Commentary on Gods Of Egypt

Cassiel C. MacAvity

    Some weekday after the general theatrical opening, I wandered off to a local theatre, where I and a packed house of apparently three others saw how the movie actually was.

    I thought I'd go have a look, given the number of people I've known over time with a rather extensive practice of assorted theologies, including that of the classical Egyptians. When watching I did have a number of reactions, such as rather quickly noting that in GOE, Oh, My, is the grasp of classical Egyptian theology---and architecture---about the level of, oh, Marvel Comics.

    ---When I look at the Norse sagas, I see Loki as the enforcer of the laws, the legal expert to whom the other lot keep having to go so that Loki can weasel through and get past this contract or that . . . but then theology is not the Marvel Comics strong point . . .

    One bit in GOE that I find mildly amusing is that Osiris does have a wife and queen, and she is the mother of Horus, and therefore her name in the movie is apparently "My mother, who killed herself". I didn't sit through the closing credits to see what characters got listed, but outside of the movie, hidden safely away where it has to be specifically looked up, IMDB does formally state a name for the character played by Rachel Blake. As for anything in the movie that I noticed actually being formally named, Oh, Come On guys, if your movie said Daesh out loud three times fast, would the Nile really start flowing uphill???

    On Another Hand, Even Though I have read a number of the absolutely Nile scale torrent of utterly dismal reviews . . . Even Though I did see the box office returns by about a week after the assorted openings---Like being the box office leader in Russia(?!?!?!!!)--- . . . Even Though I will grant that there are some definite issues in the storytelling . . . just the same, I will also state that there is definitely a fully developed story there, a story that even has some nuances and some layering, even if being a story for little more than a Thursday afternoon matinee. Throughout the movie, there is a definite ongoing flow of Bring in a character, Have the character deliver the lines, Let the camera show off shiny things, Move the story along---Ok, definitely, the Sphinx could have been portrayed rather a bit better.

    I've seen a number of complaints of how utterly blatantly obviously badly done the CGI is throughout the move. Um, really?---Aside from the Sphinx.

    Apparently I just haven't watched enough showings of The Transformers Saga, Breaking Wind Parts This And That, To Thus Properly And Reverently Appreciate Proper CGI . . . or whatever. The CGI in GOE was indeed all over the bloody place---with gold colored blood, at that---, but all I saw was that it was all over the place.

    All I noticed when watching GOE was the GOE version of morphing a VW bug into the Colossus of Rhodes, complete with fifty foot wide waiter's tray carrying three teapots, assorted cups, and a selection of scones. In GOE, that sort of thing Just Happens. From the beginning of the movie, it is very much part of the story, and to my eye, everything seemed to work just fine, I think.

    The movie is Gods Of Egypt. The movie is not Hipsters Of Tacky Costuming And Cluelessness. Like it or not, repeatedly, that plot calls for people to glow, and sprout wings, and for Geoffrey Rush to have a full body halo.

    That Plot is hardly Alec Guinness unobtrusively arranging to burgle files to quietly flush out a Soviet mole.

    Also as an alternative to the assorted wailing and gnashing of dentures, what I have noticed of some commentary is that some reviewers are granting that GOE did indeed actually try something different as far as current filmmaking. And they are correct; The one major problem with GOE is that it is Batman vs Dick Tracy all over again. Back in '91 or so, there was "The Memo", which went on for pages, but where the big earthshaking question was basically, How could we of Disney have a flop with our excellently produced and executed Dick Tracy, when Warners' utterly abysmal bilge of a blatantly failing attempt of a Batman movie was a box office success?!?!?!!!

    Weeeel, the answer there is that Warner Bros was working with The Batman, The Ongoing Lead Character of at least three ongoing comic book series since 1939, several early movies, the 1960s TV show, elementary school childrens' doggerel, and masses of other cultural references.

    Quite by contrast, by the late 20th century, Dick Tracy could be found in the Sunday comic strips, if one looked in the correct newspaper.

    And just the same way, along comes GOE.

    Brad Pitt's Troy is excused in movie history solely because it inspired Troy In Fifteen Minutes . . . but then the both of those Troys are based on the rather more familiar Greek myths. Even earlier than Dick Tracy and Warner's fiasco involving The Batman, there was that movie loaded with British screen and stage aristocracy which Newsweek stated should have been named Thud Of The Beefcake. And because Thud had lots of names from the Greek mythos, just a few years ago there was Thud Of The Beefcake Too, followed by Thud Of The Beefcake Three, Release The Kraken!!!

    Again quite by contrast, for typical 20th and 21st century awareness and understanding of the Egyptian myths, the classical Egyptians are remembered about as well as Tracy. Those who are properly culturally educated are at least aware that the statue of the Sphinx lost its nose when Obelix accidentally kicked it off. Oh, and Cleopatra was a character created by Shakespeare to have in one of those Roman plays---And Cleo was Greek anyway, come to think of it, or at least Macedonian.

    Soooo, yes, the issue of a completed movie is marketing, marketing, marketing, and more marketing. And in the early 21st century, a movie about the Egyptian gods is just going to get a vague memory of Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia . . . . for those who remember Lawrence Of Arabia . . .

    Soooo . . . all in all, my reaction to Gods Of Egypt is that it does indeed have definite issues . . . but by no means whatsoever is Gods Of Egypt a cinematic bunker buster that drops some above ground pyramid into the resulting crater underneath.


© Cassiel C. MacAvity