Saturday, June 4, 2016

Gods of Egypt (2016)

         A pantheon is the particular set of all gods in mythology and traditions. Usually this term is intertwined with polytheistic religions such as ancient Greek, Mayan, Chinese, or Egyptian. In Egyptian mythology, like many other supreme beings; each entity is associated with a certain lifestyle, natural occurrence, or concept. For example, Anubis is the god of the afterlife while Ra is the sun god according to ancient Egyptians. I first saw Gods of Egypt on opening night in February (alongside paying forty-four dollars for a set of four tickets); and I even preordered a copy online. Unlike the heavily overused Greek pantheon (i.e. Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans, The Odyssey, Jason and the Argonauts, and even Disney's HerculesGods of Egypt brought forth the first true Egyptian pantheon film alongside how the Egyptians believed how the world was created. This film is indeed a mythological creation film such as how The Ten Commandments, or Risen are "creationist" Christianity films. Gods of Egypt is about how an impossible thief (Brenton Thwaites) teams up with the exiled god of the air (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to defeat the god of the desert (Gerald Butler) known as Set.

       The casting for this film was alright for the main characters. The mortal Bek (Brenton Thwaites, Maleficent) and his girlfriend Zaya (Courtney Eaton, Mad Max: Fury Road) were truly the stars of the entire film. Even though this film is based off of the Egyptian pantheon; these two were indeed the primary focus. I actually enjoyed them on screen: Bek the 'Average Joe' of ancient Egypt, and the very beautiful Zaya. Horus, the god of the air, was portrayed by actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) as an egotistical heir to the supreme god Osiris' (Bryan Brown) kingdom. The goddess of love (and Horus' lover) Hathor (Elodie Yung, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) was truly irresistable while at the same time 'untouchable'. Actor Gerald Butler (300) played the evil Set, a god hellbent on ruling the entire world (of only Egypt). All three of the main gods and goddess were truly unbelievably well done in their performances; and the character development between the three were pretty entertaining. Aside from these three gods, the others included Brown's Osiris, Rachel Blake's Isis, Emma Booth's Nephthys, Chadwick Boseman's Thoth, Goran D. Kleut's Anubis; and Pirates of the Caribbean star Geoffrey Rush as Ra. The only downfall between these seven beings, I felt that Boseman's Thoth was remotely annoying. Thoth, the god of knowledge, was a true letdown to me in the film (no hard feelings though). Aside from the gods, mortal architect Urshu (Rufus Sewell, The Illusionist) was the main mortal villain for the mortal thief-turned-hero Bek to conquer. Out of all of these amazing actors and actresses; my two favorites have to be the Snake Riders: Astarte (Yaya Deng; the melanistic cobra's rider) and Anat (Abbey Lee; the leucistic cobra's rider). Both truly sexy while being deadly at the same time.

        As you could already guessed it from either reading earlier posts or from the introduction, I like mythology. Since Gods of Egypt is a mythological film, you could imagine that I've already done my research to see if the film followed its story correctly. Even though a few of the things that occurred in the film is either inaccurate (i.e. the taking of both of Horus' eyes), or prolonged to introduce more action; Gods of Egypt follows the Egyptian myth on how Horus regain Egypt from the jealous Set whom murdered his father. I for one was surprised that this film almost exactly followed Horus' story. Aside from that, this film was a very good adventure film even though it seemed to have taken longer than it should. Halfway through the movie, it gets a little boring and seems to be dragging on but, at least the epic showdown is worth the wait. The storyline and character developments were perfect while the CGI seemed pretty buggy at times (examples could include some fight sequences, and ancient Egypt overall). The suits of armor the gods could transform into were extremely admiring but, I was disappointed that they weren't in the entire film itself. The two cobras, the sphinx (voiced by Kenneth Ransom), and the chaos beast Apophis were extremely well done for creature animation in my opinion.

         Before I go into my favorite scenes, I have to point out to the people that were not really giving this film a chance. First off, after reading up in social media; Egypt isn't composed of neither Arabs or Africans. Egyptians may live on the continent of Africa but, they themselves are a totally different group of people. You couldn't imagine how many people were complaining about this. All these complaints were due to the actors' nationalities from people whom weren't even Egyptian. Its not by the actor's skin but, on how well they play the part. Second, this film is about Egyptian mythology not Egypt as we all know it through history. Like I said earlier, this film is a creation myth composed into a cinematic feature. Literally the entire world was ancient Egypt while at the same time mythical creatures such as the sphinx and gigantic scarabs were living there. Not to mention that, since only Egypt was created; I didn't mind that most of the mortals (or gods) were a mix of races. When you think about, it makes perfect sense that maybe there were differences in skin to aid the expansion of the world if only Ra chooses to expand it outside of Egypt. I do apologize if I offend anyone, or I seem passionate but, some people don't have the brain power to analyze a film aside from 'whitewashing' or 'inaccuracy'. Aside from that little rant, my favorite scenes composed of the first fight between Horus and Set; when the cobra riders attack our wandering heroes; when Set merged all the gods' abilities into himself (i.e. Thoth's brain, Horus' eye, etc.), and of course the final showdown. Literally whenever the gods morphed into their armored forms made it on my favorites list.

        My rating for Gods of Egypt is a 4.5 out of 5. The film itself was quite entertaining and had something I enjoyed but, its length of over two hours seemed too long for this type of film. Yes its an adventure film like that of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, or George Lucas' Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope but, personally; it seemed to drag on with some slow parts in-between action sequences. Also lets be thankful that they ended this film without any hopes of a sequel, or a film series. Gods of Egypt did an excellent job with the story of Horus but, honestly we don't need a story for Thoth, or even Ra. Aside from that, the movie was really good for the price I paid for on opening night. I enjoyed the armored suits they transformed into (main reason why I wanted to watch it); the storyline was well played out yet longish; the characters and creature effects were amazing, and the entire concept of the film was pure genius if you're a mythology lover. If you haven't already seen it, please do so because you're missing out. I would advise watching it either out of boredom, or for a family/or friends movie night. You won't be disappointed.                           

"From this moment on, the Afterlife must be earned, not with gold, but by good deeds, compassion, and generosity. What we do, how we act in this life matters."

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