Gods of Egypt

gods-of-egyptGods of Egypt is a train wreck of a movie. It’s one of those movies which is so bad it’s fun to watch, viewed in the right frame of mind.

Things are prosperous in ancient Egypt. When the god Osiris (played by Bryan Brown) abdicates his throne to give to his son Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) the evil god Set (Gerard Butler) kills Osiris and takes the throne for himself. Set blinds Horus by stealing his eyes which subsequently deprives him of his powers. Set casts him out to wallow in self-pity. Set begins his reign of terror by conquering all the areas surrounding Egypt.

In a parallel story line, a lowly mortal thief, Bek (Brenton Thwaites) loses his true love, Zaya (Courtney Eaton) after Set’s temple builder, Urshu (Rufus Sewell) kills her. The two story lines converge when Bek seeks out Horus with the hope that the god can bring Zaya back from the dead. In turn, Bek promises to help Horus by getting his eyes back so that he can regain his powers and ultimately defeat Set before the world is plunged into chaos.

One big problem with the movie is that most of the major roles are played by white actors of Northern European descent. Brenton Thwaites and Bryan Brown are Australian; Rufus Sewell is English; Gerard Butler is Scottish; and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is Danish. So right off the bat, there are lots of white guys playing characters from Northern Africa. Gerard Butler’s heavy Scottish accent is troublesome as well. It seems as though he’s from the Scottish section of Egypt.

The CGI is mostly good, but does look unfinished and hurried in some scenes. But to be fair, the backdrop of ancient Egypt is stunningly rendered in CGI; it’s apparent that a lot of the CGI budget was spent on this.

Despite its flaws, God’s of Egypt is an entertaining movie. The action sequences are well done and the CGI makes the Egyptian gods look larger than the mortals. The storyline is a creative re-imagining of the ancient Egyptian myths.

Gods of Egypt is best viewed for what it is: disposable entertainment in which you don’t have to think to hard. If you can just let the movie wash over you, it can be highly entertaining.

Worth a look if you can overlook some of the more glaring flaws and/or you like ancient Egyptian mythology.

Skip it if the at-times-cheesy CGI or white guys playing Northern Africans would annoy you.

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Gods of Egypt

-Steve

 

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Breaker Morant

81RW8yyHS5L._SY606_Breaker Morant is the story of three Australian soldiers serving in the British army during the Boer War in South Africa at the turn of the 20th Century.

Acting under orders from British army command, Lieutenant Harry “Breaker” Morant (played by British actor Edward Woodward), Lieutenant Peter Handcock (played by veteran Aussie actor Bryan Brown) and Lieutenant George Ramsdale Witton (played by Lewis Fitz-Gerald) track down and execute  Boer guerrillas. The Boer War was one of the he first wars where uniformed soldiers (British) fought against civilian-clad guerrillas;  the rules of warfare were changing rapidly.

As the war wound down and the British command was looking for scapegoats to appease the opposition.  Morant, Handcock and Witton were court-martialed for war crimes by the very same British army command, who were responsible for issuing the orders in the first place. In order to obtain a quick and easy conviction, the British command stacked the deck against Morant and his comrades: the court appointed a lawyer for the three only a day before the trial who specialized in “land conveyancing and wills” not criminal defense. The court dismissed much of the testimony given for the defense as irrelevant and therefore inadmissible.

The defense hinged on that they were “only following orders.” Four and a half decades later, many of the defeated Nazis would use the same defense.

Breaker Morant is an compelling look into the changing nature of warfare in the 20th Century. The guerrilla conflict of the Boer War was a harbinger of what warfare was to become.

As a bonus, MDE’s copy is a new release from the Criterion Collection

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Breaker Morant

Worth a look if you like legal thrillers or movies about the military.

Skip it if courtroom dramas leave you cold.

  • Steve