Crash of the titans

Gods of Egypt, which is frequently and unintentionally the funniest movie of the season, is an unholy mashup of mythology, ham-fisted dialogue, hammy acting and clunky storytelling – all of it awash in CGI special effects ranging from impressive (on occasion) to insipid (more often).

This is yet another of those bombastic, big-budget ($140 million) fantasies designed, apparently, to jump-start a potential film franchise. If so, that goal has not been achieved. Just the opposite. Gods of Egypt, which marks a career low for director/producer Alex Proyas, is a colossal waste of time, talent and money on the “grand” scale of last year’s Jupiter Ascending, Pan, or Fantastic Four reboot.

Borrowing bits and pieces from Lucas, Spielberg, Marvel, Tolkien, Transformers, and whatever else (it hardly matters) – and accompanied by a blaring Marco Beltrami score that sounds like a reject from Star Wars – the story, such as it is, sees Egypt thrown into chaos when it is overthrown by the god Set (a swaggering Gerard Butler).

“I rule all that breathes and all that’s breathed upon,” Set announces, in one of writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless’ more amusing lines. Sazama and Sharpless were also responsible for penning such earlier duds as Dracula Untold (2014) and The Last Witch Hunter (2015), and Gods of Egypt is right down there.

The mortal thief Bek (Brenton Thwaites) teams with the god Horus (Nickolaj Coster-Walden), who is Set’s nephew and was blinded by him, in a desperate effort to best Set and restore order to Egypt.

Some of the characters survive, but the actors don’t. Rufus Sewell, shown to much better advantage in Proyas’ Dark City (1998), earns a few laughs as Set’s toady Horshu, but everyone else looks embarrassed, including Geoffrey Rush (channeling Alec Guinness) as the god Ra, Bryan Brown as Set’s ill-fated brother Osiris, and Chadwick Boseman as the god Thoth. The principal actresses, Courtney Eaton (recently seen in Mad Max: Fury Road) and Elodie Yung, are always properly framed so that their cleavage is prominently displayed. !

MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2016, Mark Burger.