So far we’ve had 12 installments of Bad Movies with Brad, and I have come to a bit of a realization. I may have been reinforcing a bad stereotype. I mean all this time I’ve been putting your brains through the cinematic equivalent of a root canal every few weeks, I’ve never shown you anything bad past newer than 2009. And that one was during the Writer’s Strike. See the unfortunate thing about film is that tastes change, and some things that are considered perfectly fine in one era become god awful decisions in others. I mean, I remember when Batman: Forever was actually considered a pretty good movie. Only now are we starting to look at the 2000’s grim-gritty-gritty-dark-dark aesthetic as the ridiculous thing it was. Consequently I hear this being said all the time, you can’t make a bad movie these days, or people will tweet it into oblivion from the theatre. While that certainly has encouraged people to make better movies, it hasn’t stopped them from making absolute garbage. So with that in mind I’m going to serve up some vintage 2016 absolute garbage for you…
…because Gods of Egypt was half price on Amazon Prime.
Gods of Egypt begins with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau being held at gunpoint to read a prologue about how Ancient Egypt was so awesome the gods decided to live there. Power in Egypt was divided equally between the brothers Osiris and Set (Gerard Butler). By equally I mean that Osiris got all the nice river delta parts of Egypt to live in whereas Set got the desert wasteland bits. So on the day Osiris is going to transfer power to his son and Hercules-esque jackass Horus; Set shows up, kills Osiris, and makes himself king. He also takes the opportunity to tear out Horus’ (Coster-Waldau’s) magical super eyes. The only reason Set doesn’t kill Horus is well is because Hathor (Elodie Yung) agrees to be his queen. His first act as king is to declare that the only way into the afterlife is to pay your way in with riches, presumably so he can turn the underworld into a super classy, luxurious, casino hotel.
Sometime later a thief named Bek is convinced by his lover Zaya to break into Set’s treasure house to steal back one of Horus’ eyes. Zaya believes that only Horus can save Egypt, and with her being enslaved to Set’s chief architect, she can get him in. Bek manages to retrieve the eye but Zaya’s master finds out, and Zaya is shot with an arrow as they try to escape. With her dying a penniless slave, she’ll certainly be doomed in the afterlife. So Bek makes a bargain with Horus, bring Zaya back from the grave and he’ll help Horus get his other eye back and kill Set. So Bek and Horus set off on a typical Hollywood adventure with more convoluted twists than you can shake an ankh at.
Egyptian as Cairo, Ohio.
Hollywood coopting culture like an Outback Steakhouse isn’t new, in fact if you’ll remember my last installment, it’s about as old as the movies. Brand new Gods of Egypt however, doesn’t get to hide behind being made by Howard Hughes. This was put out by a major studio when Barack Obama was President, there is no damn reason why the only non-white actors are Elodie Yung and Chadwick Boseman. No one in the main cast is even from the right continent. When I first looked and saw Geoffrey Rush as Ra, I made the only logical conclusion, it had to be animated. I was wrong
Then I thought, hey wait a minute, the Egyptian gods all had different animal heads, maybe they’re doing some kind of realistic motion capture for Horus’ eagle head. I was very, very wrong.
It’s simply inexcusable these days, and if anyone says there are no recognizable actors to cast in these parts, Doran Martell and Ardeth Bay are rolling their eyes so hard right now.
(Though I’m sure Oded Fehr and Alexander Siddig were so glad no one asked.)
Egyptian as Sean Connery
Most of the actors, though miscast, do at least commit to doing a good job. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is definitely earning his paycheck trying to play Horus, and he honestly deserves a better part in a different movie. Additionally, one can only hope Elodie Yung having to slog through a swamp in a Las Vegas Showgirl outfit while playing Hathor did something to earn her her wonderful turn as Elektra in Daredevil. Even our Australian Ra, Geoffrey Rush brings the sort of quiet intensity to the part that is so well intentioned. Overall everyone approaches this ridiculous script with professionalism and grace.
Oh, right, I forgot about the loud drunk scotsman in the corner. Yes, Gerard Butler, no longer content to remind us that ‘this is Sparta’ has decided to bring the Zach Snyder school of acting to his role as Set. He also apparently decided to spend his per diem rinsing his brain out with scotch. Every time Set appears on screen the plot takes a giant lurch of the rails as a sweaty Gerard Butler explains his method for ruling the world. He spends half the movie looks like he’s going to fall over or hurl on the other actor’s shoes.
In fact, most of the plot involving Set does make more sense if you imagine Set being drunk the entire time. His evil plan in the film is to rip off a bunch of special parts of different gods and hammer them onto himself so that he can become a super god. Right now you’re thinking I mean this figuratively. You would be wrong.
You know what, if he wants to make Set god of the Egyptian city of Ahmdrunk, let him. I’d certainly want to be at that point.
Egyptian as Cleopatra1
I had my work cut out for me picking a Bad Movie Hero for this one, because this movie was so thoroughly slapped together fo be a franchise vehicle. That being said, it was very tempting to award our prize to the writers. You see, while the dialogue is written like Frank Miller bashing his face into hieroglyphics, one of these writers actually loved Egyptian mythology. When Gods of Egypt isn’t using its ridiculous original plot it actually takes the time to use the wonderful stories it’s butchering. Ra actually travels the skies in a ship, and descends into the underworld to fight Apophis for the fate of all creation. Set does jealousy kill his brother Osiris, dismember him, and spread the pieces all over Egypt. Someone even bothered to learn that Hathor was associated with guiding souls to the afterlife as well as her normal fertility jobs. I can’t say that it’s done well, I can’t even say that it’s passable, but someone really cared about the source material. Unfortunately someone also thought the Egyptian Sphinx gave riddles..
So with that in mind our Bad Movie Hero is Elodie Yung in her turn as Hathor. She has, probably the worst part in the whole movie, and she handles herself like a freaking professional. She does love scenes with Gerard Butler; uses magical sex mind control powers; walks around in costumes that look like she fell naked into a bedazzler, and plays every single line with the subtext of ‘fuck this movie’. Most of our actor heroes get their awards for caring about their part more than they should, Elodie Yung gets hers for putting up with this much bullshit and doing her job.
So pick up Gods of Egypt, don’t pay a lot for it, and remind yourself that while we have come a long way in making movies better, we still have a long way to go. Sometimes the best response to that is to do your job and get out, and sometimes all you can do is get really, really wasted.