“Gods of Egypt’: heretical cinema

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I didn’t think it possible, but the people behind “Gods of Egypt” managed to take something as interesting as Egyptian mythology and reduce it to a bloated, half-cocked failure.

Flicks like “Gods of Egypt” are the reason I have a hard time not being cynical about movies before they’ve even been released.

Yes, the movie’s cast of Egyptian gods are about as racially diverse as the cast of “The Big Bang Theory,” sporting at most two non-white actors with speaking roles.

Yes, the movie plays fast and loose with one’s interpretation of “Egyptian mythology” by including ideas like the Greek version of a Sphinx.

Yes, Set’s (God of the desert) naturally white Scottish actor (Gerard Butler) has a spray-tan so dark it approaches the brownface makeup Alec Guinness wore when cast as Arabian prince Feisal in Lawrence of Arabia (1962).

Despite all of these massive red flags waving in my face during the trailers, I wanted to retain some excitement. The trailers gave an impression this was some sort of high-budget affair with a star-studded cast.

In actuality, the trailer features the best special effects work of the entire film, possibly to cover up the fact that the majority of the money went into the star’s salaries.

Someone, somewhere in the writing process, decided a rule of this Super Egypt is the idea that gods are half-again taller than mortals. While this sounds cool on paper, it translates to the majority of the film consisting of conversations between actors who aren’t on the same set as each other.

Like a poorly-made Tolkien adaptation, the cavalcade of Egyptian gods spend their time talking to the space slightly above the heads of shorter characters.

I couldn’t find a single scene in this movie that didn’t obviously include the use of a green screen. If only the film had been shot in a country with a lot of sand.

Too bad the film was shot in Australia, a country known for its complete lack of desert landscape.

The actors are lucky if there is more than one person on the set with them. The majority of the action scenes are between computer-generated characters and maybe one human swinging a goofy weapon around, and a lot of the acting sounds phoned in.

“Gods of Egypt” isn’t the worst thing to happen to cinema, but as an amalgam of lazy and objectively poorly constructed moviemaking, it comes dangerously close.