"Gods of Egypt" is all about nailing the period details. Just as it was in ancient Egypt, everyone is an Aussie with Donald Trumpish orange spray tan and a forced British accent.
Just as it was in ancient Egypt, regal men saunter along in Liberace robes, as seductresses walk around in Lulu Lemon workout tops.
Just as it was in ancient Egypt, PlayStation 2-era CGI scorpions stand as sentinels in treasure tombs.
Those scorpions! There are so many, they even manage to stun the hero, a dashing thief named Bek (Brenton Thwaites), who grins as he narrowly avoids becoming a snack for them and muses "Where do they even get so many scorpions?"
I know, right?
Bek is on a quest to rescue is slain lover from the underworld. To do that, he enlists the help of exiled god-prince Horus, who is played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. The hyphenated actor's IMDB page lacks a profile pic, which gives you an idea of the level of star power the movie wields.
Horus dons an eye patch, not because he's a pirate, but because he has his magical jewel eyes ripped out in an unfortunate fight scene early on. There is a metaphor for there for what the movie's awful visuals does to the audience there.
Whatever sad depths the movie sinks to, it does leap to a semblance of mummy-style reanimated life during the fight scenes. When gods go after one another, they thrown down in elaborate, video game style brawls, complete with transformations into giant beats a la "Final Fantasy" and "Mortal Kombat" finishing movies.
At the end of the first battle, Osiris mutters -- ostensibly to Horus, but he's looking right at you, the sorry viewer -- "Your journey has just begun."
Both a threat and a promise.
As strangely wondrous as those fight scenes are, there are too few of them to break up what becomes a Hope-Crosby road pictcha, lacking any musical interludes to jazz things up. But since the movie is so cartoony, maybe an animation comparison is more appropriate. Horus is the cranky Shrek to Bek's eager-to-please Donkey.
He may play it off by backhanding and talking smack to Bek, but it's obvious that deep down, Horus really loves Bek. Mainly because it's hard not to care for someone who re-steals one of your stolen eyes so you can transform into a giant metal bird and ask your sun god grandpa (pause for breath) to take a break from fighting a giant space worm so he can intercede in the goings-on and help you depose your despotic uncle so you can regain your rightful crown.
"Gods of Egypt" may be a convoluted mess, but it's a lovable convoluted mess. Well, lovable to one group of people at least -- musician B.O.B. and his fellow conspiracy theorists, who believe (some of them jokingly, but not B.O.B., who is a true believer) that the earth is flat. When "Gods of Egypt" pans away from the planet, it shows that the earth is really the shape of a pancake. Finally, some solid evidence to back up B.O.B.'s theory.
Everyone else can just cringe, shake their heads and think about how delicious pancakes are, and how nice it will be to leave the theater and go get some after the horrible movie ends. Or just about how nice it will be to leave the theater.
RATING: 1 star out of 4.
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