Monday, February 29, 2016

Gods of Egypt tries a little too hard

Movie Title:  Gods of Egypt

Grade:  C

Rating:  PG-13, 2 hours 7 minutes

In a Nutshell:    Before my 15 year old son even saw this film, he determined “It’s just a special effects movie.”  Indeed.  It’s not a bad movie; it’s just not a great one.

Considering its huge CGI budget and ambition, the audience I sat with hardly reacted to anything.  The film tries almost too hard and audiences have been responding with a shrug and a “meh”.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s filled with action and a few entertaining moments that made me laugh.  It reminded me a little bit of the campy style of The Scorpion King

It’s generally family-friendly as you watch Gerard Butler (Set) battle Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Horus) in an epic struggle for power over Egypt. 

 Uplifting theme: 
  • “I don’t know if I’m strong enough.” – Horus
“Then become stronger.” -   Ra
  • Osiris, the king (Bryan Brown), holds up two items and explains , “A token from someone with much and someone with little, but when both die and stand at the final gate, what is their value then?  They are symbols of a life well lived.  I say they are equal.  All are welcome in the afterlife.”
  • “Never doubt any man who is fighting for the one thing as powerful as a god: love.” – narrator, Bek (Brenton Thwaites)
  • The existence and the entrance to the after-life has been debated for thousands of years.  Horus announces, "From this moment on, the after-life must be earned, not by gold, but by good deeds, compassion, and generosity.  What we do, how we act in this life matters."

Things I liked:
  • The music really gets you in the mood for a mystical Egyptian journey.
  • Some of the CGI is very cool, while other parts are super cheesy.
  • I liked the symbolism of the horn that Set gave Horus at the coronation.  It is an ancient symbol of power, the very thing that Set wanted.
  • I love watching Geoffrey Rush in anything.  He plays the legendary Ra.
  • I love the cool wings on some of the women.
  • Rufus Sewell always does a great job as a bad guy. I first took notice of him in A Knight’s Tale. 
  • The narrator at the beginning of the movie (an older, wiser Bek, played by Brenton Thwaites) explains that the gods have gold running through their veins, rather than gold, which you get to see several times.  Cool.
  • In the style of The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring , the film mixes scale by showing very tall gods next to small mortals.
  • I have a hard time rooting for a protagonist who is a thief or another who is selfish and lazy.  I want my heroes to be good and honorable.  Both gods and mortals are featured with all of their flaws in this film, yet they also have redeeming qualities.  There is some growth in the protagonists and love conquers all.
  • This could make a good video game.  It almost feels like one already.
  • Beautiful shots from above cities.

Things I didn’t like:
  • There are a lot of jokes that simply fall flat.
  • I thought it was cool how the gods transformed from their human form into their true god shape.
  • There were some lame “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” suspended fake moves.
  • The clothes look like costumes.  The sets look like sets.  The acting feels like acting.  You know you’re watching a movie, rather than disappearing into another world as you watch it.
  • The pacing is terrible.
  • Absolutely no Egyptian actors were used in the film.  None.  Zero. Ziltch.
  • You can tell the movie thinks it's better than it is.

Funny lines:
  •  “Your chance of failure is overwhelming.” – Thoth (Chadwick Boseman)
  • “If I attempted to explain, your brain would liquefy and explode.” – Thoth

Interesting lines:
  •  “Are you sure you’re not a God?” - Horus
“What would I be a god of? Stupidity?” – Bek
“The Impossible.” - Horus

  • “Have you gotten so lazy that you’ve forgotten that every god’s life is a journey?” - Ra

Tips for parents:   

  • Lots and lots of fighting.
  • Lots and lots of beautiful women falling out of their clothes.
  • Some profanity.
  • Several scenes in bed, but you only see kissing.
  • The final messages of the movie are good one for kids: honor, love, kindness, duty, friendship.
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