Sunday, May 29, 2016

Video review: "Gods of Egypt"

“Gods of Egypt” is kind of a junky movie, but not an unenjoyable one. It’s a sword-and-sandals fantasy epic that tries to follow on the financial success of the “Clash of the Titans” and “Thor” movies, but without the A-list stars or first-rate CGI. Despite its schlocky aspects, I couldn’t bring myself to hate the film and even enjoyed it on some puckish level.

Frankly, this is the sort of flick that would’ve made a prime pick for “Mystery Science Theater 3000” ridicule back in the day.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (“Game of Thrones”) plays Horus, the god of air, who’s about to be crowned king of all Egypt after his father Ra decides to step down. In this postulation, the gods are 8-foot-tall super-powered beings who dwell among the humans and rule them, but are still flawed and mortal.

Then his uncle, the power-mad Set (Gerard Butler), usurps the throne and kills Ra and a bunch of others. Horus has his eyes plucked out, robbing him of his unerring aim, and is banished. Then a young human thief named Bek (Brenton Thwaites) steals an eye from Set, kicking off a series of events that includes full-scale war between the gods.

This is essentially another superhero movie, with many of the same dynamics at play. Horus is a good but vain god, and must learn to lead humans instead of lording it over them.

Director Alex Proyas (“Dark City”) and screenwriters liberally borrow elements from other movies and insert them here, including sand snakes straight from “Dune” and gods who transform into metallic form for battle a la Iron Man. If you’re looking for originality, look elsewhere.

But if you’re willing to watch something ironically, I think you’ll find “Gods of Egypt” has a bounty of riches waiting to be tapped.

Bonus features are decent, though you’ll have to get the Blu-ray edition to possess most of them. The DVD comes with only two making-of featurettes, “The Battle for Eternity: Stunts” and “A Window into Another World: Visual Effects.”

With the Blu-ray you add four more featurettes on costumes and makeup, shooting on location in Australia, the cast and the overall vision, plus storyboards.



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