Gods of Egypt - Clash of the ... White Men?

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Gods of Egypt - Clash of the ... White Men?

Gods of Egypt is a train wreck, but it's an unintentionally funny one.

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Ugh, all my friends know how much I dig mythology, lore, folk tales and the like, to the extent of doing my master's thesis on them, so I just know they're going to drag me to see this so they can ask me how true to source it was and watch my eyes roll right out of my head

My work colleagues are planing to go and watch that movie. I can't decide between telling them to read this review or don't tell them anything and ask for their opinions the day after.

The sound of Kevin Bacon sipping that same bloody cup with that same bloody slurp for each page is really starting to rustle my savilles. Anymoo, stolen eyes?? As in, they are still expecting them to be returned in working order?? In Egypt??! What level of madness is this?! Get the ice!!

The Trailer makes me think of God of War but set in Egypt, except without any of the set pieces that made God of War actually work as spectacle and without a tragic plot that made GoW's main character.....well, not as unlikable as he later became.

Re: whitewashing

. This is disappointing considering the place and time period in which it is set. Both the studio and director have apologized for this - and, to be fair, many of the extras are of different races. And it's about as historically accurate as any fantasy movie, so there's that, too.

There's only one relevant word in all of that, 'fantasy'.

There's plenty of fantasy movies that try to mix some fantastical material into a historical context and in those movies maybe it's relevant to complain about the locale and time period. This isn't one of them.

This movie was less 'Egypt if gods were real', and more 'what if an entire world completely unrelated to our own thematically resembled Egypt and was created and ruled by Egyptian Gods'. I mean, come on, the planet itself is a giant disc floating in space, it's more sci-fi construct than Earth.

Now don't get me wrong, the movie does kind of suck and I'm all for having some more diversity in casts. I'm just saying, if you're going to use the place and time period as an argument, pick your battles. This isn't a case of waving away the issues because the film isn't 'historically accurate', it's not even history. Both the place and time are completely made up using a popularized mythology as it's base, that's it.

tldr; Not Egypt, not even semi-historical nor does it claim to be, Egyptian-looking actors would have been no more appropriate than brits, koreans or martians.

Edit: And to follow up, Hollywood has a white problem, not a whitewashing problem. There is nothing wrong with casting your own nations demographic for any damn role. Bollywood casts are Indian, Asian movies star Asians. That's how it is. That said, the US demographic is more than just white, the obvious example being a minimum of black leading roles.

So.. Work on that, get more blacks, more Latinos maybe. But Egyptian looking people in an Egypt themed movie? Not relevant. Even a movie representing an actual historic Egypt need not bother.

You know of the three Egyptians I've known well in my life (1 teacher, 2 friends) only one of them was something other then what one would call "white" given how they look. And I'm not talking about a situation like Rami Malek being called white despite being of Egyptian ancestry, I'm talking "would sooner think they're from Italy or the Balkans" white.

That's not to say all Egyptians look white, far from it, but like the Levant there are many people who one would call white who are from there due to three thousand years of migration into the region by people from North African, Arabia and Europe.

Though like Jadak stated this isn't really a historical depiction of Egypt in any way.

Yeah looking at this movie it just felt like it was going to be another John Carter, Green Lantern or Exodus: Gods and Kings. just a mindless boring action movie with so much CGI it looks like a bad Pixar movie. Honestly a lot of these films feel like they need to be way more self-aware and stupid to be enjoyable because there's only so much shit you can throw at the screen before people get desensitized and board.

Also to the people complaining about whitewashing, at least they won't bring up this movie when they talk about how casting people of different races would be unprofitable when the movie inevitably bombs.

Dalisclock:
The Trailer makes me think of God of War but set in Egypt, except without any of the set pieces that made God of War actually work as spectacle and without a tragic plot that made GoW's main character.....well, not as unlikable as he later became.

You're not far off, it's basically Egyptian Clash of the Titans, which was already very God of Warish (especially the remake)

And they got the mythology wrong right off the bat; Set is Osiris' brother, not Horus'. It's like they weren't even trying!

undeadsuitor:

Dalisclock:
The Trailer makes me think of God of War but set in Egypt, except without any of the set pieces that made God of War actually work as spectacle and without a tragic plot that made GoW's main character.....well, not as unlikable as he later became.

You're not far off, it's basically Egyptian Clash of the Titans, which was already very God of Warish (especially the remake)

Yeah, honestly, when I first saw the trailers, all I could think was "This looks like a cheaper-looking version of Clash of the Titans".

Good to know I wasn't the only one, haha.

Jadak:
Re: whitewashing

. This is disappointing considering the place and time period in which it is set. Both the studio and director have apologized for this - and, to be fair, many of the extras are of different races. And it's about as historically accurate as any fantasy movie, so there's that, too.

There's only one relevant in all of that, 'fantasy'.

There's plenty of fantasy movies that try to mix some fantastical material into a historical context and in those movies maybe it's relevant to complain about the locale and time period. This isn't one of them.

This movie was less 'Egypt if gods were real', and more 'what if an entire world completely unrelated to our own thematically resembled Egypt and was created and ruled by Egyptian Gods'. I mean, come on, the planet itself is a giant disc floating in space, it's more sci-fi construct than Earth.

Now don't get me wrong, the movie does kind of suck and I'm all for having some more diversity in casts. I'm just saying, if you're going to use the place and time period as an argument, pick your battles. This isn't a case of waving away the issues because the film isn't 'historically accurate', it's not even history. Both the place and time are completely made up using a popularized mythology as it's base, that's it.

tldr; Not Egypt, not even semi-historical nor does it claim to be, Egyptian-looking actors would have been no more appropriate than brits, koreans or martians.

I...yeah, this.

No further need for commentary, really. Nailed my issue with this "problematic" element almost immediately.

Good show, sir/madam.

tf2godz:
Exodus: Gods and Kings.

It is bad that I thought this movie and that movie were the exact same? Who would have thunk Egyptian Mythology would be such a popular movie setting?

Jadak:
Re: whitewashing

. This is disappointing considering the place and time period in which it is set. Both the studio and director have apologized for this - and, to be fair, many of the extras are of different races. And it's about as historically accurate as any fantasy movie, so there's that, too.

There's only one relevant in all of that, 'fantasy'.

There's plenty of fantasy movies that try to mix some fantastical material into a historical context and in those movies maybe it's relevant to complain about the locale and time period. This isn't one of them.

This movie was less 'Egypt if gods were real', and more 'what if an entire world completely unrelated to our own thematically resembled Egypt and was created and ruled by Egyptian Gods'. I mean, come on, the planet itself is a giant disc floating in space, it's more sci-fi construct than Earth.

Now don't get me wrong, the movie does kind of suck and I'm all for having some more diversity in casts. I'm just saying, if you're going to use the place and time period as an argument, pick your battles. This isn't a case of waving away the issues because the film isn't 'historically accurate', it's not even history. Both the place and time are completely made up using a popularized mythology as it's base, that's it.

tldr; Not Egypt, not even semi-historical nor does it claim to be, Egyptian-looking actors would have been no more appropriate than brits, koreans or martians.

Exactly.

It's a fantasy. A thought experiment. A "what if".

Yes, a movie about Egypt should be cast by people who (if not Egyptian) at least look like they're from the region, but when the movie is essentially just fantasy (say, what if the universe was like in Halo, but the aesthetics had a "Egyptian" feel) then no, it shouldn't have any other demographic than what the writer had envisioned.

Dalisclock:
The Trailer makes me think of God of War but set in Egypt, except without any of the set pieces that made God of War actually work as spectacle and without a tragic plot that made GoW's main character.....well, not as unlikable as he later became.

I actually thought it's what Stargate would be if the Goa'uld weren't lying about being Gods. Also Osiris was played by an Australian, huh.

Zontar:
You know of the three Egyptians I've known well in my life (1 teacher, 2 friends) only one of them was something other then what one would call "white" given how they look. And I'm not talking about a situation like Rami Malek being called white despite being of Egyptian ancestry, I'm talking "would sooner think they're from Italy or the Balkans" white.

That's not to say all Egyptians look white, far from it, but like the Levant there are many people who one would call white who are from there due to three thousand years of migration into the region by people from North African, Arabia and Europe.

Though like Jadak stated this isn't really a historical depiction of Egypt in any way.

There's been a lot of ethnic intermingling over the years, especially with the various Arab and Mediterranean cultures due to where Egypt sits geographically (traditionally a super important location for trade to pass between Africa and the Middle-East). Both Arabs and Mediterraneans are considered Caucasian, or a very close offshoot thereof, so yeah. If an Egyptian has a lot of Arab or Mediterranean ancestry, it's very likely they would look pretty "white" by most standards.

As for historical Egyptians, that's a much more contentious debate. What we think of as ancient Egypt was so, so very long ago (the pyramids were as old to the Romans when they discovered them as the Romans are to us now, to try and give some context), and existed for a very long time across several broad eras. There isn't really a current consensus as to whether the ancient Egyptians were of indigenous African origin (black), or if they originated in the middle-east and moved into what is now Egypt (making them more Arab/Caucasian), or if they were some mix in-between. There's a bit of a political angle to it as well, with groups from both sides wanting to claim the ancient Egyptians as 'theirs' too.

Much like who the hell the Sea People were (all we know is they appeared without warning and wrecked a bunch of peoples' shit), it's super difficult to know what the ancient Egyptians actually looked like. There's just been such a huge passage of time between us and them.

MrFalconfly:

Exactly.

It's a fantasy. A thought experiment. A "what if".

"What if Egyptians were white?" That sounds like a fantasy that has already been done to death.

Generally if you're going to use a setting, your changes should be somewhat deliberate. "What if in ancient Egypt the gods walked among the mortals?" is a cool premise and you could definitely do some interesting stuff with that, bringing mythology to life. Or maybe you want to have something deviate from historical accuracy because it allows for a more compelling story. That's also fine, you're making the movie better.

I'm not sure "It's fantasy, they don't have to be at all representative of reality" really works in an argument. Sure it's fantasy, but people would probably be complaining if at the end of the movie someone decided to walk on air and it was never given any explanation or setup. A fantasy setting doesn't give you license to ignore reality carte blanche, it just gives you the freedom to when doing so makes the setting more interesting.

Hell, I don't hear the same argument coming up in Lord of the Rings when people comment about how white everyone is in it. The response is always "It's a setting based on medieval England, it'd be weird if there were black people". I suppose it just isn't weird when we do it with Egypt because we're used to seeing the rest of the world depicted as white

Egyptian history is a bit of a political football, with Israeli politicians laying claim to the pyramids, black people claiming White people defaced the sphinx(it was a Muslim iconoclast), and race of ancient Egypt is an awful topic, totally politicised. Afro-centrists want to believe they were identical to sub-Saharan tribes, essentially being 'Black'. We know that Egypt was ruled by a Greek dynasty, making Cleopatra largely Greek in ancestry, but the original people are likely dissimilar to White or Black as we know it.

The Almighty Aardvark:

MrFalconfly:

Exactly.

It's a fantasy. A thought experiment. A "what if".

"What if Egyptians were white?" That sounds like a fantasy that has already been done to death.

Generally if you're going to use a setting, your changes should be somewhat deliberate. "What if in ancient Egypt the gods walked among the mortals?" is a cool premise and you could definitely do some interesting stuff with that, bringing mythology to life. Or maybe you want to have something deviate from historical accuracy because it allows for a more compelling story. That's also fine, you're making the movie better.

I'm not sure "It's fantasy, they don't have to be at all representative of reality" really works in an argument. Sure it's fantasy, but people would probably be complaining if at the end of the movie someone decided to walk on air and it was never given any explanation or setup. A fantasy setting doesn't give you license to ignore reality carte blanche, it just gives you the freedom to when doing so makes the setting more interesting.

Hell, I don't hear the same argument coming up in Lord of the Rings when people comment about how white everyone is in it. The response is always "It's a setting based on medieval England, it'd be weird if there were black people". I suppose it just isn't weird when we do it with Egypt because we're used to seeing the rest of the world depicted as white

I've haven't really heard that response at all. I've heard people use medieval European influences as an explanation for why it was originally written that way (although, I'm not really sure if the precise ethnic make up of the entirety of Middle Earth is ever explicitly given), but the argument given for why it would be strange for black people to be there is usually that changing the ethnicity in adaptions would contradict established lore.
Sure, if someone suddenly had magical powers without explanation that would come across as bad writing, since clashes with reality usually need to be explained, but when creating a fictional world you don't need to explain or justify the ethnic make up of this non-existent world. Unless the specific climate seemed to conflict with the people's skin tones then "reality" has no bearing here, since it's a fictional world.

Fantasy does give you a license to ignore reality as long as you explain the elements the require an explanation.

Weeeelll.... There's a historical precedent for Ancient Egypt to have contained more than a few "white" faces. DNA tests have shown that modern inhabitants of the region aren't genetically related to the mummies we've dug up. According to some Greek scholars, Ramses more than likely had blond hair!

Now, as to whether this is "dark hair bleached by constant exposure to sunlight" blond or natural blond? That's something else entirely. Plus, considering how the local gene pool had gotten a lot more diverse by the time Cleopatra took the throne (she being of Greek descent), I don't find that all too surprising.

Honestly, I'd only really be bothered if the casting involved putting real Middle-Eastern types in unflattering positions. I know political correctness would have us assume that a movie centered around the Egyptian pantheon should be staffed mostly with people of appropriate heritage, but I doubt anyone woke up and went "Hey, let's make a movie to piss off the PC crowd - a Fantasy actioner with White folks instead of POC standing in for mythological figures!"

Business being business, the studio probably went for the most high-profile names available within its budget bracket, all races considered.

Pallindromemordnillap:
Ugh, all my friends know how much I dig mythology, lore, folk tales and the like, to the extent of doing my master's thesis on them, so I just know they're going to drag me to see this so they can ask me how true to source it was and watch my eyes roll right out of my head

Don't worry, I shall find one for you, and then we will go on a grand adventure together.

Holy cow, I was unaware that this movie was directed by the same guy who directed "The Crow" and "Dark City" (Alex Proyas).

How the mighty have fallen.

The Almighty Aardvark:

MrFalconfly:

Exactly.

It's a fantasy. A thought experiment. A "what if".

"What if Egyptians were white?" That sounds like a fantasy that has already been done to death.

Generally if you're going to use a setting, your changes should be somewhat deliberate. "What if in ancient Egypt the gods walked among the mortals?" is a cool premise and you could definitely do some interesting stuff with that, bringing mythology to life. Or maybe you want to have something deviate from historical accuracy because it allows for a more compelling story. That's also fine, you're making the movie better.

I'm not sure "It's fantasy, they don't have to be at all representative of reality" really works in an argument. Sure it's fantasy, but people would probably be complaining if at the end of the movie someone decided to walk on air and it was never given any explanation or setup. A fantasy setting doesn't give you license to ignore reality carte blanche, it just gives you the freedom to when doing so makes the setting more interesting.

Hell, I don't hear the same argument coming up in Lord of the Rings when people comment about how white everyone is in it. The response is always "It's a setting based on medieval England, it'd be weird if there were black people". I suppose it just isn't weird when we do it with Egypt because we're used to seeing the rest of the world depicted as white

Point being, it's a fantasy.

It needs no other justification than "that's what the director wants".

Up until about a week ago I thought this was the same th-

Elfgore:

tf2godz:
Exodus: Gods and Kings.

It is bad that I thought this movie and that movie were the exact same? Who would have thunk Egyptian Mythology would be such a popular movie setting?

Ninja'd... by a day. I'm a slow ninja, alright? But yeah, historical Egypt with mythic elements introduced is suddenly popular. I think this is the result of the supernatural teen dramas cropping up and being mildly popular.

Jadak:
Re: whitewashing

. This is disappointing considering the place and time period in which it is set. Both the studio and director have apologized for this - and, to be fair, many of the extras are of different races. And it's about as historically accurate as any fantasy movie, so there's that, too.

There's only one relevant word in all of that, 'fantasy'.

No, its fantasy introduced into a real-world setting. This isn't some fictional land that goes by the same name because laziness, its historical Egypt with some addition elements added atop of it. If we had a regular old alien invasion movie, a fantasy scenario, set in the modern world you couldn't really change the history of the world. You're not going to be able to turn Turkey into the world's greatest superpower that has existed as such for four centuries and have 90% of the world's population be Jewish without turning some heads if your new movie is Die Hard But On A Seaplane. If you want to make a world like that, go ahead, but you have to make it distinct and different. You can have dragons flying around at D-Day, killing Nazis for their gold if you really want but the sudden introduction of fantasy elements doesn't override the historical setting and if you try to you're going to end up asking a lot of questions because the world in which the film takes place is non-sensical. You can do whatever you want in Tamriel or Middle-Earth, they don't even have to abide by the same laws of physics as the real world or they could mirror the real-world in a lot of ways, but if you're going to use a historical setting you have to have some historical accuracy and when its inaccurate you have to have a credulous, in-universe reason for why its historically inaccurate. Hell, even Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer tried to maintain that.

Likewise, if you use a historical setting and then introduce fictional elements you have to let history continue as it happens in reality when those elements don't effect anything. Alternate timelines will continue to the same capacity if/until the fictional elements finally touch upon it. If one nature survivalist in Alaska who never interacted with somebody dies in an alternate timeline whereas he'd live for another twenty years and make no meaningful impact upon others or the environment around him it isn't going to cause a massive shift in the foreign policy of Vietnam. Unless specified otherwise the history of the rest of world will continue as it normally does.

MarsAtlas:

No, its fantasy introduced into a real-world setting. This isn't some fictional land that goes by the same name because laziness, its historical Egypt with some addition elements added atop of it.

I haven't seen the movie, but didn't someone point out that not only does it not take place in historical Egypt, it doesn't even take place on planet earth? It's some sort of weird flat floating spaceship?

Ihateregistering1:

MarsAtlas:

No, its fantasy introduced into a real-world setting. This isn't some fictional land that goes by the same name because laziness, its historical Egypt with some addition elements added atop of it.

I haven't seen the movie, but didn't someone point out that not only does it not take place in historical Egypt, it doesn't even take place on planet earth? It's some sort of weird flat floating spaceship?

No, its pretty clearly Egypt. I mean, its right in the title, "Egypt", and its obviously aping real-world Egyptian mythology. Additionally, while I haven't been able to verify it 100% but everything I read indicates that this isn't a fake Egypt like how Fire Emblem often takes place in fake Europe, but is in fact Egypt plus mythic elements. Again, that could be wrong but I haven't seen anything indicating otherwise.

MarsAtlas:

Except this isn't historical Egypt with some fantasy elements added on top (which is what the rest of my post was talking about which you ignored for the sake of responding to the first line, but that's fine).

It's a completely made up environment using Egyptian mythology as it's theme. It doesn't take place during a real time period nor is set in Egypt (nor Earth for that matter). It's set in a god fabricated disc-world referred to in it's entirety as Egypt.

No, its fantasy introduced into a real-world setting. This isn't some fictional land that goes by the same name because laziness, its historical Egypt with some addition elements added atop of it.

Or in other words, yes it is and no it isn't. This is absolutely not Egypt. They wanted a story about the Egyptian gods and related theme and the only connections to real Egypt are simply for the sake of matching that theme.

Saw the movie last night, not as bad as you'd think.

Better than Transformers at any rate.

Jadak:
Except this isn't historical Egypt with some fantasy elements added on top (which is what the rest of my post was talking about which you ignored for the sake of responding to the first line, but that's fine).

Well I did read it and then went to Google, searching key phrases you used and couldn't actually find anything supporting that. My Google-fu must've failed me, granted, it didn't strike me until just now that it might be mentioned in the beginning of the script. If its a fake, made-up world taking some inspiration from the real-world but is overwhelmingly fantastical then I don't really have any fundamental opposition to it moreso than I would a fake, made up world where babies actually do come from a stork with a TV show that is named Maury Pauvich.

MarsAtlas:

Ihateregistering1:

MarsAtlas:

No, its fantasy introduced into a real-world setting. This isn't some fictional land that goes by the same name because laziness, its historical Egypt with some addition elements added atop of it.

I haven't seen the movie, but didn't someone point out that not only does it not take place in historical Egypt, it doesn't even take place on planet earth? It's some sort of weird flat floating spaceship?

No, its pretty clearly Egypt. I mean, its right in the title, "Egypt", and its obviously aping real-world Egyptian mythology. Additionally, while I haven't been able to verify it 100% but everything I read indicates that this isn't a fake Egypt like how Fire Emblem often takes place in fake Europe, but is in fact Egypt plus mythic elements. Again, that could be wrong but I haven't seen anything indicating otherwise.

Quote from the director that I found:
"...the world of Gods of Egypt never really existed. It is inspired by Egyptian mythology, but it makes no attempt at historical accuracy because that would be pointless, none of the events in the movie ever really happened. It is about as reality-based as Star Wars, which is not real at all ...Maybe one day if I get to make further chapters I will reveal the context of the when and where of the story. But one thing is for sure: it is not set in Ancient Egypt at all." -Alex Proyas

Again, having not seen the movie, I'd say it's based in Egyptian mythology in sort of the same way 'Too Human' was based around Norse Mythology (and from the sounds of things they are about the same quality). So essentially they just took cool ideas (ie. ancient mythologies) and spliced them into fantasy/sci-fi settings.

This just made me realise that the new Assassin's Creed (movie?) which has been rumored to be set in Ancient Egypt is going to bring lovely discussions.

I really wish someone would just make an accurate historical drama/war film about ancient Egypt. Well, as accurate as you can be while keeping it rated R, at least. The western obsession with mythologizing and mystifying a very real civilization that was not a land of magic smacks more of an annoying and understated kind of racism than the more obvious racism of whitewashing.

I think it's fine if done occasionally, King Arthur myths exist as a very divergent and fantastical retelling of something that may have happened, but there are many movies and stories about old Britannia that do not involve magic. The same can't be said for the ancient Egyptians or Persians or other non-European ancient civilizations. Hell, do something about Byzantines, give me anything other than more Hellenistic Greeks and Romans!

All I will say is that we're getting a double dose of Gerard Butler.
This week in Gods of Egypt, next week in London Has Fallen.
Also, he's got another 2 movies scheduled for this year.
Dude is keeping himself busy.

The Retroriffic Man:
This just made me realise that the new Assassin's Creed (movie?) which has been rumored to be set in Ancient Egypt is going to bring lovely discussions.

It is? I honestly didn't even know that.

The fools!!! What are they thinking!?!?!

IamLEAM1983:
Weeeelll.... There's a historical precedent for Ancient Egypt to have contained more than a few "white" faces. DNA tests have shown that modern inhabitants of the region aren't genetically related to the mummies we've dug up. According to some Greek scholars, Ramses more than likely had blond hair!

Now, as to whether this is "dark hair bleached by constant exposure to sunlight" blond or natural blond? That's something else entirely. Plus, considering how the local gene pool had gotten a lot more diverse by the time Cleopatra took the throne (she being of Greek descent), I don't find that all too surprising.

Who cares? There's no reason the actors should be egyptian or have the same complexion. They're acting.

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