Last week, I went out for dinner in The Hague with 3 friends. We’re all mothers of young children and left them at home with their papas to enjoy yum cha in the Chinatown area. Afterwards, about to head home, one friend had a crazy idea for busy working mothers on a Thursday night. “Why don’t we go see a movie?” I can’t remember the last time I spontaneously walked into a cinema, with no idea what was playing. We ended up choosing “Gods of Egypt” mostly because the time slot suited the best. It was the 3D IMAX and we spend the next two hours immersed in a fantastical world. It wasn’t until later when reading up on the Wikipedia entry for Gods of Egypt I learned that it was filmed in Australia!
Directed by Australian Alex Proyas, I recognised Australian Geoffrey Rush as the Sun God Ra but didn’t realise that the beautiful young “mortal” couple at the centre of the action – Brenton Thwaites and Courtney Eaton are also Aussies. Other recognisable (non Aussie) cast members include Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (that every Game of Thrones fan will know in a second), Rufus Sewell and Gerard Butler. Bryan Brown is also in there – you may spot him as Osiris but chances are you won’t recognise him as Anubis:
Wikipedia reports that the filming began in March 2014 at Fox Studios in Sydney, with one of the main temples being set at Centennial Park. Tax credits offered in Australia was one of the attractions to film there, with Melbourne being first choice initially but Dockland Studios were full.
The official trailer #1 pretty much covers the plot:
One of my favourite things was that the Gods bleed gold. When there is so much gore in action films like this, it was a pretty alternative to the usual red!
Another image I loved but can’t (yet) seem to find an image of online was the multi-coloured wings of the first wife of Set (Nephthys I think).
Critics seem to vary in their reviews, I like this one by Matt Zoller Seitz, he made me laugh with this spot-on summary: “Gods of Egypt” is an adventure in what used to be called the “swords and sandals” genre. Every brawny chest is waxed, every bosom heaving. Many reviews I’ve read refer to Indiana Jones in some way, as did my friend “It’s pretty much a high-tech modern Indiana Jones”. The “bad” reviews complain about awkward acting and “trying too hard” humour, but even still admit that if you go into it with the right mindset it’s still very entertaining.
Personally, I simply enjoyed it for what it was – an opulent visual feast, essentially retelling the oldest basic story of all time – good verses evil. I’ll let you guess who wins. It’s definitely set up for a sequel.
As a marketing lecturer, one thing that struck me was that this was a classic case of differentiation. I rarely go to the movies any more, with two young children, and a busy life, I don’t often take time out and pay 15 euros or so to watch something when I have Netflix. However a movie like this, shown in 3D IMAX, with beautiful effects of an amazing world we will never see, is pure escapism at its best. You just can’t get that immersed in a movie at home. My dreams that night were filled with the vivid colours from the film, and the mood of epic battles has lingered with me
If you’re going for plot or to gain an understanding of Ancient Egypt folklore, don’t bother. However if you have a couple of hours to indulge in a kaleidoscope of colour and fantasy – go for it!
Here’s trailer #2:
The official website (just as flashy as the movie) is here: http://www.godsofegypt.movie
You can find the full list of cast on IMDb