Film Reviews with a Drag Queen: Gods of Egypt

gods-of-egypt

Spoilers! Although the final fate of the characters is not described, several key plot points are. Therefore, be wary, gentle readers.

So. Gods of Egypt. I can’t help feeling this movie was a steaming pile of the stuff scarabs lay their eggs in.

Stixen: You’re correct! That might even be too kind, quite frankly!

So, what left the greatest impression in your mind? I use greatest loosely.

Stixen: Well, if I can be frank, as amusing as it was to see such a terrible film, I guess what stuck with me the most was the fact that a movie could be so blatantly sexist, racist and frankly convoluted while still being so proud of itself. What about you?

Basically the same. Don’t get me wrong, I like tribal fusion belly dancing costumes, and I definitely like sexy gentlemen from the UK, however neither of these things belong in a film about the gods of ancient Egypt. It was amazing how shallowly they interpreted not only the mythology, but the art forms. And I went in expecting a regular action/adventure flick, so I wasn’t look for literary analysis, but this was just…

Stixen: I couldn’t agree more. It’s a shame because at its base, there could be a real story there. A mortal trying to save his love from death must team up with a god who is looking for redemption. There’s a story there. But the film had too many aspects and not one of them had a solid or well-placed thought behind it.

Yup. When the opening city-scape fly over showed random pyramids over… everything… I knew it was a bad sign. If they just happily dismiss the purpose of pyramids to stick them on top of people’s houses as pretty decorations… yeah. It’s over. As the painfully white king said to a crowd of white people with a smattering of racial diversity in the background: “This is my legacy!” Yes, white dude. This is your legacy. Hoovering up pretty cultural references that appeal to you and regurgitating them in a miasma of pointless, appropriated vomit.

Stixen: Exactly! And my biggest issue is that it is impossible to say that this kind of racism is “accidental” as many people would like to believe. The women were all property and anyone who was of color was either a supporting character or someone who was some sort of slave or servant to another character. I’m just not sure how that movie managed to get past so many people (producers, writers, editors, etc.) and not one of them said “hang on, this is wrong.”

Yeah. I remember sitting there during the scene in Thoth’s study thinking, “All those guys look the same – Oh! Shame on me, that’s racist… wait. No. This entire group of people of color are the same person of color…” That bothered me on multiple levels. First of all, his greatest power is being his own literal servant (since he got shown up by a mortal when answering the Sphinx’s riddle). Secondly his real power, his mind, gets upstaged by a “clever” mortal.

Stixen: Exactly! Which hones in on a big issue for him. Both Thoth and Hathor presented major problems for me. Both were characters that were trapped in stereotypes. I had high hopes that both would shatter the proverbial glass ceiling and, unfortunately, neither ever did. Thoth was made a fool of in the end and Hathor, instead of saving the day, sacrificed herself. And that, to me, seemed like a very dumb way to get rid of a female supporting character who could possibly save the day- leaving the men to be the only possible heroes.

That and the fact that she spent most of the movie living as a prisoner/sex object to supposedly protect Horus. The writers presented her as the prostitute with a heart of gold, which is one of the oldest stereotypes in the world.

Stixen: Yeah! I had a big problem with that. There was a lot potential that the actress brought to the role but they squandered it on an old concept that is more befitting of what they assume people (mainly men) want to see. Which is a shame, because she could’ve easily been a more active hero to balance out all the manly-men fighting nonsense.

Definitely. On the subject of misapplied art themes: the height difference got under my skin in a bad way. In Egyptian art the more powerful a figure, the larger he or she appears in comparison to other figures. It’s thought provoking and offered a lot of interesting interpretive possibilities. But they just made the gods larger than mortals. It was obvious. It was annoying. It lost all the intrigue of the style. It just… yeah, it bothered me.

Stixen: I COMPLETELY agree! It was definitely one of those ideas that the director had in the middle of the night while he was half asleep. It’s clever at first glance, but, there’s not really much of a payoff? It just added an uncomfortable element that we, as the audience, had to get used to. Like, it was rarely ever alluded to. The mortals and the gods seemed used to this part of their reality, but the writers seemed to forget that even walking next to a god that large would cause some pretty interesting dynamics that they never really discussed. It was an interesting idea- but, again, it was a shallow concept mixed with a bunch of other random, shallow concepts that made the movie disorienting.

It was an obliviously cliche nightmare with gods who transformed into the gold-painted strippers of a furry’s wet dream.

Stixen: Exactly. Mixed with the Thor universe, some medieval elements, Transformers, Aladdin, Iron Man and Star Wars. I’m not quite sure what I saw.

A mess.

Stixen: Not even a hot mess. Although, the lead was pretty cute. But that goes without saying.

What other thoughts do you have?

I think one thing that strikes me is that this film is kind of based off of misconceptions. Before the film, you and I were discussing the fact that it seems like sometimes films about ancient Egypt are so fantastical because I think many filmmakers just assume that Egypt doesn’t exist anymore – therefore, it’s free game to be white washed.

And the same can be said about the mythology. They didn’t do much research on what is, ultimately, a beautiful and rich history of religion. But they deleted that for the interest of the film.

Yes and yes. Any thoughts on costumes?

Stixen: I mean, they had some fun elements. The high fashion element to the Egyptian garb had some fun potential, but they never really stuck to it. They added in a lot of elements of greek and roman dress, while mixing in medieval elements and also sci fi? On a whole, the costumes made just about as much sense as the movie itself.

Official Heel Rating:

Heel

I give it one heel. A broken heel.

M. Leigh Hood is a rare beast of the Cincinnati wilderness typically preoccupied with writing, nerding, and filming The Spittoon List. For more articles and stories by M. Leigh Hood, look HERE.

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