Thursday 25 February 2016

Gods of Egypt ... The gods must be crazy

GODS of Egypt is a big and bombastic film that depends on its special effects to lift it above the
humdrum. I will shamelessly admit that I enjoyed the spectacular sceneries and battle scenes. I was also enchanted by the Wonderbra blouses worn by the actresses. Heck, those pieces of clothing should have kept ancient Egypt in order.
    However, the extravagance overflowing in director Alex Proyas's film can't cover up its lack of impressionable characters. It's so focused on overwhelming viewers with CGI  -- for example, the opening scene, with the camera gliding from up above and along a winding river and down into a crowded alleyway teeming with shops -- that the plot takes a backseat.

   Do viewers care if the film is about an arrogant and impetuous prince's journey to redemption, a journey that will allow him to maintain his father's legacy? Will viewers care that the exotic-looking Goddess of Love pines for the muscular prince's heart? Will viewers feel the love between a nimble pickpocket thief and his sweet-looking lover?
   Proyas's heart is in the right place, but his reliance on SFX is his downfall.
   The Gods in the title refers to gargantuan gods who can transform into whatever shape and size they want. On the day of the coronation for Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau of Game of Thrones),
He ain't heavy, he's my sidekick.
 Nikolaj Coster-Waldau shows off his treasured chest.
Bek (Brenton Thwaites) steals a dress for girlfriend Zaya (Courtney Eaton) so they can attend the ceremony looking resplendent. This is troubling as Zaya knows that he's a thief, but gladly accepts the present.
     Bek is sceptical of gods whereas Zaya is a fan.
     What was supposed to have been a lovely coronation is disrupted when Set (Gerard Butler) removes his nephew Horus's crystal-blue eyes and kills Horus's father.
   The eyes give the wearer superhuman powers, but in the context of this film, they help Horus see his reason in life, own up to his mistakes and set him on the path to redemption.
    Butler is well ... Butler. His megalomaniacal Set reminds me of his angry incarcerated character in Law Abiding Citizen (2009). He barks out orders all the time and, like all baddies, is focused on controlling the world and subjugating his subjects. His choleric behaviour sees him disposing of his wives without blinking. He's on the brink of controlling the world but he still can't have children.
    Horus is initially blind and can't see any journey, but with his sidekick Bek, whom he ridicules mercilessly but whom he eventually comes to respect, he sets out on his adventure that will let him impose his own legacy.
   Bek helps Horus to achieve both his eyes so that the latter can help him do the impossible, but the latter is like a salesman, promising everything but not sure whether he can fulfil them.
Elodie Yung is a sight to behold. 
  Horus's discussion with his grandfather Ra (Geoffrey Rush) reveals a sub-theme of the film.
    Ra says that Egypt must not fall into chaos, which could refer to the situation in modern-day Egypt, which is the pits due to the rein of President General Abel Fattah el-Sissi. Sissi ousted his predecessor Mohammed Morsi, the first "pharaoh" the nation has ever voted for.
   Ra says: "The uncertainty of the destiny is not my will." He's a proponent of stability and certainty, but motivational author Anthony Robbins would say: "It is in the realm of uncertainty that your passion is found."
   Horus's lover is Hathor, the Goddess of Love (Cambodian-French actress Elodie Young), who can enter the Afterlife untouched by demons. She's hoping for something more concrete from the future king.
  The Afterlife is such a big thing for these Egyptians. Horus's father (Bryan Brown) says that his legacy to his people is that a poor man and a rich man will be judged equally at the gates leading into the Afterlife. He's a guy who appreciates what the rich and poor present to the gods.
He's got her covered.
  The film presents a near whitewashed view of ancient Egypt. Just like Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), Gods of Egypt shows a civilisation that has removed brown-skinned people and replaced them with whites. With the white Oscars coming up on Sunday (Feb 28), white is all the rage now.

2½ out of 5 stars

La belle Elodie Yung.


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