Rated PG-13. Running time: 2 hours 7 min.
Our content ratings: Violence 4; Language 1; Sex/Nudity 2.
Our star rating (1-5): 2
Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?
Having seen the two excellent films The Lady in the Van and 45 Years on the same day, my main impression of Alex Proyas’ bloated fantasy is, “It’s BIG, and it’s LOUD.” Right from the appearance of the film title composer Marco Beltrami bombards the viewers’ ears so aggressively that we wonder how could the soundtrack grow any louder without ruining the theater’s speakers when the inevitable climactic battle arrives.
This overly long 3-D Imax tale begins with the god Osiris about to pass on Egypt’s crown to his son Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) when his brother Set (Gerard Butler) marches in with a vast army of golden-masked warriors. After treacherously killing his brother, Set engages Horus in a sword fight during which they transform into winged creatures that crash into and smash pillars and such. Gaining the upper hand, Set gouges out his rival’s eyes and banishes him to a desert place. The new ruler enslaves everyone so that he can build monuments to himself that tower as high as anything to be found in modern New York or Dubai. (As if most Egyptians weren’t already slaves!)
Among the enslaved populace is the human Bek (Brenton Thwaites), whose short resume would read “Thief.” For a slave, he easily slips out at night to visit his beloved Zaya (Courtney Eaton), who has been forced to work for Set’s evil architect, and…Oh, heck, the story is too silly to waste more time on. Let’s just say there are lots of sword fights, mighty gods and goddesses on both sides that use soaring aircraft and even ride atop giant cobras swiftly slithering across the desert, and a partnership between the thief and the deposed Horus, now with one eye thanks to Bek. Bek’s goal is to help Horus regain his throne, and even more, to save the life of Zaya before she is…
The cartoonish special effects and wooden characters make this a film difficult to watch, except for the spectacular sets which really are something to see—if only the dumb story didn’t keep getting in the way. There is one admirable scene: During the climactic fight Horus, atop a towering building, has but an instant to choose between saving his falling human friend or grabbing a jewel that will give him his complete sight and power, also rolling toward the edge. By this time my mind (and senses, especially my ears) were so numbed that I almost missed it. Go see this only if you are a masochist or the projectors in all the adjoining theaters have broken down and you’re still determined to have a night out. I am happy to report that I did not have to pay to get into the advanced screening.
It has been a struggle thus far to write about this turkey, so don’t look for any discussion questions in the March issue of Visual Parables.