Oh god, what an un­holy mess

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Ticket -

Ev­ery once in a while a film comes along where you gen­uinely won­der what every­one in­volved was think­ing – Gods of Egypt is one of those films.

The tacky swords-and-san­dals epic sees mor­tal Bek (Bren­ton Th­waites) and deity Herus (Niko­laj Coster-Wal­dau) join forces to take on Set (Ger­ard But­ler), the god of dark­ness who has usurped Egypt’s throne.

If that all sounds a lit­tle Clash of the Ti­tans it’s be­cause it plays out in sim­i­lar style, but even the mis­er­ably dull 2010 Clash re­make had more go­ing for it than this headache-in­duc­ing turkey.

Sur­pris­ing, in a sense, given the man behind the cam­era; Alex Proyas has helmed The Crow, Dark City and I, Robot af­ter all.

But when you con­sider the 54-year-old hasn’t di­rected in seven years – since the dire Nicolas Cage sci-fi Know­ing – the mis­er­able fail­ure of his come­back out­ing per­haps be­gins to be­come more un­der­stand­able.

And back­ing him up on script­ing du­ties are Matt Sazama and the ap­pro­pri­ately named Burk Sharp­less, who seem to have nailed the list­less, head-smack­ingly dumb fan­tasy block­buster tem­plate over the last cou­ple of years (The Last Witch Hunter, Drac­ula Un­told).

The pair take lib­er­ties with an­cient myths and make fol­low­ing the stupid story a lot more dif­fi­cult than it should be.

Proyas does his best to in­ject some vis­ual flair to pro­ceed­ings with sparkling cos­tumes, sets and ma­jes­tic sweep­ing cam­era work, but it’s like try­ing to put a small plas­ter over a gap­ing wound.

Even the likes of 300 – much her­alded for its spe­cial ef­fects and film­ing style – was blessed with like­able char­ac­ters whose fate you cared about and made for en­joy­able pop­corn fun.

Gods of Egypt takes it­self far too se­ri­ously and in­stead of glee­ful chest-beat­ing and over-thetop sword­play we get fur­rowed brows, lame at­tempts to in­tro­duce weighty drama and an over­abun­dance of self­ish he­roes.

Stick­ing with the 300 com­par­i­son, even though he finds him­self on the op­po­site side of the good-ver­sus-evil di­vide this time out, But­ler gives an un­in­ten­tion­ally hi­lar­i­ous per­for­mance with his Scot­tish brogue feel­ing much more out of place than it did in Zack Sny­der’s an­cient Greece-set smack­down.

Aussie Th­waites is an actor who has never done any­thing for me and he strug­gles with the pres­sure of lead­ing the good guys’ fight. CosterWal­dau tries his best but must have longed for a re­turn to the safety of his Game of Thrones sets.

Even tur­keys of­ten lure act­ing heavy­weights – old and new – and I hope Ge­of­frey Rush (Ra), Ru­fus Sewell (Ur­shu) and new Black Pan­ther Chad­wick Bose­man (Thoth) got paid enough to make hav­ing this mon­strous mess on their CVs worth the woe.

A dis­as­trous dy­namic of dodgy CGI and even dodgier sto­ry­lines and act­ing sees Gods of Egypt be­come a prime con­tender for the year’s worst trip to the cinema.

It’ll take divine in­ter­ven­tion for it to be knocked off its pedestal.

Mer­ci­less Ger­ard But­ler shows his dark side as evil god Set

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