I attended Gods of Egypt last night, just because I could, and because it looked so bad. And it was. It was so awful, I sat there the entire time wondering “why?” and “how?” This makes no sense! So afterwards I figured it out: the full history and lore that led to the investment of millions of dollars in this movie.
We have to go far back into the misty depths of time to witness the beginnings of Egyptian mythology. We have to go back to 1976.
Scene: A suburban rambler. Mom and Dad are off somewhere, doing stuff, so the Group has the house to themselves for a weekend of weed and the game. The dudes are enthused, they’ve just got their hands on a copy of Gods, Demigods, & Heroes, the latest D&D supplement, and are sitting around the kitchen table.
DM Dude: Dudes! Look what I’ve got! We’ve got to put together a new campaign with all the bitchin’ stuff in this manual!
Dude 1: Awesome!
Dude 2: <in that awkward croak when you’ve just taken a deep toke and are trying to hold it in while talking> Cool. <wheeze>
Dude 3 is on the couch with his girlfriend. Raises hand with his thumb up. He’s busy.
DM Dude: It’s got all the information we need — this is an in-depth survey of all of mythology. We’re going to be learning shit while we play! We can tell our parents we’re doing homework when we’re gaming!
Dude 1: I want cool loot. I want a lance that shoots fire.
DM Dude: We can do that…but it’ll be so awesome that you’ll have to fight a god to get it. Let’s see…first section is about…Egyptian gods! Cool! Let’s do it!
Dude 2: <bong gurgles>
Dude 3: <head pops up from the couch> Hey, can I bring my half-elf thief?
Time passes. Dude 1 gets a degree in marketing. He’s in a planning meeting with his bros.
Dude 1: Guys, we’ve got to get ahead of the curve, we’ve got to come up with the hot new thing that will make us buckets of cash. We need to invest in a movie.
Bro 2: A detective movie? They’re hot now.
Dude 1: Too hot. Everyone is making them now. We need to stand out.
Bro 3: Cowboys?
Dude 1: Played out.
Bro 4: <snorts up a line of coke> I got it. Sword & Sandal epic. So old it’s new again. And we set it in Egypt, ’cause it’s exotic.
Dude 1: Lot of Jews in the movie industry, they aren’t going to like a movie set in a country that isn’t Palestine.
Bro 4: It’s OK, we make sure that not a single cast member looks at all Semitic. Like, what’s their name, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.
Bro 3: Wait, isn’t Egypt in like, Africa? Will we have to cast black people?
Dude 1: Nah, Egypt is like the non-black part of Africa. We just cast guys with good tans. It’ll work.
Bro 3: Until those PC assholes come after us. There’s got to be one black guy, at least.
Bro 4: And we’ll make him the really smart one! And kind of nerdy! Then they won’t be able to accuse us of being racist!
Dude 1: Yeah, everyone loves an Urkel!
Dude 2 gets a computer science degree. He owns a media company. He’s shooting the breeze with his tech pals in an air-conditioned office overlooking his server farm.
Dude 2: Saw Nebraska last night. It sucked.
Techie 1: I wouldn’t waste time with that crap.
Dude 2: It was just people, acting and shit. None of the magic of movies.
Techie 2: Not even an explosion?
Dude 2: Nope. No special effects anywhere. No CGI at all.
<All the techies look at him in confusion> Why did you go?
Dude 2: I was hoping to meet girls.
Dude 3 gets a…well, nobody knows what he got a degree in, or even if he got one. He’s confident and charismatic though, and he seems to have become some sort of high-powered executive at a board meeting with a bunch of suits. Somehow, he only speaks in bullet points.
Dude 3: Gentlemen, I want you to look at the hottest entertainment properties of this decade.
• Transformers: Michael has done amazing things with this franchise, and it’s bringing in mega millions of dollars.
• 300: Cheap! Cast of thousands, all in a computer. Exotic locations, ditto. And it made millions, and was meme-tastic.
• Game of Thrones: Spectacle! Books! DVD sales! Makes millions.
You know what that says to me?
<Suits look at him expectantly>
Dude 3: • SYNERGY! We take those three things, and we mash them all together, and we’ve got a sure-fire no-fail guaranteed win-win scenario! And I’m going to tie them all together with a pretty bow in a package called something about • EGYPT. • Exotic! • Oriental! • Sexy!
Suit 1: Brilliant!
Suit 2: That just sings “creative”!
Dude 3: Can we get • MICHAEL BAY?
Suit 2: Nope. He’s tied up in some other movie about explosions.
Suit 3: Alex Proyas is available, and he was born in Egypt…
Dude 3: OH MY GOD! • SYNERGY! Lock him in!
Can we get anyone from 300?
Suit 2: Gerard Butler, maybe? He’s got that weird Scottish accent though…
Dude 3: • EXOTIC! He’s a go, grab him. If he can pass for Spartan…and hey, Greece is kinda close to Egypt, right? Sorta dark-complected?
Now what about Game of Thrones? Peter Dinklage available?
Suit 3: Probably not. He’s also very…short.
Dude 3: Yeah, I’ve got this • HEROIC VISION, and he doesn’t fit. Also, I don’t think there were dwarfs in Egypt, were there? • NOT SYNERGISTIC.
What about that other guy, tall handsome white man with the hyphenated name I can never remember?
Suit 1: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau?
Dude 3: • EXOTIC! But comfortably European. HIRE HIM!
Suit 2: We need some actresses…
Dude 3: • WHATEVER. Put out a casting call. Make sure to mention • HOT CLIMATE and • REVEALING CLOTHING.
Dude 3: OH MY GOD. I just had lightning strike my brain. I have these old friends from high school with exactly the talents we need, and one of them was like this history dude who read whole books on Egyptian mythology.
And that is exactly how Gods of Egypt came to be. I know, because I put as much careful research and attention to detail in this history as the creators of the movie put into their work.