Archive for the ‘Alex Proyas’ Category

Egyptian Escapism

Gods of Egypt

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Director: Alex Proyas

Cast: Brenton Thwaites, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Bryan Brown, Rufus Sewell, Gerard Butler, Emma Booth, Chadwick Boseman, Geoffrey Rush, Courtney Eaton, Elodie Yung

Escapist cinema is fun but often its never particularly good, just merely entertaining. This is the case with the latest film from Knowing director Alex Proyas who imaginatively captures the golden world of Egyptian mythology in the action adventure swashbuckler, Gods of Egypt.

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After a fabulous introduction to the Egyptian Gods and their hierarchy, a muscular Horus, son of Egyptian God Osiris, played by Game of Thrones hunk and Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau finds himself at the centre of a bitter family feud between his father, Osiris played by Australian actor Bryan Brown (Australia, Gorillas in the Mist) and his evil brother Set, the God of Darkness, wonderfully played with just the right dash of malevolence by Gerard Butler (Olympus has Fallen, 300).

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There is inevitably a spectacular clash of the Gods witnessed by the mere mortals, ancient Egypt is plunged into slavery and servitude and one mortal, the brave and ambitious Bek played by the young actor Brenton Thwaites (The Giver) befriends Horus after he assists the blighted God with his eyesight. The malicious Set blinded Horus and plucked out his eyes, hiding one in the cavernous centre of a pyramid.

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Horus and Bek embark on a journey of revenge and aim to overthrow the almighty Set whilst, even appealing to the supreme deity Ra, the Egyptian Sun God, lavishly played by Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech). British actor Rufus Sewell makes a brief appearance as Egyptian obelisk builder Urshu who serves as Set’s henchman. Audiences should also watch out for Chadwick Boseman in a rather camp portrayal as Thoth, the vain God of wisdom.

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In the meantime, Bek has to save his love, the ravishing Zaya played by Courtney Eaton (Mad Max: Fury Road), from plunging eternally into the seven circles of the Egyptian underworld after she is mortally wounded. Set has his own plans of upsetting the underworld’s delicate balance and plunging both mortals and Egyptian Gods into abysmal chaos.

If this all sounds a bit much, it probably is. This is Egyptian Escapism at its best. Whilst the cast do a fair good job of bringing the glamorous CGI laden adventure story up to a believable level of interest, the plot falters as much as the landscape and pure escapism does not quite hold up so well.

Unlike Star Wars: The Force Awakens which already has a cult following and is pure Sci-Fi, Gods of Egypt is in the precarious realm of fantasy, and unfortunately the cast are not mainstream enough to sustain the believability of the plot.

Whilst the costumes and production design would appeal to any budding Egyptologist, Gods of Egypt does not elevate itself as a fascinating mythical adventure but more as an escapist adventure story. While Gods of Egypt is fun to watch, it is recommended viewing for those that enjoyed Clash of the Titans, Hercules and Tarsem Singh’s The Immortals, but unfortunately not as good.

 

 

 

 

A Sense of Not Knowing

Knowing

Knowing, Alex Proyas’s new film is a genre confused cinematic venture nothing like his superbly focused I, Robot the futuristic thriller with Will Smith battling an individual robot seeking to retain his electronic individuality.

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Knowing starts off promising but literally gets lots in the woods as a frantic Nicolas Cage gets caught up in a script which is genre-hopping between Deep Impact, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Hide and Seek. Besides the storyline which counterpoints between sci-fi, horror and disaster film and leaves the audience wondering whether the great concept of a time capsule should have rather been opened by a more competent group of screenwriters. Nicolas Cage and Rose Byrne stumble through a thinly developed storyline with minimal dialogue only to allow the child actors to steal what credibility the film has with an unusual tenacity

While some fantastic moments abound, Knowing lacks the originality and clear vision of I, Robot and similar popular sci-fi films like Minority Report and Blade Runner. Alex Proyas should know better especially with the vast repertoire of brilliant sci-fi/disaster films that he could have drawn on as a conceptual frame and maybe using one scriptwriter is always a knowingly safe bet.

What is Knowing really about? Leave it to the viewer to decide…

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