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REVIEW: ‘Gods of Egypt’ a fun, visual feast despite flaws

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Credit: Variety

Gods of Egypt, the new fantasy film directed by Alex Proyas, offers a fun interpretation of ancient myths, where the gods are living on Earth along with the humans. As a whole, the film generally brings back some of the old school story telling. Bryan Brown (Cocktail, FX) is the current King, Osiris, and Game of Thrones’ actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau portrays his son, Horus.

When his roguish uncle, Set (Gerard Butler) shows up, however, all of Egypt is affected by this family conflict. The gods transform into creatures, but these are more elaborate compared to those in the 1963 classic Jason and the Argonauts. While the gods are battling, the humans are simply trying to survive. Bek (Brenton Thwaites) loves Zaya (Courtney Eaton), and they are trying to build their life together. He seems to rely on his skills as a thief, and she in her faith in Horus, praying he’ll help the people.

One of the challenges with Gods of Egypt is that it tries to explain the aforementioned Egyptian characters, which may not be as well known as the Greek and Roman gods. The film introduces some of the gods and goddesses, with each of them given a moment to make an impression on the audience, but it was hard to catch their names at times. Gods of Egypt sprinkles some of the rules that govern the gods throughout the story. Expanding some of their roles would be ideal for a sequel.

Since his breakout in 300, Butler revels in these roles. While Set is a predictable bad guy and his accent isn’t consistent, Butler is back in fighting shape and is a great physical match for his co-star, Coster-Waldau, who is given a bit more to work with. Although a handsome young prince is rather cliché, Coster-Waldau brings more to his performance as a future king (not unlike the way he’s transformed his role as Jaime Lannister in ‘Thrones.’ His TV gig has certainly prepared him, as he’s clearly adept in his fight scenes.

The weak point with the film’s plot is the human story line – While amiable, Thwaites’ Bek doesn’t have a lot of depth. As the goddess of love, Hathor (Elodie Yung) is given a bit more to do than simply look beautiful. Rufus Sewell plays the master planner, Urshu (he also starred in Dark City, one of director Proyas’ earlier films), while Geoffrey Rush rounds out the cast as Ra. The sequences with Rush’s character are some of the most beautiful and inventive of the entire film.

Gods of Egypt is a family friendly movie (hence the PG-13 rating), with the romances are relatively chaste (if you exclude of a brief scene between Set and his mistress). If you’re looking for a fun adventure check it out on a big screen – the film looks beautiful in IMAX 3D.

 

Contact Diane Cooney at dcooney@philly2philly.com

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Photo: Variety.com