Magazine article Screen International

'Gods of Egypt': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Gods of Egypt': Review

Article excerpt

Dir. Alex Proyas. US/Australia, 2016, 127 mins

The struggles of deities trouble mortals in Alex Proyas' first film in seven years; however Gods of Egypt is unlikely to inflict much distress upon audiences for too long. Despite starting with a sense of grandeur - complete with rousing introductory music, knowing narration that speaks of romance, power and survival, and a computerised fly-over designed to showcase the mythological splendour of its titular setting - this fantasy-adventure film from the director of I, Robot and Knowing is unable back up its initial confidence with its content.

Set to rollout worldwide from February 25, Gods of Egypt could follow in the footsteps of another American-Australian co-production released at this tenuous time of year: 2015's Jupiter Ascending. The two movies share not only casts littered with marketable names - Gerard Butler, Geoffrey Rush and Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in the current case - but prominent visuals that aren't enough to divert focus from the flimsy romps that comprise their respective narratives.

The tactics of a contingent of soldiers in the feature's opening battle offer an omen of things to come, as they help their blood-thirsty leader, Set (Butler), stop his nephew, Horus (Coster-Waldau), from being crowned Egypt's new king. Though Horus' kindly father, Osiris (Bryan Brown), has already been dispensed with and the fight seemingly favours Set, they try to dazzle their ruler's opponent with the glare from their glistening shields. Rarely has a film's determination to distract viewers with the sleekness and shine of its imagery been mirrored so obviously in its story.

Set, Osiris and Horus may be three of the gods in this film's title, but as the former terrorises his fellow divinities and enslaves his subjects, and the latter scurries away sulking in the aftermath, they're hardly acting like higher beings. It is little wonder that mischievous common thief Bek (Brenton Thwaites, continuing to build on a resume that includes Maleficent and The Giver) refuses to worship them, even if they do literally tower over humanity.

Besotted with the attractive Zaya (Courtney Eaton), Bek prefers to place his faith in love, agreeing to carry out her plan to steal Horus' eyes from Set's booby-trapped vault - and therefore hopefully restore Horus to the throne - in an effort to resume his life with the object of his affection. …

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