Happy Easter in advance people! I’m sooooo happy for all yah 9-5 folks because you get to have four days off Lagos traffic, stress and all. Just make sure you use it wisely and one way to do so is with our Movie Friday. Which is way I decided to move up our review so you can start watching the movie as soon as possible. This Friday I thought we should look at one of the movies making rounds in the cinema, and the movie is…. ‘Gods of Egypt’. Somehow it seems befitting for the season and since it’s also showing in the cinemas, you have the opportunity to take your loved ones to go see it this Easter.
Gods of Egypt is a 2016 fantasy film featuring ancient Egyptian deities. The United States-Australia production is directed by Alex Proyas and stars Brenton Thwaites, Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Chadwick Boseman, Élodie Yung, Courtney Eaton, Rufus Sewell, and Geoffrey Rush. Butler plays the god of darkness Set who takes over the Egyptian empire, and Thwaites plays the mortal hero Bek who partners with the god Horus, (Coster-Waldau), to save the world and rescue his love.
Filming took place in Australia under the American studio Summit Entertainment. The Australian government provided a tax credit for 46% of the film’s budget. Can you beat that! Just imagine our Naija government doing something like that. Sorry I forgot! They’re too busy maiming people for electoral ambitions. Moving on, when Lionsgate, the parent company began promoting the film in November 2015, it received backlash for its predominantly white cast playing Egyptian deities, for what was termed “ethnically inaccurate casting” (wonder what that means). Some critics suggested that the casting of black actor Chadwick Boseman, who plays the god Thoth, played into the Magical Negro stereotype. In response, Lionsgate and director Alex Proyas apologized for the lack of casting diversity, with Lionsgate saying it would strive to do better. While some were skeptical, concluding the apologies were simply meant to shut down any further backlash, Mendelson of Forbes said the apologies were “a somewhat different response” than defenses made by Ridley Scott who received similar backlash last year for having a white cast for the biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings. The Guardian‘s Ben Child said, “The apologies are remarkable, especially given that Gods of Egypt does not debut in cinemas until 26 February and could now suffer at the box office”.
Perhaps the pre-media backlash did have that effect, because since its release in February 25th, 2016 ‘Gods of Egypt’ has only recorded $128.1 million against its budget of $140 million dollars. And it also received mostly negative reviews from film critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 13%, based on 102 reviews, with an average rating of 3.4/10. Metacritic gives the film a score of 23 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating “generally unfavorable reviews”. Words used to describe the film includes “silly, overlong, clumsy writing, dull, tedious and repetitive succession of monster chases, booby traps, and temples that start to crumble at the last minute.” Joycelyn Noveck of the Chicago capped it off by telling the producers to forget about a sequel, that the film was headed for a long rest in the cinematic afterlife. Lol! (Wonder where that is). Jordan Hoffman of The Guardian however was less negative on the film calling it “a tremendous amount of fun.” In response to the reviews, director Alex Proyas attacked critics in a Facebook post, calling them “diseased vultures pecking at the bones of a dying carcass”, and applauded any film-goer who value their own opinion enough to not base it on what the pack-mentality says is good or bad.” Good for you Proyas! But if the critics are diseases vultures, guess that makes your film the dying carcass…?
Not to sound like one of the vultures, but I have to say that ‘Gods of Egypt’ didn’t cut it for me. “The script did seem clumsy, chidish and didn’t have that infectious good humour typical of such movies (Brendan Fraser’s ‘The Mummy’). And the special effects did consist a lot of crumbling sand castles and flying giant bird men.” In all, ‘Gods of Egypt’ just didn’t live up to my expectations. But what do I know. Perhaps someday soon when I shot my blockbuster fantasy/adventure film, then I would be in the position to make a well-rounded review. Hmmm….? And as for the “lack of diversity” banner welders, please give it a rest! I don’t know what the big deal is! Why can’t the film maker cast who what he wants for his film? Like Bollywood is going to use an all-white cast for an Indian movie or Nollywood, a white cast for our Naija movie or go tell Tyler Perry to cast white actors for his movies. To me it’s just the same as the fuss being made about having a black James Bond (never gonna watch that). So, film-goers, take director Proyas advice, go see the movie, make your opinions and help him recoup his money in the process. I know I would want you to do the same for Jollyhood, if I were in his shoes.
Anyways, as we enjoy our must watch movie for the week, please don’t forget the reason for the hols “the one true God that doesn’t live in hand-made temples but inside His children.” Be safe guys. XoXo!