Kevin: At last, the day we’ve all been waiting for (and by “we,” I mean CJ and I) is here. That’s right, nearly 11 months after we put it on our Must See List based just on its plot synopsis – “As a man heads into space to prevent climate-controlling satellites from creating a storm of epic proportions, his brother discovers a plot to assassinate the president” – and the fact that it stars TGD fave Gerard Butler, “Geostorm” is finally blowing into theaters. Of course CJ and I already have our tickets, and if you are near Austin’s Alamo Lakeline theater tomorrow around 11:15 a.m., feel free to stop by and say hi (we’ll be the two guys dressed up in Secret Service agent Mike Banning cosplay outfits).
Now while we have made no bones about our enjoyment of his gruff yet humorous macho persona, as we counted down the excruciating final days before “Geostorm’s” release, I figured I’d test CJ’s ability to enjoy anything Butler-related by issuing a Tough Guy Challenge to watch his recent critical and commercial disaster “Gods of Egypt.” In case you have already forgotten, “Gods of Egypt” was released last year with a huge target on its back thanks to its huge budget and February release date – typically not a good combination – mock-worthy trailers, and accusations of whitewashing.
(Although the fact that the people in the film also turn into flying robots, can command giant reptiles, and live on a flat Earth may have been an indication that the film was not intended to be an entirely accurate depiction of ancient Egyptian life.)
Either way, even Butler seemed to want to forget the movie existed, instead focusing his attention on promoting the release of “London Has Fallen” just a week later (actually that was probably a good idea since we are getting another “Olympus Has Fallen” sequel, while somehow news of a “Gods of Egypt 2” has still not materialized). Yet perhaps it was due to such lowered expectations, but when I finally caught up to “Gods of Egypt” I actually rather enjoyed it. It’s inherent goofiness is played admirably straight-faced, it constantly throws out cool or bizarre concepts like a giant space worm and then just moves right along, and the cast is totally committed to the over-the-top spirit of the film, with Butler especially having a lot of fun chewing the scenery as a villain who you’d like to have a beer with even while he was enslaving you and destroying the world.
Although I am apparently still in the minority on this one, I wanted to see if this particular Challenge went better for CJ than the last one, in which his love for Bruce Willis could not overcome his hatred of “Hudson Hawk.” So CJ after sitting through “Gods of Egypt,” can you possibly convey the plot of the film without sounding like an insane person, and did you find the movie to be an underrated gem or a shit-covered piece of cubic zirconium?
CJ: After spending $10 to purchase “Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift” because it wasn’t available to rent at a cheaper rate, I told myself I would never be suckered again. If it meant waiting for months, then so be it. And that is why over a year and a half after its release, I was finally able to see “Gods of Egypt.”
The movie stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Horus, the Lord of Air, although some of you may better know Nikolaj as Uncle Father from “Game of Thrones.” Horus is all set to become the new king of Egypt when Set, played by TGD’s favorite badass Gerard Butler, walks in and decides, nah, HE should be king instead. And rather than dilly dally for 10 minutes, Set kills his brother, beats the shit out of his nephew, and bitch slaps the other gods faster than you can say “Geostorm will win an Oscar.”
Did Set claim the throne out of jealousy? Anger at being passed over? Probably both. Personally, I think he did it because Horus is the Lord of Air, which is fucking stupid.
After getting his ass handed to him, Horus lives in isolation accepting the prayers of locals and moping around. Luckily for him, a super annoying shit named Bek is on his way to get him back in the game. Not because he believes Horus is the true king who will reverse Set’s evil ways and bring Egypt back to a kind land where everyone eats lunch together, but because his smoking hot girlfriend is on her way to the underworld and he has not banged her enough. Give or take.
What follows is two hours of overwhelming CGI and horribly unfunny “quips,” a mostly bald Geoffrey Rush as either Rah the Sun God or the most powerful Hare Krishna of all time, and a trip into outer space.
A few other notes:
Horus starts off by saying how the gods live amongst the people, but are notably different due to their size, golden blood, and ability to turn into giant metallic animals. I’ll be honest, who here needs all three of those things before you realize it’s a god? I feel like if I saw a 15-foot guy walking around, my first thought wouldn’t be, “Well hold on, I don’t see golden blood, nor has he turned into a silver cheetah. Move along.”
Not enough is made about how quickly Set takes over Egypt. He shows up, hugs his nephew, then pretty much goes “Psych!” and immediately murders his father, threatens the citizens, starts drilling his nephew’s wife, and declares Butler law. I know he’s supposed to be the bad guy, but I gotta say I like his style.
Rufus Sewell is in this. Hahaha, that is all.
Remember all the cool puzzles Indiana Jones had to go through in his movies? Indy had to balance the weight in a bag to swap it out with an artifact, choose the right cup, and spell out God amongst collapsing floorboards. “Gods of Egypt” wanted to pay homage to this by having Bek basically run as fast as he can, jump around wildly, and survive through sheer, inexplicable luck. He doesn’t even choose wisely, he just goes “Oh shit!” and hightails it out of there. Makes me wish Butler stayed in power.
At one point before the final battle, it is noted that Horus only has one of his eyes, and without his second eye he is weaker. Hey guys, this actually holds true of everyone.
There is a scene where Horus and Bek are chased by gigantic snakes and Bek needs to distract them so Horus can kill them from behind. Bek accomplishes this by jumping up, waving his hands, and screaming something like, “Hey, look at me!” This happens a lot in movies, and I’m concerned that it has a 100% success rate. Are all villains inherently stupid, or is it on us, the audience, to no longer accept this as a plausible strategy? All I know is, if someone ever jumps out telling me to chase them, I will immediately punch everyone around me. Can’t be too careful!
Kevin: Let’s not forget that while all the other Gods are introduced as like the God of Wisdom or the Goddess of Love, Horus is the Lord of Air. I don’t know, that seems pretty fucking vague compared to everyone else, and I’m still not exactly sure what it means. He’s not the only god who can fly, so I guess it refers to his ability to throw spears and shit really accurately through the air?
Oh yeah, remember how Horus is introduced hung over in his apartment, and the camera pulls back and there’s like two dozen partiers passed out on the ground and a DEAD LION hanging from the ceiling? Just wondering, does this look more or less debaucherous than the “memorial” Billy Cole’s teammates apparently threw in his honor after his murder/suicide gave them a leg up on Cleveland in the division?
Also Chadwick Boseman plays Thoth, the God of Wisdom, and since he has also played James Brown, Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, and the Prince of Wakanda, I’m guessing Thoth must have been a real guy like all those other dudes.
Remember when Rufus Sewell was briefly considered leading man material, until Hollywood remembered that leading men don’t have lazy eyes? Nowadays I feel like any time I sit down to watch a movie like “Gods of Egypt,” I start counting down the minutes until either Rufus Sewell or Ben Kingsley shows up as a villain.
Sewell also plays some evil architect (but aren’t they all in movies?) who is the slave owner of the girlfriend of the hero. Now considering the world of “Gods of Egypt” seems as backwards and cruel as modern-day Hollywood, you would assume that he is putting her through some Harvey Weinstein-type shit. But no, actually his biggest thing is being annoyed that he keeps finding his desk messy, and even after he politely warns her that he’ll kill her if it happens again, she still can’t do that one simple task correctly. Frankly I was totally on his side on this.
Hathor, the Goddess of Love, says that the bracelet that she wears signifies the 42 demons that Horus had to slay in order to free her from the underworld, at which point she knew for sure that she loved him. Oh is that all it took? Shit as far as I’m concerned if he just got good seats for “Hamilton” that should have been enough.
Set makes a point to acknowledge that he is late for the ceremony at the beginning, just like Gerard is also late for whatever stupid hearing that that pencil-neck Richard Schiff is making him fly in from space for in “Geostorm.” Maybe this is Gerard’s new thing, having his character be late for something in every movie, like how Brad Pitt is always eating in his movies, or how Halle Berry always sucks.
I will say I did start succumbing to the movie’s goofy charms right around the time Geoffrey Rush blasts a giant space worm and Butler attacks a temple on a chariot powered by two flying beetles. Obviously CJ you didn’t enjoy it as much as I did, but I still think there is plenty to recommend this film, and as I said in our 2016 Year in Review, if this was called “Marvel’s Gods of Egypt” I have a feeling its Rotten Tomatoes score would be in the low-80s at least.
Either way I’m hoping we have better luck with “Geostorm” tomorrow, and if nothing else just be glad I ditched my original choice for this week’s Challenge: “P.S. I Love You”
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