Gods of Egypt - 300 star Gerard Butler and Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau head the cast of this enjoyably schlocky fantasy-adventure set in the world of ancient Egypt.
A critically panned flop on its US release earlier this year, Gods of Egypt turns out to be an enjoyably trashy, totally bonkers fantasy adventure.
Plundering ancient Egyptian mythology with go-for-broke abandon, Cairo-born Greek-Australian director Alex Proyas gives us feuding 12-foot-tall deities, plucky mortals, desperate quests and as much energetically schlocky action as a $140 million budget will buy.
Good taste doesn’t get a look in, least of all when it comes to the vogue for glitz and bling among the story’s gods, who dwell among humans as their rulers and favour dictator chic when it comes to their design and fashion choices.
The movie’s baddie, Gerard Butler’s Set, is definitely a dictator in waiting. Slaying his benevolent brother Osiris (Bryan Brown), he usurps the throne of Egypt from his pleasure-loving nephew Horus (Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), gouging out his rival’s eyes (the source of Horus’s power) and casting him into exile.
Fortunately, bolshie young thief Bek (Brenton Thwaites from Oculus, Maleficent and Son of a Gun) is on hand to rouse Horus into action, helping him in return for a promise to free his dead beloved, Zaya (Mad Max: Fury Road’s Courtney Eaton), from the underworld.
The rumbustious adventure that ensues is entertainingly silly. There is a harum-scarum raid on a booby-trapped vault right out of Raiders of the Lost Ark, an encounter with the riddling Sphinx and a desert showdown with a pair of warlike goddesses riding giant fire-breathing serpents.
Though saddled with modern slang and accents that veer all over the Anglophone globe, the actors enter into Gods of Egypt’s giddy spirit. Butler, Scottish brogue defiantly intact, charges along with gusto, while Geoffrey Rush lends hammy conviction to the spaceship-piloting god Ra.
The women have less to do, but French–Cambodian actress Elodie Yung, a striking presence in District 13: Ultimatum, GI Joe 2: Retaliation and Netflix hit Daredevil, is enjoyably slinky and imperious as Hathor goddess of love.
Certificate 12A. Runtime 127 mins. Director Alex Proyas
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A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.