Gods of Egypt

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In an alternate version of Egypt, the world is flat and gods live among humans. The Egyptian gods are distinguished from humans by their greater height, golden blood, and ability to transform into their animal-headed deity forms.

Bek (Brenton Thwaites), a thief with little faith in gods and their goodwill towards humans, with his love Zaya (Courtney Eaton) are attending the coronation of Horus: God of the Air (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Horus is shown getting ready for his coronation as his love Hathor (Élodie Yung) surprises him. Horus hints at marriage and they discuss Hathor’s protection bracelet made of the stars which Horus gave to her to protect and save her from her previous role as a guide to dead souls in the underworld. During the ceremony, Osiris (Bryan Brown) is killed by his extremely jealous brother Set: God of the Desert (Gerard Butler) who seizes the throne and declares a new regime where the dead will have to pay with riches to pass into the afterlife. Horus is stripped of his eyes which are the source of his power and almost killed. Hathor pleads with Set in surrender to spare him and he is instead exiled. Hathor becomes an enslaved mistress to Set.

A year later, Bek has been working as a slave building monuments while Zaya is now under the ownership of the chief architect Urshu (Rufus Sewell). Believing that Horus is the only one who can defeat Set, she gives Bek the floorplans to Set’s treasure vault. Bek is able to steal back one of Horus’ eyes. However, Urshu finds out about their theft and kills Zaya as the couple flee. Bek takes her body to the blind Horus and makes a bargain: Horus agrees to bringing Zaya back from the dead for his eye and Bek’s knowledge about Set’s pyramid.

Later, they are traveling to Ra’s divine vessel above the Earth. Horus is unable to convince Ra (Geoffrey Rush) to regrant him his power in full or to intervene and defeat Set himself as Ra is both neutral about their conflict and daily at war with an enormous shadow beast Apophis, that threatens to devour the world. Nevertheless, Horus obtains divine waters from Ra’s vessel which can be used at Set’s pyramid to extinguish the desert thirst and weaken him gravely. Ra tells Horus that his weakness is the result of him not fulfilling his destiny, which Horus believes means avenging his parents’ deaths.

Set asks Hathor to take him to the underworld which he next desires to conquer, but she refuses and manages to escape. Eventually, Hathor finds Bek and Horus. Horus at first doesn’t trust her as she is a mistress of Set, who had blinded him, while she tries to convince him that Set is her enemy as well. When they tell her of their plan regarding Set’s pyramid, she warns them of a guardian sphinx who will kill anyone not wise enough to solve a riddle. The group then heads to the library of Thoth: God of Wisdom (Chadwick Boseman), recruiting him to solve the riddle.

Arriving at Set’s shrine, they overcome its traps, including the sphinx (Kenneth Ransom), to reach the source of Set’s power. But before they can pour the divine water in, Set traps them and reveals Horus’s deception to Bek: that he is unable to bring Zaya back from the dead. Set destroys their flask of divine water and kills Thoth by taking his brain. Horus is able to save Hathor and Bek.

Horus admits before the enraged Bek to caring more about his revenge than the mortals. Hathor feels guilt for not exposing the deception and as the Goddess of Love helps the doomed lovers. She sacrifices her own safety for Zaya’s payment into the afterlife by giving Bek the protective bracelet which stops the underworld souls from overwhelming her and calling Anubis (Goran D. Kleut) to take him to Zaya. Therefore, she lets herself be dragged to the underworld while Horus realizes that he still loves her.

Having obtained Thoth’s brain, Osiris’s heart, one of Horus’s eyes, and wings from Nephthys (Emma Booth), Set has them combined with himself. Set travels to Ra, appealing to his father for approval and asking why Osiris was favored, while he was denied leadership and children. Ra claims that all of Set’s prior mistreatments were tests preparing Set for his true role: the honor and burden of taking Ra’s place as the defender of the world aboard his solar barge, fighting against the demon Apophis. Set is dismayed to hear his destiny is to be alone above the planet until he dies and refuses. He wants to destroy the afterlife so that he can be immortal. Ra tries to fight him, but cannot as Set has taken the powers of other gods. He then stabs Ra, taking his fiery spear of power, and casts him off the boat freeing Apophis to consume both the mortal and underword realms.

Bek finds Zaya, who refuses Hathor’s gift as she doesn’t want an afterlife without Bek, but then Apophis attacks and the gate to the afterlife is closed. Bek returns to the mortal world, where Horus is amazed that Bek still wants to help take down Set. Bek tells him it was Zaya who told him to, as she still has faith in Horus.

Horus climbs up the outer wall of an obelisk Set is standing on and attempts to battle him, but is heavily outmatched. Bek ascends on the inside and joins the battle, removing Horus’s stolen eye from Set’s armor, being wounded in the process. As Bek slides toward the edge of the obelisk, he throws the eye toward Horus, who must choose to catch it or save Bek instead. Horus reaches for Bek and apologizes for all he has put him through. As they plummet toward the ground, Horus finds that he now has the power to transform into his divine form and he catches Bek and flies him to safety. Horus realizes that it wasn’t the recovery of his eye nor revenge that was his destiny, it was the protection of his people that he needed to fight for. Now, Horus has the strength for battling Set, and he gains the obelisk and kills him. After the battle and Set’s death, he then finds Ra wounded and floating in space, and returns his spear to him, allowing Ra to once again repel Apophis.

As Horus returns to Bek, a child holds out his other eye which she has found, while people cheer him. But Horus’s joy turns to sadness as he arrives to find Bek dying. Horus carries him to Osiris’s tomb and lays him beside Zaya. Ra, his grandfather, arrives and offers to bestow any power on him to repay Horus for his life and Egypt’s survival. All Horus wants is bringing Bek and Zaya back to life. The other gods are also revived and have their attributes restored. Horus is crowned king by Thoth and declares the afterlife will be for those who do good in the world. Bek is made chief advisor, and he gives Horus back Hathor’s bracelet letting Horus leave to rescue her from the underworld.

REVIEW:

There are plenty of movies and TV shows dealing with the Greek/Roman gods, as well as the legends of Norse mythology, but we don’t get much from ancient Egypt. This is where Gods of Egypt comes in. A film that will hopefully not be an insult to the proud and storied culture of the Egyptians.

What is this about?

In this epic tale inspired by Egyptian mythology, Horus, the god of the sun, vows to avenge his father’s death at the hands of Set, the god of darkness. As Horus joins forces with the goddess of love and a mortal thief, a mighty battle takes shape.

What did I like?

Take a look. Regardless of what I may or may ultimately think of this film, I must say that it is a feast for the eyes. I will never be a fan of CG, but the way it is used, especially in the fight scenes and Ra’s boat, one would almost start singing the praises of the medium. The shiny metal armor may not be everyone’s thing, but given that this isn’t our ancient Egypt, but rather an alternate one, I can accept it.

Creative direction. Speaking of that armor, that was just one of the ways this film strays from what we know as the source material. I am not well versed in Egyptian mythology, but I do know the basics and, for the most part, the characterizations were kept close. However, liberties were taken with characters such as Thoth. We didn’t see a giant bird, but instead, we get a rather flamboyant and egotistical Chadwick Boseman (thank goodness he’s using a better accent for Black Panther)

Buddy. There is something to be said about a good buddy movie. This isn’t one of them. With that said, I did appreciate the attempt at camaraderie between Horus and Bek. The attempts at humor weren’t the greatest, but at least it broke up the monotony of a film that needed something to keep the audience invested. Watching their relationship grow was worth it.

What didn’t I like?

Color me something. What is with casting directors and making movies about Africa or that region over there. Is there just an ingrained stupidity that makes them think everyone was white? Oh, but the slaves, extras, servants, etc were the first ones to be cast as people of color. Excluding Chadwick Boseman’s character, who could be seen as a bit of an offense, as well, there are no people of color in lead/speaking roles for a film based on ancient Egypt. Why is that? Not too long ago, we got Exodus: Gods and Kings, which had a similar casting problem. Was nothing learned?!? Back in the day, it was custom for white actors and actresses to play other races, but look at the times and racial atmosphere back then. Even with the racial strife and tension we have today, it isn’t that bad and we should  get more accurate casting when it comes to things like this. I guess there is one bastion to go along with my slight tirade. The forthcoming Black Panther movie, coincidentally starring Boseman, is set in a fictional country in Africa and has yet to cast anyone not of color. So, maybe they’re starting to learn.

Blood brother. Let me stay on color for a bit longer. The opening narration mentions that the gods have this golden blood, yet we don’t see it until the very end when Gerard Butler is crawling away. As I was looking at it, I couldn’t help but think, it that was some kind of real golden blood, it wouldn’t look like the coloring was just put into it. Come on people, you need to put more work into the little things!

Riddle me this. When I was growing up, there was a Saturday morning cartoon called Kidd Video. Some of you may recall it. If not, type it into youtube and watch how trippy the 80s were for animation. Anyway, one of the episodes I remember best was when the Sphinx appeared and the group had to answer a riddle. What does this have to do with anything? Well, even on another world, the Sphinx still had its trademark look. Not so much the case here. As I mentioned before, liberties were taken with design and whatnot, but some things should just be left alone, like the Sphinx!

Final verdict on Gods of Egypt? This is a film that is not going to win any fans. It doesn’t have the star power (sorry Gerard Butler) to put people in the seats, the story isn’t that strong, and everything else about it is just average, at best. That being said, I still had fun watching and couldn’t turn away. This isn’t a bad film, but it isn’t a good film either. I’m having a hard time deciding whether to recommend it or not. I guess if you want to see what a live action SilverHawks flick would look like, then yes, I recommend it.

3 out of 5 stars

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