (Horus' love interest) and Elodie Young as Hathor (Bek's love interest) are effective and engaging.
Perhaps the most impressive performance is that of Rufus Sewell as Urshu, the brilliant architect; Sewell brings an authenticity and gravitas to the character which fills all his scenes.
Also noteworthy is composer Marco Beltrami's score, with its melodic waves and subtle evocative influences. He can also lay on the big, brassy, heavy battle cues with great panache.
Undemanding audiences who aren't troubled by the cheesy elements would no doubt enjoy the spectacle: that is what it is, a spectacle.
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GODS OF EGYPT (M)
CAST: Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites, Courtney Eaton, Elodie Yung, Chadwick Boseman, Geoffrey Rush, Bruce Spence, Bryan Brown, Emma Booth, Rachael Blake, Robyn Nevin
PRODUCER: Alex Proyas, Basil Iwanyk
DIRECTOR: Alex Proyas
SCRIPT: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Menzies Jr
EDITOR: Richard Learoyd
MUSIC: Marco Beltrami
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Owen Paterson
RUNNING TIME: 127 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: eOne
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 25, 2016