Oh god, what an unholy mess
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