Gods of Egypt (2016)
All of Heaven is at war
The fabled disastrous heap of a movie of 2016. A film that nearly every single internet critic unanimously said was a giant steaming pile - so much so that the enraged man behind it told them they wouldn't know a good movie if it hit them in the face (paraphrasing on both accounts, of course). A movie that I haven't been so excited to be able to sit down and watch in a very, very long time. I mean, this movie was absolutely rife with terrible all over it, and if there's one thing I can get behind it's a bad movie. There's only one problem though - the movie's trailer actually looked pretty entertaining to me. So were they right, or was my gut feeling based on the trailer the winner of this joust?
Gods of Egypt is the story of the gods of Egypt. Well, a more fantastic take on the tale, for sure. The gods are giant humans of sorts, except with the penchant for bleeding gold and having supernatural abilities on top of being able to transform into various fearsome creature-type beasties. It is time for the kingship of man to pass down from father to son, and the coronation draws near. The mortals are all incredibly excited over this, bringing all manner of gifts for their god-son soon to be king. Two such mortals are our charismatic lead and his lovely and very understanding love interest - and as we can see the two have quite a chemistry with one another. Although all the gods and the mortals in attendance are quite joyous over the occasion, a late arrival seems noticeably less so - putting forth an ultimatum that his brother should fight him now. When he refuses to do so he murders his brother, proclaiming himself king and prompting the son now blinded by a vengeful rage to battle. The son is defeated, and from him his godly eyes taken.
The mortals have it rough under the rule of their new king - mostly servitude. Our two lovers seem separated in roles, although the lead has plans to stop that. His plans, however, aren't nearly as dramatic as that of his love, who prompts him into stealing the eyes back from the now-king and returning them to the son. Finding the plans for the vault with which they are kept, he willing does so in the name of love, only to find a few surprises amongst the traps held within. Still, this man doesn't scare easily, and manages to do the impossible and take the eye from it's resting place. It is unfortunate that upon his return the two's thievery attempts have been noticed to some extent by builder. They only find out the true brunt of the theft when the eye and it's incredible shine are used as a distraction for the couple to escape, stealing the builder's chariot with which to ride away on.
Their victory is rather short lived when an arrow find's the woman's chest however. The now saddened lover proceeds to find the god-son and strike a bargain - that of his lover's life for the eye. Unfortunately, it is already too late for his love, and her soul is taken to the underworld - but the god-son strikes another deal with the persuasive thief. Should the thief help the god-son in his quest for revenge than it will allow the god-son to become the new king, which will grant him the power to tell the god of the underworld to turn back her soul and return it to the living. Thus begins the two's quest, one of revenge and one of love.
I don't understand why this movie got so much hate. The plot's not that bad - surely artistic liberties were taken with the source material, although not being a master of Egyptian theology I couldn't account for every moment of things being strayed from. That being said, it does indeed actually have some really nice little touches in it - such as the battle between Ra and the giant shadowy creature every time he passes to the dark-side of the flat Earth to keep it at bay from eating all of creation. When it comes to the normal parts of the plot, it ends up playing out as a rather enjoyable little fantasy adventure film - with all the stereotypes and things that it may entail. Giant monsters, multiple love stories, conflict between brothers, and even dramatic explosion-filled battles. If you don't like fantasy as a genre, then you certainly won't enjoy this as much as someone who does - even if it is rather "summer blockbuster" in presentation.
Part of blockbusters is the effects budget - usually laden with CG work and explosions. In this case, there is without a doubt a lot of CG usage - although maybe not quite as much as the Star Wars Prequels. Some of it works quite well - such as having the giant gods in the same shots with the smaller mortals. Heck, even the very Power Ranger-esque transformed "beast mode" battles between the main god and his villain counterpart come out looking quite sweet - I guess unless you don't really like the idea of Egyptian power ranger gods. Then you have the moments where it falters a bit - such as a battle with Minotaurs (or whatever I suppose the Egyptian god-version) in which things feel like they really drop in visual quality a few times for reasons I'm not even entirely sure. Exploding bits - be it crumbling structures or actual explosions - come off fine, and there are some moments that really are quite pretty (such as the visit to Ra's flying ship), and some part of me wonders how they would have fared in the 3D version that does exist.
Action scenes are something that I'm convinced certainly wouldn't work quite as well in the 3D, as they tend to be rather fast-paced. In trying to get a screenshot of one of the battles, I tried for about five minutes pausing the DVD I watched to get a non-blurry shot to no avail - even though while watching it all seemed quite smooth and clear. There is also an overabundance of the old spin-cam during the fights of the first half of the movie - in which we slow down the action and do a little rotation around the happenings. It works really well in one moment that makes it feel cool, but the other three or so times all sort of feel unnecessary. Actors also do a pretty decent job here - the main mortal character has some decent chemistry with his loving counterpart, and is probably the most likeable character in the entire movie. There's also even some actual character growth on the main god's part, which is nice to see.
When it comes down to it, I have no idea why people said this movie was as bad as they said. Yes, I openly admit that I have a wider tolerance to movies than some - what with enjoying my fair share of B movies more than an equal share of AAA titles - but even at that this movie just doesn't seem that bad to me. It's easily worth a rental for fans of the fantasy genre, and admittedly it's probably one of the better one's I've seen for some time. Heck, there were even stupid little jokes that made me laugh. When it comes down to it, this one is highly recommended that you rent it to form your own opinion over that of the critics out there - including myself.