Gods of Egypt
By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Cheesy spectacle isn't just bad but also violent and racy.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Even one individual can do the extraordinary with devotion, discipline, and the right kind of help. Also encourages the idea of making sacrifices for those we love and having faith in the impossible. On the other hand, the fact that the cast of this story set in ancient Egypt is predominantly white has caused many raised eyebrows about the message that sends to audiences.
Positive Role Models
Bek is a thief, but he's also extremely faithful to Zaya and is willing to do anything to protect her. He's also loyal to Horus and encourages him to be a better leader. The Goddess of Love makes a sacrifice to allow two lovers to reunite. Horus stops feeling sorry for his condition and, with Bek's help, becomes the kind of god his grandfather Ra and his people need.
Violence & Scariness
High quantity of violence, but it's not gory or bloody (when they do bleed, the gods bleed gold). The body count includes scenes of stabbing, decapitation, cruelty (e.g., a god who cuts off his ex-wife's wings and then kills her and also pokes out his nephew's eyes). Several big hand-to-hand battles with swords/spears. In some cases, the fighting leads to buildings crumbling. Two of Set's bodyguards pursue Horus and Bek on giant snakes that spew poison.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Naked couple shown in bed together (strong implication of sex); bare shoulders, backs, and a male chest are seen, as is the side of one breast. The man gets out of bed naked, and another man looks down (presumably at his penis) and raises an eyebrow. A young woman's silhouette is visible as she changes behind a screen. Several female characters wear very revealing dresses (i.e. cleavage) and are ogled by male characters. A young couple lives together; it's implied that they're lovers, but they don't do more than kiss a few times (once on a bed), and it's unclear whether they're technically married. Both Horus and Set are shown shirtless and naked (off camera) in a couple of scenes. The Goddess of Love has a sexual relationship with two different characters. A woman asks a man if he prefers her "view from behind."
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One use of "ass," "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
It's implied that a god is hung over; it's clear he had a big party the night before (people are strewn all over a room, some with drinks in hand). Horus asks whether Bek has wine to bring him, as it's the only thing that would grant Bek an audience. A goddess drinks from a flask and walks unsteadily, as if drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gods of Egypt is an epic action fantasy with lots of violence (chiefly via sword and hand-to-hand battle), though most of it isn't too gory (even decapitations and mutilations are shot in such a way that they aren't particularly graphic). Strong language is limited to very sparse uses of "ass" and "s--t," but there's a fair bit of suggestive material, including sexual innuendo, implied nudity/sexual relationships, and one scene that shows the before and after of sex but not the act itself (bare backs and the side of a breast are shown). The gods enjoy drinking, and a couple of characters act drunk and/or hung over at different times. The ancient-Egypt-set film stirred such a social media controversy over its predominantly white cast (lacking any discernable Egyptian or Middle Eastern actors) that the director publicly apologized for not making the ensemble more diverse.
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Gods of Egypt
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What's the Story?
Set in ancient Egypt, GODS OF EGYPT begins on the day that Osiris (Bryan Brown) is about to crown his son, Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Lord of the Air, the next king. At the coronation ceremony, Osiris' bitter, jealous brother, Set (Gerard Butler), arrives to kill Osiris, defeat and exile Horus (by taking his all-seeing eyes), and take the throne for himself. Meanwhile, a mortal couple -- young thief Bek (Brenton Thwaites) and his devout love, Zaya (Courtney Eaton) -- mess with the gods by conspiring to steal Horus' eyes from Set's vault. Although Bek successfully retrieves one eye, Zaya's employer, Urshu (Rufus Sewell), Set's royal architect, kills her for her treason. Grief-stricken Bek takes Zaya's body to Horus, where he strikes a bargain: Horus' eye for a promise to revive Zaya. Together the mortal and the god embark on an unlikely journey to defeat the maniacal Set before he destroys all of creation.
Is It Any Good?
Starring a white-washed cast phoning in their performances, this cheesy, unimpressive action fantasy is so bad it's only good for watching as a guilty pleasure once it's on television. Director Alex Proyas publicly apologized for not making more diverse casting decisions, but he might as well have apologized for the film itself. Butler's Set is an uninteresting, ruthless Big Bad Villain with no nuance; by now audiences must wonder whether the actor is capable of anything but these terrible swords-and-sandals adventures. And although Game of Thrones star Coster-Waldau is obviously quite comfortable holding a sword and dealing with missing body parts, he looks as bored as the audience.
Bek and Zaya are the only likable characters; meanwhile, poor Chadwick Boseman will have to rely on the goodwill of his portrayals in 42 and Get On Up to erase the memory of his terribly affected God of Wisdom, Thoth. Overlong and featuring bland effects, Gods of Egypt is the kind of film that feels twice as long as its runtime and will cause many moviegoers to constantly look at their watches in hopes that the climactic battle between Horus and Set will come soon so the credits will roll.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why movies set in ancient civilizations are popular. How does Gods of Egypt compare to other films about ancient mythologies?
What role does violence play in the story? Do you think the amount of violence is appropriate for younger teens? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Do you think filmmakers have a responsibility to make casting decisions based on the heritage of the source material? Why is diversity in filmmaking important?
How are sex and drinking portrayed in the movie? Do the characters have healthy relationships with each other? Are there consequences for substance use?
- In theaters: February 26, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: May 31, 2016
- Cast: Gerard Butler, Rufus Sewell, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
- Director: Alex Proyas
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- Run time: 127 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: fantasy violence and action, and some sexuality
- Last updated: December 1, 2022
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