Horus (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) has Bek (Brenton Thwaites) in a tight spot in “Gods of Egypt.”
Secret ending? No.
Running time: 127 minutes (~2 hours)
“Gods of Egypt” is a fantasy and adventure film about the gods of ancient Egypt. In this interpretation of Egyptian mythology, the newly crowned god-king Horus must team up with Bek, a mortal, to stop the dark god Set’s mad ambitions. It stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Horus), Brenton Thwaites (Bek), Gerard Butler (Set), Chadwick Boseman (Thoth), Elodie Yung (Hathor), Courtney Eaton (Zaya), Rufus Sewell (Urshu), Geoffrey Rush (Ra), and Bryan Brown (Osiris). It is rated PG-13.
“Gods of Egypt” looks and feels like a video game come to life, with every god having his or her own special powers, mystical artifacts everywhere and a fixed set of rules on how magic works. It might not have the grand, epic scope that other mythological movies have, but it also doesn’t burden itself with unnecessary angst and pain. Instead, the film focuses on the fun and fantastical aspects of Egyptian mythology, giving us a modern take on the Egyptian gods. Best of all, it doesn’t feature a white-washed cast unlike recent mythical movies.
Because the gods themselves are pinnacles of different ideals, and also because they exist on an entirely different scale from mortals, it’s difficult to write believable character development for them. That being said, if there’s no change in character then the story becomes meaningless. Even amidst this rip-roaring adventure, “Gods of Egypt” manages to lay the foundation for Horus’ character development, setting him on a believable and satisfying arc of personal growth.
Wonderful special effects
It’s the CGI that gives “Gods of Egypt” its video game feel. The graphics used reflect today’s depictions of superheroes, which is what the gods were to the ancient Egyptians. Each god has a theme to their appearance, powers and equipment, and even without them mentioning it, you can usually tell what their domain is. Their fights and transformations are also worthy to behold, and help us to understand why these gods are deserving of mortal worship.
Rich sets and costumes
Complementing the special effects are the intricate costume designs, which again, follow the theme of each god. The sets themselves are also evocative places of magic and wonder, showing us the full landscape of Egypt and the rest of the cosmos. It’s not just pyramids and deserts that Horus and Bek have to traverse. The structure of the universe also bears special mention, with a breath-taking sun ship serving as Ra’s domain.
Brenton Thwaites can’t act
While Brenton Thwaites is definitely likeable as the eager and optimistic Bek, there’s no covering up the fact that he can’t emote past a smile. There’s no differentiation between his emotions, and it’s obvious that he’s there as a pretty face and a plot device for Horus. He does get good lines and fulfills his role well as a sidekick though.
Set is cliched and underused
Set, played by Gerard Butler, had so much potential to be a villain of epic proportions. Unfortunately, his plans just aren’t that grand, and his motivations are murky at best. Set could have been a truly tragic antagonist that would have put all the characters in an ethical dilemma, given his circumstances. In this film, he’s just your run-of-the-mill megalomaniac.