• by Wes Singleton

Review: Gods of Egypt, D

Gerard Butler

Rated PG-13, 100 minutes

At a recent screening following the utterly silly, god-awful expensive new action fantasy film "Gods of Egypt," one of my friends (and they know who they are) simply said, "wow, what a hot mess." That could aptly describe this all-over-the-place movie, which mixes sci-fi fantasy with Egyptian mythology to messy, wildly uneven results, which is unsurprising given that this bloated affair is about 90% CGI. The survival of mankind hangs in the balance when Set (Gerard Butler), the merciless god of darkness, usurps Egypt's throne and plunges the prosperous empire into chaos and conflict. Hoping to save the world and rescue his true love, a defiant mortal named Bek (Brenton Thwaites) forms an unlikely alliance with the powerful god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Their battle against Set and his henchmen takes them into the afterlife and across the heavens for an epic confrontation. The $140 million Lionsgate disaster "Gods of Egypt" isn't a disaster film per se, though at least it'll go down in a flaming cheese ball, taking Butler, in muscled "300" form and playing the bad guy, with it. There are two things worth mentioning about this cheesefest: 1) it's not lacking in energy, and 2) everything is glistening, particularly those guns popping from Butler and Coster-Waldau's arms; that doesn't mean any of it's actually good, it just means you may not doze off, though it's so ADD you'll get dizzy trying to keep up with it. Directed by Alex Proyas, who's directed such science-fiction fantasies as "Knowing" and "I, Robot," he is largely responsible for this mess, given it's heavy influence from space and machines rather than by direct mythology, with a climax that seems directly lifted from a "Transformers" film, somehow incorporating lasers in Greek mythology. It doesn't help that the head-scratching script, from the screenwriting team of Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (who penned another recent sci-fi disaster, "The Last Witch Hunter"), veers wildly in tone from light humor to heavy battle scenes, with some of the most wooden dialogue heard in recent memory, adding in Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush in a rather embarrassing small part as the Sun god Ra, proving you'll do anything if the check is big enough. "Gods of Egypt" is also hurt by its baffling, whitewashed casting (mostly Anglo, with British accents), none of whom look like real Egyptians, yet given this is a fantasy, the filmmakers have license to do what they want. Next time try making a good movie.

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