Gods of Egypt

 

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A blond mortal teams up with the god Horus to do battle with the bad-ass Set, who’s 

introduced a necro-visa to enter the afterlife.

 

Gods of Egypt

Oh bother: The Sphinx 

  

Clash of the Titans, more like. First we had Batman v Superman, then Captain America v Iron Man and now we have Horus v Set. All are superheroes battling each other while the fate of the earth rests in the balance. This new sword-and-sandal epic should not be confused for a sequel to Exodus: Gods and Kings – Ridley Scott’s arresting and frequently stunning evocation of the life of Moses – as it’s more in keeping with the stop-motion fare of the 1960s (which Ray Harryhausen may have had a hand in). Of course, the CGI effects are considerably more imposing, although not quite in the same league of what we have come to expect for a film costing north of $140 million.

 

At times, Gods of Egypt feels less like a contest between Horus and Set as a battle of wills between production designer Owen Paterson and the composer Marco Beltrami, the latter borrowing liberally from Maurice Jarre’s score sheet for Lawrence of Arabia. Paterson’s sets are the most impressive aspect of the film, but Beltrami’s music just won’t leave alone. Every unsheathing of a dagger is accompanied by an orchestral riff, while the instruments plod on during the awful dialogue (“There’s still time…” is the film’s catchphrase).

 

In fact, the clichés fly like locusts, although they’re not the least of the film’s problems. The tone is decidedly odd, this being an Australian production with the blond Aussie Brenton Thwaites affecting an Etonian accent as Egypt’s peskiest mortal. He teams up with the Danish Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – obviously a classmate – as the grumpy, one-eyed Horus, creating the overall effect of a film dubbed in a hurry. The only character in the entire thing who doesn’t sound like he’s graduated from Oxford is Gerard Butler as Set, who sounds like Sean Connery (and Sean Connery would, if he were playing an Egyptian). If only the ‘one-liners’ were as carefully modulated as the vowels. Still, fans of the cheesy will be relishing the Sphinx’s exclamation of “oh bother” for years to come.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites, Chadwick Boseman, Élodie Yung, Courtney Eaton, Gerard Butler, Geoffrey Rush, Bryan Brown, Rufus Sewell, Rachael Blake, Emma Booth, Abbey Lee, Robyn Nevin, Bruce Spence.

 

Dir Alex Proyas, Pro Basil Iwanyk and Alex Proyas, Screenplay Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, Ph Peter Menzies Jr, Pro Des Owen Paterson, Ed Richard Learoyd, Music Marco Beltrami, Costumes Liz Keogh.

 

Thunder Road Pictures/Mystery Clock Cinema-Entertainment One.

126 mins. USA/Australia. 2016. Rel: 17 June 2016. Cert. 12A.