Gods of Egypt is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Make no mistake, this is not at all a surprise; I went in to this film fully expecting to laugh at it, but I was really not prepared for how bad it actually is. Starring Gerard Butler and a bunch of people the director found in the parking lot, Gods of Egypt is an extremely inaccurate recount of Egyptian mythology that features an unapologetic white cast, an incomprehensibly stupid plot, and CGI fight scenes that look so atrocious they elicit post traumatic flashbacks of the film Bionicle: Mask of Light. It’s hard to point out exactly which aspects of this film fail, because really I can’t think of a single thing it does right.
We follow the story of the personality-less Bek, who seems to have been drawn from the same Dungeons and Dragons character template pool that gave us the likes of Owen Grady in Jurassic World, or what’s his name from Pirates of the Caribbean. Bek’s girlfriend is killed as a result of the fallout of a power struggle between the new king of the land Horus (played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his evil uncle Set (played by Gerard Butler, who couldn’t even be bothered to do any accent other than his native Scottish). As a result, Bek unenthusiastically tracks down Horus and makes a bargain with him: in exchange for bringing his girlfriend back from the dead, Bek must help Horus recover his lost power so that he can defeat Set and restore peace to the land. The plot is developed through brief scenes of pure exposition in which characters nearly face the camera and explain to the audience what is happening, and lengthy scenes of mindless action made up entirely of CGI that I think the animators stole from B-roll footage of The Phantom Menace.
If the terrible effects and incredibly un-inventive plot weren’t enough, the film absolutely insists upon the audience that it’s funny, sadistically forcing joke after joke that not only fail to land, but absolutely face-plant with such force that you can audibly hear the cringe in the otherwise silent auditorium. Moreover, every single performance is delivered with the bare minimum effort – the only actor who even gives the vague indication that they are trying is Brenton Thwaites, who plays Bek, but that ultimately doesn’t matter because he can’t act. All of this would be forgivable of course if the film had even the slightest tinge of self-awareness, but the entire thing is played so straight. I mean for God’s sake, at one point Ra the God of the Sun shoots fireballs at a giant CGI space whale, and the film still seemed to insist that what we were seeing is really cool.
To top everything off, there is the ridiculous run time of two hours and seven minutes, and the abhorrent budget of around 140 million dollars. Firstly, this film has no business being any longer than an hour and a half, tops. The razor-thin plot buckles under the stress of even being a feature film, let alone a two hour epic. It’s as if the filmmakers thought they were making a fantasy great like Lord of the Rings, when really they were making an even worse Clash of the Titans. Second, after five minutes of being subjected to the ‘special effects’ present in this mess, if you had told me the budget was 15 dollars and a copy of Adobe After Effects I would have believed you. There are stronger examples of CGI in short films on YouTube, and honestly most of those have better writing, too.
I feel like I’m almost trashing this movie too much however, you shouldn’t get the impression that it’s not enjoyable. Gods of Egypt is absolutely hilarious, it just happens to be funny in all the ways the creators were not intending. This film belongs on the same sacred shelves that house such classics as The Room, Birdemic: Shock and Terror, and maybe even last year’s Jupiter Ascending – movies so unimaginably bad that they are amazing. I feel hesitant to tell anyone to give this film their money, because Gods of Egypt doesn’t deserve to make a cent, but if you happen upon a chance to watch it for free, preferably accompanied by a few drinks, well you really shouldn’t pass it up.