For a completely goofy, "Clash of the Titans" throwback, "Gods of Egypt" is drawing a lot of controversy over the apparent whitewashing of the cast. There are a ton of white people in this movie, but there are also a few people of color in prominent roles, but the central Egyptian gods are mostly white folks.
Let's tackle that first. Director Alex Proyas has spoken out on his Facebook page repeatedly about the supposed whitewashing of his film and had this to say: "I cast the best actors for the roles. I stand by these decisions. Of course in a perfect world there would be a greater pool of English-speaking Egyptian actors to draw upon for this movie, but the practicalities of production, the names which are required by studios to finance a movie of this scale, the fact the movie was entirely made in Australia with specific guidelines about how many 'imported' actors we could include, all these aspects had a part to play in the casting of the movie."
A bit more thoughtfully, he adds, "The casting is an attempt to include ALL people, partly suggestive of the Egypt I know based on my own cultural heritage, but clearly and most importantly a work of the imagination—to exclude any one race in service of a hypothetical theory of historical accuracy, particularly in a film that is not attempting to be 'history,' rather a fantasy film, would have been biased."
That said, more diversity in films is important, and studio decisions will determine if filmmakers will ever get to make those choices. As much as it would be correct and just to cast Egyptian actors to play Egyptian roles, the reality of film financing behind a $140 million fantasy movie means Alex Proyas should not be thrown under the bus for decisions beyond his control.
Now, anyone who has seen a trailer for "Gods of Egypt" should know exactly what they're getting into with this flick. This is a movie for eight-year olds. Within minutes there are snake women riding fire-breathing sand dragons chasing after our heroes. Geoffrey Rush turns into a ten-foot-tall god who shoots fireballs from his staff. Some of the special effects are excellent and some are simply subpar. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Horus and Gerard Butler as Set are both a ton of fun as Gods fighting over Egypt, but Brenton Thwaites and Chadwick Boseman are lost in their respective roles.
What this means is that the film is incredibly uneven and inconsistent with some moments being a ton of eye-popping fun and others looking more on the level of the SyFy Channel's "Mega-Python vs. Gateroid." Proyas should have been very disappointed with his FX houses as the green screen work is some of the best and some of the worst that has played in multiplex theaters for years.
"Gods of Egypt," doesn't take itself seriously and doesn't expect an audience to either. If the effects, script and performances were consistent, it would be an enthusiastic recommendation all around but, as it stands, the film is a mixed bag of epic proportions.
"Gods of Egypt"
Dir. Alex Proyas
Now Playing at Old Mill Stadium 16 & IMAX