Not very long ago, as part of my Alternative Mythologies series, I talked about how Egyptian lore was actually a fairly good resource to be used for the fantasy genre. Lo and behold, not long after I posted it, there were suddenly multiple projects being set in Egypt and a lot of them turned out to be… horrible. A lot of reasons have been suggested over time but what I’ve started to realize is that there’s a reason overlooked heavily by most people because most people just don’t know the source material very well. By knowing the source material, you start to realize that people aren’t catching the real reason why these projects suck, and the most recent attempt really drove it home for me.
Gods of Egypt, to almost no one’s surprise, turned out to be a critical failure and a box office bomb. The trailers were poorly received, the promotional material was left wanting, the casting drew criticism from almost square one, and nothing they really did from then on out really made it any better. In the several months since this movie’s promotion started I have yet to see a single positive article about the thing. But even there, I don’t think any of them actually noticed the reason why this thing was doomed to fail.
Most people quickly jumped on the skin-tone of the actors (and quite rightly, given the majority of the cast looked more pseudo-Greek than anything). But I’ve already covered the white washing of Egypt in the past and the fact that Egyptians could have, in part, featured a diverse range of skin-tones (…though clearly not the North European ones that apparently dominate casting calls). Others jumped on the fact that it didn’t seem to fit the mythology, what with Ra having a ship in space that flew over the planet during the daytime. Just, one problem for those guys, Ra totally did.
So while these are valid concerns to be had, they weren’t the thing that immediately jumped out at me as the reason this thing was doomed from the start. No, the thing that jumped out at me and started to make me really question whether I was right to recommend Horus’ story as a great source of fantasy adaptations, was the fact that I came to realize that this:
Was pretty much built on the same model as this:
And that’s kind of the root of all their problems…