Gods of Egypt

Rated: PG-13

        Long before I actually saw the first trailers for this film, I heard about the controversy. Back in November, 2015, when first the theatrical poster and then the trailers for the film were released, the uproar over “Hollywood white-washing” began. People, mostly through Twitter, expressed their outrage that a film that is set in ancient Egypt had Australian, Swedish, English, and French actors in the lead roles, while excluding actual Egyptians and people of color.
         When confronted with the same sort of controversy when his film
Exodus: Gods and Kings came out in 2014, director Ridley Scott is quoted as saying, “I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such. I’m just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn’t even come up.” Scott said. Needless to say, that answer to the lack of diversity issue didn’t win him any fans.
        Lionsgate, the production company behind
Gods of Egypt, and the film’s director, Alex Proyas, wanted to escape Scott’s fate and the backlash that ensued. In November, when the controversy began, and three months before the film even opened, both Lionsgate and Proyas issued apologies. Lionsgate is quoted as saying, “We recognize that it is our responsibility to help ensure that casting decisions reflect the diversity and culture of the time periods portrayed. In this instance we failed to live up to our own standards of sensitivity and diversity, for which we sincerely apologize. Lionsgate is deeply committed to making films that reflect the diversity of our audiences. We have, can and will continue to do better.”
        Proyas issued the following statement, “The process of casting a movie has many complicated variables, but it is clear that our casting choices should have been more diverse. I sincerely apologize to those who are offended by the decisions we made,” he said.

        Shortly thereafter he defended his casting decisions, saying that the film is fantasy, and not meant to be historically accurate. Proyas stated, “I attempted to show racial diversity, black, white, Asian, as far as I was allowed, as far as I could, given the limitations I was given. It is obviously clear that for things to change, for casting in movies to become more diverse, many forces must align. Not just the creative. To those who are offended by the decisions which were made, I have already apologized. I respect their opinion, but I hope the context of the decisions is a little clearer based on my statements here,” he said.

        So, the question now is: Was all of the controversy worth it? I say no. The
Gods of Egypt trailers made it look like the film would be an epic cinematic marvel. Instead it was a flop. The story line and characters were weak at best, and no amount of CGI could fix everything that was inherently wrong with the film. I’m not sure that casting changes would’ve made anything better either. When there’s not much to work with there’s only so much the actors can do. While the film is still in some theaters, if I were you, I’d save my money until something better comes along!

Gods of Egypt is rated PG-13, was directed by Alex Proyas and stars Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Courtney Eaton and Brenton Thwaites. It is currently in theaters.