GODS OF EGYPT Is An Epic Fantasy Tale On So Many Levels

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Courtney Howard // Film Critic

Audiences can be a little lukewarm lately on over-the-top CGI-spectacles when it comes to the fantasy genre. They didn’t exactly turn up for SEVENTH SON, or THE LEGEND OF HERCULES, or DRACULA UNTOLD. Though THE LAST WITCH HUNTER fared better than most (ably beating STEVE JOBS in wide release), it remains unknown if the genre can have a return to glory. But maybe, just maybe, director Alex Proyas’ GODS OF EGYPT can do it. Maybe.

However, an interesting question still remains: Where does bankability meet social responsibility? Not only did it not intersect for director Ridley Scott’s EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS, it didn’t wind up connecting with audiences either after a hubbub arose about casting mainly white actors instead of Egyptians. This leads us to a bit of history repeating itself with this film as it’s kicking up controversy surrounding its casting of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites and Gerard Butler.

For the record, Lionsgate’s response to the criticism was first reported by Forbes, reads ”We recognize that it is our responsibility to help ensure that casting decisions reflect the diversity and culture of the time periods portrayed. In this instance we failed to live up to our own standards of sensitivity and diversity, for which we sincerely apologize. Lionsgate is deeply committed to making films that reflect the diversity of our audiences. We have, can and will continue to do better.​​”

Proyas also issued a statement, saying “The process of casting a movie has many complicated variables, but it is clear that our casting choices should have been more diverse. I sincerely apologize to those who are offended by the decisions we made.”

Here’s the official synopsis:

In this spectacular action-adventure, the survival of mankind hangs in the balance as an unexpected mortal hero Bek [Brenton Thwaites] undertakes a thrilling journey to save the world and rescue his true love. In order to succeed, he must enlist the help of the powerful god Horus [Nikolaj Coster-Waldau] in an unlikely alliance against Set [Gerard Butler], the merciless god of darkness, who has usurped Egypt’s throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict.  As their breathtaking battle against Set and his henchmen takes them into the afterlife and across the heavens, both god and mortal must pass tests of courage and sacrifice if they hope to prevail in the spectacular final confrontation.

What say you? Are you unaffected by this or would you like to see a more diverse cast of unknowns tell this tale? Do you think that would make a difference in box office numbers?

GODS OF EGYPT opens on February 26.

About author

Courtney Howard

Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.