As Gods of Egypt gets torn by critics of all kinds, I hope you’re sitting in a room, preferably a dark room with a glass of scotch and lit cigarette resting next to you. And in this room, I hope you’re contemplating the events in your life that brought you to pitch, fund, cast, and direct what I can only describe as the worst movie of 2016. The fact it’s only February, be damned.
Where shall I begin?
How about the obvious? 95% of your cast is Caucasian in a film based off Egyptian mythology. I know you’re fed up of hearing this and you’ve already apologized for the oblivious casting decisions, but you need to hear it again. Your movie starts off with Bek, played by Brenton Thwaites, who has the acting ability of a stale piece of cheese. The moment he opens his mouth; you can’t help but notice a distinct British (even though he’s Australian) accent. This is followed by Dutch actor, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau having disagreements with Scottish actor, Gerard Butler. You went around the world to cast these men except the only place that actually mattered: Africa. The casting is not just misguided, it’s part of a proven recipe of failure.
Exodus: Gods and Kings, another Egyptian epic plagued by white actors was a box-office bomb. No one for one second believed that Christian Bale was Moses, the Hebrew prophet. Just like they didn’t believe Emma Stone was Asian-American in Aloha and Rooney Mara was Native-American in Pan. Racial miscasts aren’t just insulting to deserving actors who are right for the role, they’re prime examples of why many high budget and high profile movies flat-out fail at the box office.
Racial blunders aside, Gods of Egypt is a plot-hole ridden nightmare. I couldn’t count how many times I leaned over to my girlfriend with a confused look on my face. There are so many egregious attempts at mysticism, I couldn’t tell up from down. The only way I could make sense of anything featured in Gods of Egypt was to start laughing and convince myself that I’m watching a comedy. I was very tempted to walk out but my occupation as a critic sometimes means I have to witness shit. So I stuck through it.
I witnessed you turn a mythical adventure about gods into a space odyssey, complete with flying robots, space vessels and strange, extra-terrestrial beasts—at which point I threw up my hands and said ‘fuck it’.
How could you let this happen? What compelled you to believe this was a good idea? Were you driven by creativity? Did you want to create something that turned the ‘sword and sandal’ saga on its head? Well, if that was your attempt, you failed. You ended up creating a film infested with banality. I sound surprised, but I shouldn’t be. You only hired Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, two of the three writers behind The Last Witch Hunter—a gothic cliché of epic proportions.
At least I feel like I’m a part of cinematic history. I got to see a movie that is the embodiment of everything that is wrong in Hollywood today: greed, intense CGI, nonsensical plot lines, cringe-worthy dialogue, and whitewashing. It’s a testament to how studio execs will turn a blind-eye to almost anything just so they can rake in money – which, by the way, won’t be much based on its opening weekend.
It’s safe to say I didn’t enjoy Gods of Egypt. I think it’s also safe to say you didn’t enjoy it. How could you? Any straight-minded director knows that Gods of Egypt is destined to fail. The script itself should have screamed failure. Gods of Egypt is a cash grab and nothing else; there is no substance, no enjoyment, and no excuses. You have created a failure of biblical proportions.
2016 has been a year of firsts for me. I gave out my first 5-star review, and today, I give my first zero stars.