Written by: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
Directed by: Alex Proyas
Starring: Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites, Elodie Yung
Running time: 127 minutes
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In ancient Egypt, a mortal named Bek forms an uncanny alliance with the rightful king of the lands Horus, to get back the throne from evil god of darkness – Set.
Hollywood teams up with their Aussie counterparts once again this year to bring us a tale from primeval Egypt filled with gods, gold and politics. The film opens with the big day when Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is to receive the throne to Egypt from his father Osiris (Bryan Brown). Egypt is ruled by Gods who are mightier than the humans – both physically (they bleed gold!) and mentally.
After a rather hasty introduction to all the important characters, which includes the brash brat in Horus, we find the auspicious day being ruined by none other than Set (Gerard Butler) – the evil brother of Osiris. Inevitably, a fight ensues in which Horus and Set transform into their respective beast modes.
Horus exiles himself after being defeated by Set. His life is spared on the request of his love interest Hathor (Elodie Yung) who Set secretly fancies. But his eyes are taken away from him. Meanwhile, a mortal thief named Bek (Brenton Thwaites) is separated from his beloved Zaya (Courtney Eaton) as part of Set’s tyranny. After a failed attempt at escape, she is killed by Set’s faithful men. Bek promises her he’ll bring her back from the afterlife. As she travels through the nine gates of hell to reach the afterlife, Bek steals Horus’s eye in an attempt to strike a partnership.
Horus and Bek then set out on a mission – the former to take his rightful place as king, and the latter to get his love back from the arms of death. Horus seeks guidance from Ra (Geoffrey Rush) – the king of all creations who also happens to be his grandfather. Bek and Horus together travel through many a green screen a.k.a deserts and lethal predators to restore peace in the kingdom.
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Alexander the Great…?
Director Alex Proyas (Dark City, The Crow) attempts to energize a yearning plot. The said plot is set in medieval times and mostly caters to people of that timeline. His imagery screams superficial. The CGI isn’t the most welcoming of sights and doesn’t quite live up to the buzz he created after his best CGI work – I,Robot. Rising above the dramatic aesthetics is a scene with giant dragon-snake beings, which deserves credit for the marvel it brings on screen.
Proyas was supported by a stellar set of names in production and everything prior. Writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless have come together previously to give us interesting fantasy tales in Dracula Untold and The Last Witch Hunter only to be failed by the respective directors. The narrative this time around takes quite the opposite turn. It is stale for the most part, and lacks glamour despite all the glitz that would even make Swarovski question their marketing methods.
The editing and VFX will get mixed responses from most audiences. Again, mainly due to the direction, all of it looked like a college teen trying to make a collage. But the stand-out point is the music. Marco Beltrami provides beautiful background scores.
Gods of the Screen
The casting department faced a lot of heat with controversies during the initial stages of the movie. They were blamed for ‘white-washing’ the cast but after release, that would appear to be least of their problematic decisions. The chief among them being Gerard Butler (300, Olympus Has Fallen) as Set. He overplayed his role, although he does show promise as a baddie.
A lot was expected of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game Of Thrones, Oblivion) despite the clichéd casting. His performance kept alternating between highs and lows, but the latter was too obvious to ignore. The surprise element was in Brenton Thwaites (Maleficient, The Giver) who served as action hero cum comic relief cum strongest performer cum…..ah the list goes on. Some excellent parkour-filled scenes do quite a bit to boost an ever-growing resume.
The leading ladies Elodie Yung (G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) and Courtney Eaton (Mad Max: Fury Road) both performed at par barring few glitches. The former who played the goddess of love was smooth for the most part, whereas the latter had her body do most of the work. Other performances included Geoffrey Rush (Pirates Of The Caribbean, Shakespeare In Love) as Ra, who was for the most part, pointlessly burning with CGI worse than 90’s graphics.
All in All
Kings Of Egypt, also known as Gods Of Egypt faced a lot of controversies during pre-production due to casting issues. But over time, it seems to be the least of its worries. The film contains enough twists and turns coupled with scintillating escapade scenes to keep you awake. Barring that, it is a tale of epic proportions which will undoubtedly fail to meet their financial expectations.
It promises a barbaric adventure, and delivers just that. But the manner of delivery will leave the audience with the same fate as the bad guy in the movie.
Watch it if you’re:
In the mood for a medieval tale OR a fan of video game-like CGI.
B-Change Rating: 5/10
What did you think of the film? Tell us in the comments below.