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A Defense of ‘Gods of Egypt’

A story about Egyptian mythology, crazy special effects, stars such as Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Chadwick Boseman and Geoffrey Rush…what’s not to love? Well, according to critics and moviegoers alike, everything! Gods of Egypt was slated by audiences for a whole number of reasons. Some of which included whitewashing, messing up Egyptian mythology, bad special effects, a ridiculous premise and poor acting. I’m here to today to tell you the opposite: why Gods of Egypt is an awesome movie…or at least not an awful one.

Basic Premise of Gods of Egypt

Gods of Egypt

image via Medium

The plot has two main story elements: the Gods and the mortals. The latter follows Bek (Brenton Thwaites) and the love of his life, Zaya (Courtney Eaton). The pair are witnesses and victims to the destructive family squabbles of the Gods. Speaking of whom…the God element of this movie follows Horus, the God of Air (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) who is the son of Osiris (Bryan Brown). All hell breaks loose when Set (Gerard Butler) returns and murders his brother, Osiris. Set then removes Horus’s all-seeing eyes and take control of Egypt. He then enslaves the mortals in order to build incredible monuments and collect all the gold in the land.

Gods of Egypt essentially follows Horus and his new mortal companion, Bek as they seek to reclaim his stolen eye. All in an effort to defeat Set and save Zaya in the process. Along the way they face challenges. This includes bargaining with Ra, the Sun God (Geoffrey Rush) and solving the Sphinx’s riddle. Not to mention seeking help from Thoth (Chadwick Boseman) and Hathor (Elodie Yung). All in all, Gods of Egypt is set up to be a highly entertaining film.

Critique

Gods of Egypt

image via Variety

Allow me to start off with the negative aspects of this film. For starters, I do agree with the general consensus. In the sense that I’d have preferred to watch the telling of genuine Egyptian mythology rather than what we got (although this point also works as a positive point which I shall touch on in a moment). I think that there are so many incredibly interesting Ancient Egyptian myths that very few people will have heard of. So I think they missed an opportunity in that regard. I also think that as far as plots go, this one was about as basic as you can get. It seemed incredibly familiar and I can’t decide if that’s due to it being a generic story line or whether it’s actually the same as another film.

There were a few more minor aspects to Gods of Egypt that did let it down a little. One of the things I both love and hate about Gerard Butler as an actor is his inability to do accents. Whether you’re watching Gods of Egypt, Law-Abiding Citizen or 300, you’ll always catch his Scottish accent at some stage or another. Another minor annoyance was the special effects. In many ways they were excellent but the constant attempt to make Horus seem gigantic in comparison to Bek led to many scenes that looked terrible visually.

The Positive Side

Gods of Egypt

image via HBO Watch

I had read many of the negative reviews of Gods of Egypt before watching the film. Overall they made me realize one thing: we’ve forgotten how to enjoy a ridiculous movie. As an audience, we don’t seem to be able to sit back, put something crazy on and just enjoy it. Instead we’ve become this overly critical mass that sucks all of the enjoyment out of any movie. I can raise my hand up and admit to being guilty of that exact same thing (The Last Jedi comes to mind). As such, I thought I would take off the film critic glasses for this movie and just see what happened.

What I found was a rather enjoyable movie. Gods of Egypt may not be the best movie ever but it’s certainly not bad either. The acting for the most part is great, visually it’s a stunning film, they found a way to combine mythology with awesome battles and fight scenes. I also found their version of these characters to be truly interesting. For example, giant men and women who look like humans but have gifts that allow them to display extraordinary abilities. The Gods can also transform into a sort of battle-mode armor which gave off a Power Rangers vibe. Sadly the concept art for these scenes looks much, much better!

Taking mythology from Ancient Egypt such as Anubis, the protector of the gates of the underworld, and creating a dark and sinister journey that the dead must make before being judged was actually rather chilling. There are certainly elements picked straight out of the mythology but there was undoubtedly a lot of creativity involved in creating these scenes as well.

Why I Don’t Agree With the Critics

Gods of Egypt

image via CinePop

I think many people going into this film had certain expectations. When I first heard about it way back before it was released, I was excited. Upon learning that the film had taken many liberties with Ancient Egyptian mythology I was a little put off. Watching the trailer led to me to never see this film until just a few nights ago. However, after watching it I realized that the variations from mythology were actually an interesting part of the movie. I think we all need to remember that this film isn’t a representation of Ancient Egypt. Nor is it even a representation of Ancient Egyptian mythology: At least no more than Marvel’s Thor is a representation of Norse mythology.

It’s from this point of view that I don’t feel strongly about the whitewashing element which this film was heavily criticized for. First of all, this movie takes place in a completely fictitious world. An example of this is the fact that the Earth is quite literally a flat disk. The sun in this movie is Ra the Sun God and other Gods, mythical creatures and the after-life are all very real.

If this were even slightly a historical movie then I’d agree that the race of actors would be worthy of criticism but much in the same way that Heimdall, the “whitest skinned God” is played by Idris Elba, once you merge a mythology with a new story, I think anything can go and certain liberties can be taken.  I mean an Australian plays the Scottish hero William Wallace in Braveheart…Not to mention the fact that Osiris is depicted as green in many hieroglyphs.

Overall Opinion

gods of egypt

image via The Hollywood Reporter

Do I think that Gods of Egypt is a masterpiece? No. I certainly think it could have been, with a bit more time and a more compelling story. Overall, I think it’s a highly entertaining film that doesn’t deserve the horrifically negative reviews that it appears to have gathered. I won’t be rushing back to watch it again in the near future but I’m thoroughly glad I did watch it in the first place.

Put it this way, if someone wanted to watch it with me, I wouldn’t object to a second viewing. It’s fairly funny, has some absolutely scenic shots (through special effects) and many smaller aspects of the story are incredibly unique. I’ve always wanted to see Anubis depicted on the big screen. Guess I can tick thais one off the wish list.


Thank you for reading! What are your thoughts of Gods of Egypt? Comment down below!

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Cammy Madden

Cammy Madden is a psychology graduate from Scotland. Currently living in Spain, he is pursuing a career in writing. Working as a freelance writer to pay the bills, he also manages several of his own blogs, contributes to others and works regularly on his own novel. You can find him on Twitter: @BakedHaggis

7 Responses

  1. Lukraakvars says:

    Must say I wasn’t the biggest fan of the movie, BUT I see a movie about mythology and I have to watch it. (And judge it). Your review did make me want to go watch it again tho, so thanks haha.

  2. jimbelton says:

    Good review. I saw the film when it came out on DVD, and found it OK (* *).

  3. GerrysFascinatingWoman says:

    So much is simple timing. And so much is cyber warfare due to jealous and envious critics who have come to own a certain amount of power, can do to a light-hearted fun-filled family film! What a shame. I had high hopes for it as it stared not only the lead actors but Chadwick who has since blown box-office records with Black Panther.

  4. A lot of what you said rings true with why I didn’t originally watch it. When you have only so many films you can go out and see, the ones that are universally panned by all often are not the ones to spend money on. Yet how you described it as just a ridiculous film with some interesting ideas and a great Gerard Butler accent (because when it is bad it is always good) I actually feel more inclined to watch it now on Netflix since it just popped up. I am always up for another type of Clash of the Titans-esque film.

    • Cammy Madden says:

      Honestly, if you ever have some time to kill and aren’t in the mood for a serious film, I’d give it a shot. You may very well have forgotten all about it within a few months but it’s entertaining enough to watch.

  5. Nick Kush says:

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