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Review: The Gods Must Be Silly in ‘Gods of Egypt’

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During a season of movies that are so painfully awful, Gods of Egypt comes as a refreshing movie…in that it was SO bad that it was good.

With its abundance of cheap computer graphics, silly dialogue and a notable cast, there’s a self-aware nature that make this farce deliciously goofy. It’s almost goofy enough to recommend, if only it weren’t so long and drawn out.

Gods of Egypt Cast

“Gods of Egypt” cast of all-stars.

Surprisingly, the plot sticks fairly close to the mythology of Egyptian gods. As the gods dwell among humans, there’s the drama of grand figures fighting for loyalty and power. King Osiris (Bryan Brown) hands down his throne to his son Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) which angers Set (Gerard Butler). Set kills Osiris, rips out Horus’ eyes and assumes the throne to build gargantuan monuments. Set’s new reign of slavery and tougher deals for the salvation leads to the plucky slave Bek (Brenton Thwaites) seeking out Horus’ eyes so that he can defeat Set. But with his wife doomed to the afterlife in his quest, Bek has more on his plate as he attempts to assert himself around gods that look down on him in more ways than one.

Gods of Egypt Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Danish actor Nikolaj Coster Waldau as hulking Egyptian Horus.

As you might expect from such a cast, the gods and many of the Egyptians appear as muscular white guys struggling to hold back their various European accents. There are certain parallels to the white-washing of Hollywood roles in 2014’s Exodus: Gods and Kings. But unlike Exodus, Gods of Egypt doesn’t seem to take its own sword-and-sandal vision seriously.

In addressing the racial issue of casting, director Alex Proyas said that it was a subject of issue, but not for a movie such as this. I sort of agree with him in that it doesn’t seem to be worth getting worked up over a movie where Coster-Waldau turns into a metallic bird and a hulking CGI sphinx utters, “Oh bother.”

There’s an admirable sense of epic filmmaking with B-movie sensibilities. For trying to remain close to the source material, the script is never shy to inject as much humor as it can into the dialogue. Set makes jokes about his monuments not being big enough, Horus marches around as a gentle giant of limited social skills with mortals and Bek keeps on cracking about how much it sucks to live with gods. I can almost sense the franchise-building tone that Lionsgate was shooting towards.

Gods of Egypt Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau becomes a not-so-graceful CGI bird.

The computer graphics are rather cheap considering the aim of Proyas’ grand vision. Cities are crowded with civilians, giant snakes slither across vast dunes and Ra has nightly cosmic battles. There are some decent effects with trick photography and digital effects to make the gods appear larger than mortals. It’s certainly a ridiculous sight in a few scenes, but rarely does it look like a cheap effect.

For a $140 million budget, there should at least be a handful of scenes that look at least a little impressive. The battles are not too shabby for all the visual flair shoved into the frame, but, wow, do they outstay their welcome with the abundance of CGI. By the time I reached the grand finale of magic and swords, I was already exhausted with its spectacle.

Through all its ridiculous writing and clumsy smatterings of CGI, Gods of Egypt is the type of bad movie that’s more entertaining than it should be. The tenacity and earnest of its filmmaking contains a certain charm you just don’t see too often in this day and age. If it only had a bit more creativity in its visuals and had trimmed some of the fat from its two-hour running time, this could possibly have been the next franchise for Lionsgate to bank on. In its current form, however, it’s one heck of a bad movie destined for a night of beers and laughing.

[author title=”About The Author” image=”http://popstermedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/mark_mcpherson-300×221-150×150.jpg”]Movie nut Mark McPherson has been all about movies since working at a video store in his youth. His talents range from video editing to animation to web development, but movies have always been his passion to write about.[/author]

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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Review: “Captain Marvel” is a Solidly Sensational Sci-Fi Adventure

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Captain Marvel joins the ranks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a much different way. She slides into the MCU via a twisty sci-fi adventure of the 1990s, before the Avengers were formed. And though the film does serve as a strong bridge picture that answers a few more questions about the Marvel universe, the film quickly becomes its own thing and gives its hero a real identity as the powerful addition to the superhero ensemble.

Brie Larson plays Carol Danvers, a woman not sure if she’s a human pilot of Earth or a soldier of the Kree empire’s Starforce. There’s little time to explore these conflicting visions she’s having when there’s special energy powers to control and a war being waged against the shape-shifting Skrull alien creatures. A detour to 1990s Earth gives her a bit of time to find out more while also hunting down some more Skrulls, leading to some interesting scenarios when combatting aliens that could look like old ladies.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) ..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

Carol’s landing on Earth leads to treading down familiar Marvel timeline territory as well as evoking plenty of dated 1990s bits. What started drawing me into the picture was how the film holds itself back from the obvious. The 1990s setting is used for some gags of video stores and Windows 95, sure, but never goes the extra mile of becoming an aggravating reference fest, keeping a certain vibe the way Guardians of the Galaxy embraced the 1970s and 1980s. And just like that film, there’s a nostalgic soundtrack to boot, with choice tracks for just the right cue.

Samuel L. Jackson pops up in the film as a younger Nick Fury with his two eyes still intact. He teams up with Carol in her intergalactic spy adventure and thankfully never goes to the booming lengths he was known for that decade. And the filmmakers could have easily made this younger Fury go full Die Hard 3 or Pulp Fiction but he never does, always keeping that cool persona he has been known for in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..L to R: Att-Lass (Algenis Perez Soto), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

But the one aspect that is never shunned and built up grandly is the aspect of female empowerment. Danvers is established as a woman who doesn’t have a clear identity or mindful nature of galactic politics and has to build herself up when she realizes she may be a very powerful pawn in a big game of intergalactic chess. Her memories are that of always being told to back off from non-traditional activities for girls and, sure enough, she rises up to become the smirking and energy-shooting hero when the final piece of her character puzzle is pieced together. It’s just unfortunate that the film spends so much time doing the building amid a twisty sci-fi spy story that Brie never gets a moment to shine as brightly as she could, despite a very enthusiastic third-act closer.

If we’re being blunt, no, Captain Marvel doesn’t quite have the same gravity to be a cultural milestone of a comic book movie. Where others have pointed to Black Panther as not the first the most insightful and cultural of black-led superhero movies, I doubt many will look towards Captain Marvel as the grandest of female-led comic book movies, making its motives known with the power and subtlety of a supernova. But, in terms of what the film is aiming towards, it doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone and that’s perhaps the point. I just wish that Captain Marvel’s astounding powers to destroy starships and aliens had a much bigger punch for a picture that wants to obliterate the glass ceiling and merely cuts a narrow hole within the MCU. It’s a nice hole, mind you, and still weaves a capable and compelling sci-fi adventure with a surprisingly more engaging finale than most Marvel solos.

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