Gods of Egypt online movie review - Underrated Fantasy/epic
The reviews around Gods of Egypt are outstandingly negative, however I myself viewed this movie prior to reading any reviews and actually quite enjoyed it.
As one who knows and has studied Egyptian mythology I could not resist nitpicking some minor issues but these are simple ones at best. Simple issue I took was the use of the swords, as in Egypt the weapons were designed for slicing, not stabbing and thus the khopeshes were used wrongly, however the mere fact that they were featured was appreciated. Another nitpick I had was the failure that the actors had in pronouncing the name of my personal favourite goddess, Nephthys (pronounced Nef-tease), and her being depicted as the Goddess of Protection with wings when that was her sister Isis (the Goddess of kindness and healing). However, the portrayal of Nephthys as the former wife of Set was appreciated. Speaking of Isis, it would have been better if the filmmakers had taken the chance offered to them to reclaim the name of the Goddess of Kindness and Healing and named Isis by name as the wife to the god Osiris and sister to Nephthys. They're hesitation is understandable but still lamentable. Lastly, casting could have been done better with Egyptian actors in the mix. Understandably that is a short list, and so I feel the filmmakers could have mixed races somewhat better. I won't nitpick to extreme amounts and call white actors as bad as technically one could also say there were no blacks in Egypt as those were Nubians, however in this modern world a more mixed race of actors from various ethnicities such as white, black, and Mediterranean would have been appreciated. Yet, Lionsgate did own to this shortcoming and for that I score them points.
I was most impressed with the portrayal of Anubis as a benevolent God of Death, something Hollywood is almost scared of doing. The relationship of the Gods to the mortals was also done accurately to that of the original mythologies, as Gods that walked with humans and ruled over them kindly. However, I digress. This move is not intended to be a history lesson, and it never pretends to be. I wanted to see the mythology I love to much that is so regularly ignored and replaced by watered down Greek mythologies portrayed on the big screen, and that is what I got. The story was well paced and brought some interesting questions on what death is and how it affects one as a transition from one life to the next. The epic elements needed in a fantasy of fast paced action, magic, were all present along with the clear person vs. deity aspect. Egypt, while clearly a CGI creation, was depicted very beautifully with stunning colours at the beginning and end, along with stunning displays of the God brilliance as they would transform to do epic battle with one another.
In terms of story, as a character Bek did not evolve too much beyond "I hate the Gods" to "I tolerate the Gods" to "I trust the Gods". Perhaps this was a subtle spiritual journey for the viewer to attend to a question of what it means to find a personal faith than a grander faith. Bek and Zaya's relationship was standard, but it was not the primary focus of the film and seemed more obligatory. The relationship to focus on was not even that of Hathor (which considering she was actually Horus' adoptive mother this came off as creepy, not cute) and Horus, but actually Horus and Bek. Their journey progresses from that of a disinterested lord and lad to that of a journey of friends. Although the friends are not equal, they each have a piece to contribute to the overall whole, making Bek not the useless tag along for the movie, but an actual part of the plot. Actually, none of the characters appeared to serve no purpose. Even characters who had little screen time, such as Nephthys, advanced the plot in some way, which is something that many modern movies tend to forget. A rule of if a character does not continue story in some way, they are useless.
Some aspects of the movie contradicted itself. Such were Hathor claiming she could control Gods, but not trying to control Set. Or Ra claiming to be unable to control death but resurrecting the mortals at the end without explanation. However, these errors were not worthy of calling the movie a failure. Clearly the writers were building for a sequel. Sadly critics have panned it, and it seems this is a movie to have a critical failure but a love of average audience ignoring internet websites that claim to speak for others. While a profit margin of only $5 million is unlikely to warrant a sequel, if Lionsgate were to create a second movie, and I imagine if they did they would strive to fix any errors from this film, I would be willing to pay the money to view it. I advise not reading mythology before watching this movie, but I would recommend it as a watch to scratch a need for an epic fantasy mired in the great Egyptian mythological story of the battle against Set. The story is a story loosely pulled from Egyptian belief where Set kills Osiris for the crown, and thus I would recommend exploring that story after watching this movie (as a mythological story can't possibly fully cross into a film, changes of course are necessary). Hopefully this movie, in some way starts a want in the world to learn more about this fascinating culture and seek to further explore stories around Egyptian beliefs, if not from the same series maybe another depiction using new viewpoints.