So once again we have survived.

Gods of Egypt

tn_godsofegyptAlex Proyas’s new fantasy GODS OF EGYPT debuted at the top of the box office this week, ahead of ZOOTOPIA and DEADPOOL. Only in Russia, though. Here it’s a disastrous flop with merciless reviews.

Honestly this movie was dead the second they released a trailer. I don’t think I ever once saw it discussed in any context other than a criticism of “whitewashing,” since its lead Egyptian gods are played by white Europeans. Obviously a poor choice. Otherwise my take on the trailer was different from the conventional wisdom. I say appealingly weird, you say hahaha razzies haha sobaditsgood howdidthisgetmade haha.

Reading the headlines of the savage reviews, and seeing the weird stills accompanying them, pushed me to not miss it in the theater. At the multiplex here it opened with only two 3D screenings and two 2D each day. By comparison a nearby theater has three each of Stephen Chou’s THE MERMAID, for which Sony has been criticized for having too small of a release. (Sorry, I didn’t see that. I’m an asshole.)

The main thing here is that it’s Alex Proyas. I wasn’t gonna get my hopes up, but I didn’t trust the responses of normal people on a movie by him. Those guys said KNOWING was terrible too, for many of the same reasons I enjoyed it. In fact, his movies wouldn’t be as fun if they didn’t put some people off. They have a little bit of that “how did he get away with this?” appeal.

The good news is GODS OF EGYPT is not as bad as they said. The bad news is it’s not as crazy I’d hoped.

It’s got its moments though. Basically a CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010) using Egyptian mythology instead of Greek, it has plenty of distinct imagery. Its gods bleed molten gold and can transform themselves into metallic flying beasts at will. When their wings or organs are severed (which happens more than once) they turn into jewels. There’s a chariot that flies by being tied to flocks of birds. There’s a golden cruise ship in space from which the sun god Ra (Geoffrey Rush) perpetually battles a giant toothy demon worm (one of the cooler looking monsters in the movie). In maybe the best action scene the heroes are chased across a stone labyrinth by two women (one of them The Dag from FURY ROAD) riding giant fire-breathing cobras that look like Gamera.

The most novel thing about the movie is that the gods are giants, like about N’avi height. So its like a reverse LORD OF THE RINGS, a bunch of the actors are made to seem big instead of small. When we first meet the hero Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, MAMA) he’s lounging in a swimming people being massaged by women who are smaller than him, and it looks bizarre. And the other hero is Bek (Brenton Thwaites), who’s a human, so it sort of ends up being a buddy movie between a god and a mortal, a big guy and a regular sized guy. That’s cool, but unfortunately Horus never does something funny like keep the little guy in a backpack or hold him by the top of the head like he’s palming a basketball. And plus everybody knows that buddy teams gotta be two different races for visual and cultural contrast. It just seems wrong with two white dudes.

mp_godsofegyptThat brings us back to that casting thing, which I do think is the movie’s biggest problem. Even setting aside issues of fairness in opportunities for non-white actors, or some idea of realism about what ancient Egyptians looked like, it’s a bad idea because all of these actors could’ve been in any of the normal fantasy movies. The whole reason to make this movie is to put a different texture on the sword and sorcery style, so why have a cast indistinguishable from the ones in the TITANS movies, plus one guy who already starred in 300? At the very least it’s a missed opportunity.

But actually maybe it’s on purpose. We all know Proyas is Australian, but did you know he was born in Egypt? His parents were Egyptiotes, Greek Egyptians. So maybe he wanted Egyptian gods to look like Greek ones. Sonofabitch.

It’s a little different than you might think though. It’s not just a white cast symbolically representing Egyptians. The gods are played by actors of various ethnicities (including African-American Chadwick Boseman as Thoth and French-Cambodian Elodie Yung as Hathor), but Coster-Waldau, Rush, Gerard Butler and Bryan Brown are all playing one family, so they’re all white guys. Otherwise Horus is surrounded by people of color, but that actually kinda makes it worse, because they’re all worshipping and taking care of this giant white dude! There are a bunch of black and brown skinned deities seen at a gathering of the gods, so I think the gods are supposed to represent all the races, but most of those characters don’t even have dialogue.

Boseman is the exception, and he also plays a bunch of clones of himself. He’s dorky doing a snooty accent, though not as Eddie-Redmayne-in-JUPITER-ASCENDING-puzzling as rumored. I realized when I saw him presenting on the Oscars that I consider him a favorite actor just because of GET ON UP, but was unfamiliar with what he normally looks and sounds like. And here he’s doing a voice and accent and in BLACK PANTHER I’m sure there’ll be an accent too, so maybe we’ll never know. Anyway, he would’ve been way more fun here if he just played Thoth as James Brown, and that would’ve given the movie some extra soul to make the cast seem more balanced. His duplicates could’ve been different stages of James Brown too: young sex machine JB, crazy old jumpsuit JB, Living In America JB.

You know what else would’ve helped? KNOWING’s Nicolas Cage. If he was playing Egyptian it would’ve been worth the discomfort. He would’ve made it special.

The overall look is kinda tacky. Lots of yellow, shiny gold muscles, glowing and dust particles. Those put off by unrealistic computer effects are asked to please abstain, and the 3D is mediocre at best. Thwaites as Bek (who I kept wanting to call Aladdin) verges on annoyingly perky, but it’s good to have him around to run across a series of falling objects or parkour his way through an Indiana Jones style death trap. And it generally doesn’t go too long without having a sphinx or a swarm of scorpions or some cool rotten-faced creeps in the land of the dead (one of them Bruce Spence I think, based on the credits).

The script is by Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless (DRACULA UNTOLD, THE LAST WITCH HUNTER, the upcoming POWER RANGERS). I enjoyed the mythological storyline. Set (Butler) steals the crown, tears out Horus’s eyeballs and turns the afterlife into a gated community for only the top 1% of treasure-havers. But the scrappy thief Bek (isn’t he supposed to be a Scientologist? I think I heard that) steals back one of the eyes and gives it back to its original owner in exchange for help in bringing his girlfriend Zaya (Courtney Eaton, Cheedo the Fragile from FURY ROAD) back from the dead. Horus doesn’t have the power of resurrection, but his plan is sound: if he can regain the crown before she finishes walking the long path to death he can stop her at the gates. I love that kinda shit. Anubis (another cool monster, kind of a werewolfy take on the traditional lanky jackal-head) just seems to enforce the law, so maybe he’d accept this loophole.

I’m kinda into this type of modern fantasy action. The lowbrow, poorly reviewed ones that aren’t as gloomy and serious (or good, admittedly) as LORD OF THE RINGS. Just like this one, I usually see them at a sparsely attended afternoon matinee. I liked THE SCORPION KING and CLASH OF THE TITANS better than this, but I had more fun here than with WRATH OF THE TITANS or CONAN THE BARBARIAN (Mamoa Edition), and maybe about as much as HERCULES (The Rock version). All of them pale in comparison to 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE, but that has the advantage of being gloriously R-rated.

In my mind these are not real mainstream movies, they’re studio b-pictures, and they mostly fulfill their duties. The trouble is they need to be low budget for that to be sustainable, and this one is obviously expensive. They gotta sell alot of tickets just to break even, and whoever thought that was gonna happen with this one did the math wrong. Except in Russia.

If they had filled this cast with Egyptian or black actors and the critics hadn’t had their knives out I’m not sure that would’ve been a hit either. But after the controversy it was clearly a non-starter and I suspect the studio gave up on it right after the trailer came out. Since Ridley Scott’s EXODUS had the same problem I expect this sort of thing will become a no-no. But that probly just means no more Hollywood movies about Egypt.

Man, how does Proyas keep going? It seems like his Hollywood career has been almost entirely made of troubles. His most warmly received movie was THE CROW, but there’s no way he enjoyed it after the tragedy. DARK CITY is his best, but underappreciated in its time, and clearly compromised by the studio with that opening narration explaining what you later realize was meant to be a surprise twist. I, ROBOT was a notorious struggle with the studio, his biggest hit I think but people look down their noses at it. KNOWING did okay, but was mostly just appreciated by us and Roger Ebert. Now this one seems like a potential career-killer, but I bet he’ll walk it off. I wish he could lend that resilience to Stephen Norrington.

See ya with another weird, troubled movie in five or six years, Proyas.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Friday, March 4th, 2016 at 11:27 am and is filed under Fantasy/Swords, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

126 Responses to “Gods of Egypt”

  1. I liked it to (and, actually, much more than Clash of the Titans)…it felt like a French comic book with a little Paradise Lost thrown in.

    If this movie does well in foreign markets, Proyas’s career will probably be ok.

  2. huh, first thing i thought of when i started hearing about this was IMMORTALS, which I enjoyed but my cursory search reveals you found too boring to even review! which for me is confusing since i regard proyas as a hack and tarsem as under appreciated, but i’ll definitely be seeing this in theaters.

  3. Can’t comment on Gods of Egypt other than that if this came out when I was younger and really into Egyptian mythology I would have been all over it.

    Since you brought it up in the review though, I did go see The Mermaid twice (in 3D) and it was great. The criticism of Sony is head-scratching because if it was a small crappy release there is no way my area would have gotten it. Sure they could have actually advertised it but I’m happy to have seen it (in 3D even, we rarely get foreign films down here (though it is getting better) and never before this were we even given a option to view it in 3D).

  4. The one thing that appeals to me when it comes to such movies, is that they are basically modern updates of those classic fantasy adventures like THE 7th VOYAGE OF SINBAD or the original CLASH OF THE TITANS. And I’m sorry, but I love that shit!

  5. You have nothing to be sorry for CJ, Harryhausen’s joints are aces.

  6. I feel like the critics were unduly harsh against this movie due to their dislike of “whitewhashing” but I have a few counterpoints to that:

    1) The Wind and the Lion starred Sean Connery, who played a Morrocan tribal leader. To this day, that movie gets positive critical reviews.

    2) Other similar movies in this genre-Immortals, Prince of Persia, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Clash/Wrath of the Titans had predominantly white leads, but were at least judged more on the content of the movie than the casting.

    3) The movie was primarily about Egyptian GODS-not the Egyptians themselves. These gods weren’t real. The same way western culture portrays Jesus as a white dude in white robes, with a brown beard and hair was the same way I saw these gods being portrayed. I really wasn’t bothered by it.

    Overall, I enjoyed WATCHING this movie-it was quite a spectacle, and wasn’t nearly as bad as the critics made it out to be. That’s not to say it was a work of art or anything-but I had a good time watching and don’t regret the price of the ticket. I just get the impression that THIS movie was the sacrificial lamb for critics to take out all their anger about “whitewashing,” and the fact that it came out so close to the Oscar controversy about black actors and the awards had to have played a role in why it was judged so harshly.

    I actually thought this was better than the Clash remake, 300: Rise of an Empire, the horrible Conan reboot, and was at least close to/on part with Immortals, Prince of Persia, and The Rock’s Hercules.

  7. I wish Tarsem would’ve made this.

  8. As this movie is primarily about the “Gods” of Egypt, it seems fair to ask why the whitewashing complaint is at all valid. Or lets say, any *more* valid than the counter complaints for Idris Elba’s Nordic “God” Heimdall, in the “Thor” franchise.

  9. Rogue4, like I said in the review there’s a logic to the gods being different races, but it’s a little weird for white people to make a movie about people of color worshiping and serving giant white people. Additionally, though, the main human characters are played by Brenton Thwaites and Rufus Sewell. And Courtney Eaton, who I looked up and she is part Chinese and Maori, so at least there’s some diversity in their Australians playing Egyptians.

  10. George Sanderson

    March 5th, 2016 at 12:44 am

    Vern, Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. Not a big deal for most people unless, like me, you’re a New Zealander who has been asked if they are from Australia throughout their entire life. New Zealand is like the Canada to Australia’s U.S.

  11. Given the obvious fantasy context of the film I thought the complaints of white washing were a little silly, but I can see your point that it would add a different texture to the movie, but of course none of the people complaining actually gave a shit about the movie, it’s never actually about the movie when this happens, it’s just people looking for any excuse to get on their high horse and call something racist because that’s just how some people get their kicks nowadays.

    Anyway DARK CITY is a pretty cool movie and I hope this isn’t the end of the road for Alex Proyas’ career as well.

  12. I’m actually glad this movie was called out for whitewashing. There’s a long history of whites representing other races and ethnicities in cruel and degrading ways. This stretched back at least to minstrel shows, so it’s not like the whitewashing concerns are coming out of nowhere. With that history of taking the ability to represent a people out of the hands of the actual in group, I don’t think it’s out of bounds to be concerned.

    But probably of more concern to this particular film is the fact that you’re taking away roles from Arab and Northern African actors. It would be nice if an Arab actor could have a role that had no relation to terrorism (whether that’s as an actual terrorist or one of the government guys who signals the audience, “See, some of my best friends are Arab!”). The whole thing is a missed opportunity.

    I really hope that Proyas gets at least one more chance to make a film as great as Dark City again. Although, most filmmakers don’t even make one truly great film, so I guess I can’t feel too bad for him.

  13. There wouldn’t have been anything wrong with casting Arab and Northern African actors as the leads in this movie, but at the same time in a fantasy context like this movie it shouldn’t be a requirement.

    There’s also a bit of a double standard with this thing because whenever a non-white actor gets cast playing an originally white character that’s of course ok, I don’t really have a problem with that, but I feel like in both cases people should not be so strict and literal over who gets cast as what, actors are actors, right?

    I’m just saying context matters, if they were to for some reason cast white actors as the slaves in 12 YEARS A SLAVE that would of course be laughably absurd, but in a fantasy film like this where you got giant monsters and magic and shit flying around, is it really that important.

    Even in a serious historical based movie like GLADIATOR though they’ll still have British or Australian actors playing Romans, is that a problem? I mean how iteral are we going to take this? If that movie came out today would there be a backlash because they didn’t cast Italian actors?

  14. The Original Paul

    March 5th, 2016 at 6:52 am

    Griff – I suspect it comes down to context in a lot of cases. Like RBatty says, it was a good opportunity to see Middle-Eastern actors playing parts that aren’t either terrorists, or red-herrings suspected as terrorists (I really don’t get how the latter is supposed to be any less racist than the former, but that’s the Hollywood we have today. They’ve been using the “middle-Eastern man suspected of terrorism who’s actually innocent” trope for so long now, it’s become the new cliche.)

    I don’t think the GLADIATOR example you bring up would be a problem unless the “good guys” were the only British / Australian actors playing Romans, and everybody else in the movie was a grotesque foreigner, like in ALADDIN or something. I haven’t seen GODS OF EGYPT, but from Vern’s review it sounds as though it’s more the way the races are divided up so that the heroes and “masters” are the white guys, rather than just “white men portraying Egyptian culture”.

    Personally, as a British guy of Nottingham descent, I’m more offended by them continually American-ising Robin Hood. (That, and continually having him fuck his sister. Please, Hollywood, stop.) There is no excuse whatsoever for the “best” Robin Hood movie to still be CASABLANCA.

  15. I don’t see how fucking hard this is. If it’s important that your movie be about Egyptians, cast people that look like Egyptians. If it’s important that your movie star honkeys, make a movie about honkeys.

  16. I get where you’re coming from with the fact this is a fantasy film, so the rules shouldn’t be as strict. I can see this point when it comes to the gods, but as Vern pointed out, it’s still a bit icky.

    But the film takes place in ancient Egypt and is based on the history and culture of that time, so I think it’s fair to expect them to cast accordingly. (It also bugs me that Jesus is always played by a white dude when he should look Arab).

    I don’t think the Gladiator example holds up, either. Ignoring the fact that The Romans had a vast empire that stretched into placed like England, they’re at least casting Europeans. Long ago, we’ve come to define whiteness as being European, so they’re not elbowing people out of roles because of their race. (I have always thought, however, that it’s strange the Romans always have to have British accents. I would love for a Roman epic to have the actors speak in a ridiculous over-the-top Italian-American accent just once).

    Also, Paul, are you forgetting the Disney animated Robin Hood from the 70s? That movie is amazing! Hell, it’s my favorite animated Disney film.

  17. AND you can bet that there would have been much whining from white people if they had cast a North African actor as Maximus in GLADIATOR instead of a white guy, even though North Africa was also Roman and Maximus is not even supposed to be from Rome itself but from what is now Spain, which was ruled by the Carthaginians (who were from North Africa) before the Romans. “I don’t mean to be racist but come on, Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such as a ROMAN general, hello? Does Hollywood have to ruin my enjoyment of everything because of political correctness? #AppianGate”

  18. Hey, at least in GLADIATOR they cast a German as German. You have to give them that! Ad he didn’t even have to wear a Nazi uniform, although I’m sure they made him wear one during rehearsals!

  19. The Original Paul

    March 5th, 2016 at 9:38 am

    RBatty – I will admit to liking that movie. At least I understand why they replaced “Robert de Braisse Neuve” with the child-friendly “Sir Hiss”.

  20. Ah, Stephen Norrington. Now there’s a deep cut. Death Machine should’ve been one of the new “cult classics” and had an incredible sense of energy and atmosphere, showing how much can be done with so little.

    I’ve never really been a Connery fan for a lot of reasons (From Russia and Thunderball aside) but I can’t even watch something he’s in now without actively hating him after the LoEG debacle and robbing us all of a potential Norrington Akira adaptation, which I don’t think needs to be made at all but if the hacks have to do it, Norrington absolutely was the one I wanted to do it. Proyas would’ve been second.

    Fuck, now I gotta go dig out Death Machine.

  21. I wonder if “Clash of the Titans” would have had the same kind of preemptive cultural appropriation PR backlash if they had elected to call it “Gods of Greece” instead? I have a hunch that if Fox had just titled it something like “Melee of the Super-Colossals” or “Fracas of the Monumentals” (you have to admit, “Clash of the Titans” is an utterly unimprovable title for mythology-based action/adventure shit) and omitted any images of pyramids from the advertising, no one would have blinked.

  22. Jesus Christ…who is the victim this week?

  23. Do people actually think that current day Egyptians actually has any resemblance with the people that lived there then? Then you should cast fucking Romans since they lived there then.

  24. That was a bit harsh, but people are fucking babies these days. I studied human science for five years now, and I am well aware of post colonial studies with all that entails. But they are THEORIES, not actual TRUTHS.

    The emotional logic is the biggest foe her; white people have oppressed other people for many cneturies and in hideous ways. I can´t argue against that,but Jesus there may not be Egyptian actors up to scratch for the performance that the filmmakers intended. Does that make them racists?

    In conclusion; let the filmmakers make the film they want.

  25. Do you honestly think they even bothered looking?

  26. I am not a psychic.

  27. And even if they did I doubt they would possibly find people that even look alike people living 6000 years ago

  28. There has been a lot of migration and turbulance to happen between then and now.

  29. Come on, man. Don’t pretend you don’t understand what people are upset about. It’s happened a million times before but this case is particularly egregious. I mean, the words “OF EGYPT” are in the fucking title. Plus, it’s not just whitewashed casting, it’s LAZY-AS-FUCK whitewashed casting. They didn’t just cast any old honkeys, they cast two honkeys already known for period sword-wielding adventure properties. They clearly got ’em off a fuckin’ list. So what you end up with isn’t just an obvious insult to every dusky actor out there struggling to get a decent part. It’s also the most generic-looking bullshit ever. The same dudes in the same type of situation we’ve already seen them in. It’s like they made it from a kit.

    As for people being “fucking babies these days,” that’s real easy for some white dude to say. It’s funny how it’s always every other race, gender, and sexual orientation that needs to “lighten up” or “learn to take a joke” or “get over it.” You think people just decided to be pissed about this shit? Like they woke up one day and said “I used to think it was awesome that I never saw anybody that looked like me in a movie but now it hurts my feelings for some reason.” No. They always hated this shit. Look at HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE or listen to “Burn Hollywood Burn” to see how long black people in particular have been upset about the way they’re represented in the movies. The difference is that everyone, not just people with recording contracts or the ability to make a movie, finally have a way to make their voices heard. So while you thought everything was hunky dory because everything was always going your way (What a coincidence that “the best person for the role” always just happened to be some white guy! What a miraculous winning streak! Go Team Caucasian!), there were a whole bunch of people with no way to complain, no reason to believe anyone would listen, and no chance that anything would change even if they did. Now finally they can say “Um, hey, like, I know you guys have been doing this since forever, but it’s actually not cool and it’d be awesome if you, like, stopped” and you’re like “Jeez, stop whining you fuckin’ crybaby!” Like you have any clue where they’re coming from or how it feels to be excluded by the public face of the culture you live in. I don’t either, but I’m willing to take their word for it. When somebody tells me “When this happens, it makes me feel like shit,” I don’t say “You’re wrong to feel that way.” I say “How can I help make it better?” It’s not my place to tell people with different life experiences than my own how to interpret those experiences. To quote a wiser man than me, “They’re well aware of what they’re going through.”

    Nobody has to suck it up and swallow this tripe anymore. If studios want to ignore the elephant in the room and keep making the same whitewashed pieces of crap they’ve been making since the days of blackface and segregation, they can go ahead and keep flushing their money down the toilet. It’s a different world. Evolve or die.

    In conclusion, I will see GODS OF EGYPT eventually because I am a fan of ridiculous fantasy action nonsense, but I sincerely hope its failure serves as an example of what NOT to do in the future. And I hope it doesn’t drag Proyas down with it because I want to believe that he had higher goals for this mess than for it to be a 21st century Charlton Heston movie.

  30. That is a real nice speech. Do you think egyptians care? I don´t know how they feel or where they come from, do you? Well, they are not from 6000 years ago I can tell you that. Stop swinging that dick so hard,white boy. You are just as white as I am. Can you tell me how “they” feel? And what is “they” exactly?

    Shut up and let “them” speak for a minute. Whoever they are.

  31. So you can insult people but I can’t defend them. Awesome.

  32. Who have I insulted really? I claim only not to speak for them?

  33. Also, I have to say that I am personally, if not offended, at least insulted by the casting choices. You look at Gerard Butler standing there pretending to be an Egyptian god, and it’s just not believable. Even as a movie fan and not as a bleeding heart liberal, it’s a shitty decision. It hurts the movie.

  34. “Jesus Christ…who is the victim this week?”

    “People are fucking babies these days.”

    Those are insults.

  35. Somebody cast Mel Gibson!

  36. Obviously passively calling someone an asshole is the way to go in a conversation. Come on!

  37. “It’s funny how it’s always every other race, gender, and sexual orientation that needs to “lighten up” or “learn to take a joke” or “get over it.””

    Except it’s also very often young white liberals who get outraged about this sort of thing, in some instances more than actual minorities do.

  38. Thank you Griff.

    It is irritating that it is always white people getting offensive about stuff that the targeted minorities are seldom aware of

  39. I’m not calling you an asshole. I’m just asking you to try and see it from the other side and not be so dismissive. This issue might not affect you so it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but others feel differently. Even putting aside for a second audience members who feel shortchanged by their lack of representation in movies, there’s also people in the movie industry itself to think about. Actors and crew members who aren’t white males deal with all kinds of exclusion and prejudice in the movie business, so when something like this comes out and is the most obvious example of something that’s usually a lot more insidious and subtle, of course people are gonna jump on it. And I’m glad they did, because losing more than a hundred million bucks in large part because of public outcry is a great way to make sure the craven cowards who made these terrible casting decisions think twice before they do it again. Best case scenario, we’ll get different kinds of faces and voices in movies, which will make movies look and feel less generic. And that’s good for everybody.

  40. The Original Paul

    March 5th, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Shoot – I’ll say everything that Majestyk just said, but in a much more brief way. The moment that we see a trend developing of Middle-Eastern protagonists in major Hollywood productions with mass-market audiences, and in which the ethnicity of the protagonist is acknowledged but is not itself a major plot point (in other words, he or she is not suspected of being a terrorist – because goodness knows we haven’t seen that particular cliche enough) then we’ll shut up about it. We’ve pretty much gotten to that point with African-American actors anyway – there’s a whole raft of “bankable” black actors who can star in movies which aren’t specifically about their ethnicity.

    Here’s a relevant question: was anybody else bothered by the fact that the protagonist of THE FUGITIVE (a thriller that came out at about the time that many, many poor black men were being released from Death Row due to DNA evidence exonerating them) was a rich white guy? Feels kinda like if they’d make a movie today about rich white kids being harassed and shot to death by bigoted police officers. I know it’s an adaptation of an earlier TV series where the protagonist was also a rich white guy, but still… for me it has unfortunate implications. As a self-contained thriller, I think the movie works very well. But movies don’t exist in a vacuum, and the fact that it basically didn’t acknowledge the real-life issues of the time always made me a little uncomfortable.

  41. I am not being dismissive. I just don´t claim to be all knowing of what others feel.

  42. But you feel comfortable telling others they’re being fucking babies for feeling it.

    Put aside the larger issue for a second. Can you honestly make the case that this is good casting? Can you look at Gerard Butler or this Danish dude and think “That is spot-on casting right there. He is really embodying that role”? Or do you just not care and so you figure nobody else should either?

  43. Whoa, I only meant that I thought it would be interesting to know if the backlash would have reached the same intensity (or any intensity at all) had they titled it something fantasy-neutral (ala Clash of the Titans) instead of GODS OF EGYPT. While I haven’t taken the time to research it, it doesn’t sound like the plot to this flick has anything to do with ancient Egypt (other than the fact that the names of what appear to basically be super heroes and super villains have been given the names of Egyptian gods). Now, if they had the same cast for a movie about the life of King Tut or Queen Nefertiti that would be a horse of a different color (pun intended).

  44. The Original Paul

    March 5th, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Wow, the conversation progressed since I wrote that post. Point still stands though.

  45. Well, that first complaint is fair. “feeling fucking babies” were a bit much I agree.

    And no, I can´t make any excuse for the casting. But the whole idea of an entire race feeling angry about it was a bit much in my opinion. You can´t second guess what other people feel. I think that was what I felt.

  46. I never meant to say “All [group of people] feel this way.” But if I implied it, it was sloppy phrasing and I take it back. Clearly lots of people think this kind of thing is shitty. I know because I am one of them. I don’t think you need to be of the group being whitewashed to think whitewashing is bad, both for society and for cinema.

  47. I am glad we had this conversation. I hope we can be still be friends. I think the misunderstanding lies between the words we say [ what the fuck does that even mean…}

  48. I was about to say the same thing, Shoot. I hold no ill will toward you whatsoever. I’m glad we hashed it out and that we respected each other enough not to be polite about it.

  49. Good enough

  50. The Undefeated Gaul

    March 5th, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    The thing is though, I don’t think this thing lost a lot of money because of the public outcry against whitewashing. It lost money because the trailers made it look like shit, and I think the people making these casting decisions will not take the message from this failure that they need to be more accurate with the ethnicity of the actors. It’s just a shit film (or let’s be civil and say, “not good enough to pay extra to see it at the cinema”) so people go and see something else. If I would have to guess, I’d say the people that DID go to see it probably liked Butler a lot or were big Game Of Thrones fans. Had the film been the exact same but with Egyptian actors, probably it would’ve lost even more money.

  51. I think the bad reviews–which pretty much all prominently cited the casting as a major problem–probably hurt it, too. Some movies are critic-proof, but ones like this, that don’t star any huge names and aren’t based on an established property, need good buzz or they’re dead in the water. The critics very well might have hated it even without the whitewashing, but it certainly didn’t help.

  52. Kind of random, but…curious…I honestly did’t pay any attention, but was there similar outcry over NOAH? That cast was obviously an anglophile’s dream–Russell Crowe, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins. Are you kidding me?!

    I don’t really know how exactly to feel about that one, because I thought the film and performances were great. Plus, it was kind of a general purpose trippy allegory-fantasy thing rather than the traditional middle eastern quasi-historical “biblical epic.” Plus, whereas GODS looks like all the worst elements of modern big budget excess and hackery (Michael Bay and Louis Leterrier’s love child), NOAH had some real filmatic atmosphere and moody gravitas going for it.

  53. ELBA as a Norse god?

  54. Also, I read Seagalogy which is a very fun book but wouldn’t the final fight with Screwface and indeed many of the fights in Marked for Death be treated like “Black lives matter!” Now? And something like Screwface’s men should have filmed the final fight with their iPhones?

  55. Also, while we’re talking about casting and action epics in general, am I crazy or was Morgan Freeman the only minority who had a significant positive role in the whole Nolan Batman trilogy or maybe even any Nolan film period? I guess there was that surly chief of police who drank the Jokered scotch, but I’m not sure that really counts either.

  56. Got it. So complaints about “Thor”s inexplicably black Norse “God” were totally justified.

  57. Majestyk and Shoot, thank you for resolving your dispute civilly and reminding me why I love this site and its community.

    Don, this film does indeed take place in ancient Egypt, the fantasy gimmick being that the Egyptian gods actually existed back then as described in their mythology, walking around as shape-shifting giants among the Egyptian humans of the era.

    These controversies are usually inflamed by people who never saw the work in question and are judging it sight unseen. I thought the best character was the god Thoth, an intellectual character played by a black actor. He gave this nerdy bookworm performance and yet was this handsome muscular man – at the very least I can picture a female fangirl audience being impressed with him. But to know any of this would require actually seeing the film and not just pre-judging it.

    I agree that having more actors of color would have been better. But as Vern indicated in his LONE RANGER review, activists are not always pleased to see their interests (in this case non-European culture) portrayed for a change, and often would rather just condemn the rare attempts for not being perfect.

    As for the movie overall, I dug it. Yeah, the CGI is a little fake, but I was won over by Ra chasing the demon across the sky, and I was on board from that point on.

    And I recognized Bruce Spence as one of the mo-capped underworld guys. In fact my friend and I turned to each other and said “Bruce Spence!” in exact unison when we recognized him at the same time.

    It is a bummer when someone makes a flawed but ambitious fantasy film and the public’s only response is to yell at it.

  58. The confluence of technology, demographic changes, and generational differences in values and outlook are such that we’re definitely seeing a lot more bottom-up/viral identity politics than ever before. I see the good in it that it breaks down what used to be traditional media hegemony as far as editorializing, giving all kinds of people a voice. It seems clear enough that things like black lives matter and the Bill Cosby rape thing, just to name a few, would not have come to light and had the impact they have without the kind of viral justice media apparatus that has developed over the last 15-20 years and really accelerated over the last 5 years (far as I can tell).

    On the one hand I think it’s good in terms of there being a consistent running commentary about these things, and I think it actually does serve to sensitize the more moderate-to-liberal among us about things that we would otherwise be ignorant of and just take for granted, because we often can’t see beyond our noses and need people from other walks of life to tell us what they’re experiencing and how they’re seeing it (like Majestyk was saying). I think its good that these issues get raised and there’s a continuing conversation on these topics like diversity and cultural appropriateness in casting, women aging out faster than men, etc.

    I am a little bothered by what I see as the darker side of contemporary hashtag/comment thread activisim, which is a kind of knee-jerk, intellectually lazy, tribal, mob psychology type of identity politics. Really, nothing is safe: Even Chi-raq or Creed or Tarantino films are racist. And I’m not saying they’re not, as I think all of us carry biases or struggle in our empathy. It’s just that there is a kind of damned if you do, damned if you don’t vibe I get on a lot of these things–just that, even when you’re consciously trying to add some ethnic or age diversity to your cast or have some social issues subtext, it’s super hard to do so without pissing off at least some identity interest group, whether by omitting them, only giving them “token” roles, only giving them stereotypical roles, oversexualizing (in the case of younger women), undersexualizing or generally marginalizing them (in the case of older women), pandering, etc. It’s super tough not veer into one pitfall or the other.

    All that said, I think it’s a net plus that these issues are being surfaced and the dialogue continues, because films and film stars have a huge influence on our popular culture, and it’s good that the little guy/gal on social media has some counter-influence or at least the ability to bottom-up comment and criticize. There’s more pushback and dialogue and accountability going toward the elites (rich studio execs and stars), and I’m all for that.

    Also, the next Batman better be an older Korean-American lady is all I’m saying. And not like Amy Adams or even Meryl Streep playing that older Korean lady Batman either. I’m not cool with that.

  59. To be honest, as a white guy, I’m a little bothered by how explicitly anti-white so much of this stuff comes off as, the attitude seems to be that white men are “boring” or “cliched” and everything is instantly improved by the addition of minorities in place of white men, whether it’s Spider Man or video games or movies or anything at all.

    Yeah, I admit, it hurts my feelings a bit to be told that as a heterosexual white male there’s nothing interesting about protagonists like me, why?

    See, the thing is, like it or not, white people are still the majority demographic in the United States, when I watch an anime or read a manga I’m not bothered by the fact that more often than not the characters depicted are supposed to be Japanese, because it’s stuff from Japan, I wouldn’t expect anything otherwise, so why do people today expect that all of a sudden the majority of American media should focus on minorities? I’m not saying there isn’t room for minority characters in things, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of attacking anything that happens to star white males, can’t we be more inclusive without paradoxically being exclusive at the same time?

  60. Well said Griff. and skani you gotta be careful in what you are saying/ advocating , look at what happened at Dartmouth, Missouri, and Yale, with SJWs out of control, and earlier in the Duke La crosse. Don’t forget people are innocent until being proven guilty and SJWs find any reason to be be offended on others’ behalf.

  61. “To be honest, as a white guy, I’m a little bothered by how explicitly anti-white so much of this stuff comes off as, the attitude seems to be that white men are “boring” or “cliched” and everything is instantly improved by the addition of minorities in place of white men, whether it’s Spider Man or video games or movies or anything at all.”

    What you see as “anti-white”, I see as the playing field being leveled. If you’re getting butthurt over the very valid criticism of Hollywood and its racial inadequacies all I can say is deal with it. Times are changing.

  62. Paul, please don’t use the term “SJW”, it lessens the discussion when you start throwing that around and should be purposely avoided, it’s almost like a new Godwin’s law thing where when you start using the term SJW you’ve lost, we can be smarter than that here.

    Anyway to expound a bit, what I’m trying to say is that when this happens it’s often a matter of simple demographics, a Hollywood studio wants as many people to see a movie as possible, so they often cast according to demographics, this is why even the comedy SOUL PLANE has Tom Arnold in it because they still wanted a potential white audience to see the movie.

    It’s not because Hollywood is secretly run by the Klan or whatever and they’re trying to be purposely racist.

  63. Still, Griff, you gotta admit that whites are pretty boring. And believe me, I’m not racist, some of my best friends are white. But you know how they are. Always going on about their golf game or their microbrews or their Tom Clancy novels. Sure there are a few good apples who are actually interesting. Like Nic Cage. But by and and large they’re pretty boring. Not to mention lazy and shiftless. I should know. I’m all three.

  64. “What you see as “anti-white”, I see as the playing field being leveled.”

    And I see it as an eye for an eye attitude, which as the saying goes, makes the whole world blind.

  65. George – Don’t worry, I know that Maori = New Zealand. Courtney Eaton is Australian, but some of her heritage is Maori.

    Rogue4 – I don’t think the comparison between GODS and THOR is apt. As I have explained, the depiction of Egyptians worshiping giant white men feels kind of demeaning. The THOR character does not have that aspect to it. There is really no logic for why the THOR character shouldn’t be black, since in the movie they are not from a European country, they are from a magic fantasy land in space of which we do not know the racial makeup. The offensive thing about casting Idris Elba in the role is giving him that bullshit character instead of a good one. I suspect they regret it.

    And to be fair, that original complaint was made by some white nationalist websight, I don’t think it was actually a complaint made by more than a small number of nutbags, but was blown out of proportion by outrage-loving clickbait portals. I don’t really think we should continue the myth that that’s an actual controversy.

    Anyway, I think I have given a balanced explanation of why the casting in GODS OF EGYPT is not quite how people assumed but also why it’s distracting. And as the world’s foremost defender of Johnny Depp playing Tonto you can’t say I always fall on one side on this issue. I do think it’s a problem in this one. It would be a much better movie if it wasn’t cast this way.

  66. Simon, it’s sound like you are the one who is butthurt, and did you not see the shameless oscars this year?

  67. This isn’t me attacking anyone, and I myself am a white heterosexual (most of the time) male, but it always makes me laugh when white people complain about their representation in media and the arts. Like, just using what Griff said as an example, taking offence to the implication that casting a person of, for instance, colour in a lead role somehow suggests that white heterosexual men are boring protagonists and so replacing them with a minority will instantly improve the project in question.

    First of all, the only people who seem to be adopting this point of view are white heterosexual men. And even if they’re right (which in my opinion they are not), we’ve had over 100 years of white heterosexual men as cinema’s dominant protagonists so who cares if a few roles go to some other non-white, non-heterosexual or non-male actors from time to time? Don’t worry, there will still be an overwhelming majority of movies prominently featuring white heterosexual males in major leading roles so I don’t think it’s time to break out the cyanide capsules just yet.

    I also really resist this argument that studios are somehow filling a quota by casting roles for people of colour or for people of non-hetero / non-cisgendered identification or god forbid women. But even if they are, so what? Interesting, diverse casting I don’t think is ever something that should be mocked and regardless of whatever the studio mandate is behind the process, the end result is people who have been under-represented in cinema and television for literally decades finally getting a chance to shine and bring their own talents to the table. I’m not saying anyone’s cynicism regarding certain casting decisions is inaccurate, but accuracy aside it seems pretty shortsighted to just leave the argument there without considering the broader *positive* implications of it all.

    I dunno it’s just fucking weird to me that some white people feel that the casting of minorities in roles that have traditionally gone to them should be taken as a personal insult. Also Griff, in my opinion, the way to be more inclusive without being exclusive at the same time is to try taking a less myopic approach to these issues and try to look at them from a few different perspectives, not just from the point of view of a straight white guy. Show some empathy. Think about how other people who aren’t in our privileged positions might feel about it.

    And I mean no disrespect by this – and I know that you meant no harm in saying it – but statements like “I’m not saying there isn’t room for minority characters in things” are only going to make this shit worse. I just don’t know if you’re aware of how loaded that statement is.

    Also even if this is an “eye for an eye” attitude, white guys like us have collected a lot more eyes than minorities over the years and we’ve been stockpiling them too. I’m pretty sure we could afford lose a couple and still see okay.

  68. Can we at least all agree that I’M an asshole?

  69. When I went to bed, this thread had only 13 comments 0_0

    Anyway, to a certain degree I have to agree with Griff. Even I, as the ultra liberal SJW that I am, have way too often these days trouble to just sit there, smile and say “Yes, I agree” while all kinds of shit gets thrown at me (directly and indirectly), because my skin happens to be “white” and I have a penis.

    We live in an interesting time now, where humans are maybe more educated about certain issues than ever. Back in the 80s and 90s you could for example include every racist, sexist or homphobic stereotype into a major motion picture event and had only a small special interest group complaining about it. And it wasn’t even a major news headline. Shit, even Eddie Murphy, the at that time biggest star in the world, could go on stage and make really nasty jokes about gay people and AIDS and the world was laughing! Now people discuss if it’s even sexist, when the female protagonist of a fantasy movie wears high heels! And while this definitely gets a little ridiculous at times and makes certain people cry: “Waaaah, the PC police is surpressing my freedom of speech!”, I’m glad that this shit happens! (Seriously, I will always prefer people going: “You really should think before you speak” over those going “I have the right to be a racist and sexist awful human being, because if you can’t laugh about me calling you by the N-word, YOU should lighten up!”)

    I’m just really worried about the branch of people, that tries to end racism, sexism, etc, by constantly telling white people, how awful and inferioir they are. And I’m not just talking about some broad “All white people are racists, all men are rapists” bullshit, that is only used by a small, but vocal fraction of people anyway. It’s the more subtle kind, where someone pretty much say things like: “We should cast our movies completely colourblind and always pick the best actor for the role, as long as it isn’t some white guy” and shit like that. The kind of people, that complain about every well made drama starring white actors as “another movie about white people problems”. The ones that tell people like you and me to sit down and shut up, because our problems are just tiny booboos, because as white and/or male, everything must be super awesome for us.

    I’m seriously worried that the “Tag, you’re it” kind of racism will create a whole generation of brand new racists and will set us back by at least 60 years. Some people try so hard to make everything better for non-white people and women, that they often play right into the arguments of white surpremacists. I’m all for gender and racial equality, because I possess at least the minimum amount of common sense, but imagine that kid from ROOM would have been nominated for an Oscar and then had to hear for months how he didn’t deserve it, because #KidActorSoWhite. (Not saying he would get a swastika tattoo on his forehead because of that, but y’know…)

    That topic is so complicated and it gets too often reduced to “white people bad”. Sure, the white washing thing is a little more obvious, but even here you could say: “Donald Glover as Spider-Man would be okay, but Scott Adkins as Blade would be racist?” (Since neither of those characters’ skin colour is an important part of their history.) Ugh, did I get dragged into that discussion again? It’s Sundaaaaaaaaay…

  70. I see you’re willing to give an imaginary nomination to the kid from ROOM, while giving no imaginary nod to the kid from BEASTS WITH NO NATION. Not cool, CJ.

    I wish the makers of GODS OF EGYPT had thought to have an all Asian cast speaking with Chinese accents. Or Marvel had cast Gael Garcia Bernal as Black Panther. I think it would be funny to watch both sides try and work out the correct level of moral outrage in those cases.

  71. I get a really hostile attitude from the left these days and I don’t like it, I don’t think it’s the right way to do things.

    Take the whole idea of “white privilege” for example, it’s like they want white men to feel guilty just for existing, I’m sorry, but fuck that shit, I’m not gonna feel guilty for who I am, I’m not going to apologize for my existence.

    Turning everything into a race issue is largely an obscurification of the what the biggest problem is which is that it’s not always about race, it’s mostly about money and class, a white guy living in a trailer park and a black guy living in the ghetto are at the end of the day both getting fucked over by the same economic system and the powers that be use race as an issue to divide Americans and make them not realize that they all have a lot more in common than they think.

    Americans in general are hurting these days people, you ever notice how all this shit started right after Occupy Wall Street? The left goes from talking about purely economic issues (“I am the 99%” and all that) to all of a sudden talking about nothing but race, race, race, it’s a trick being played on us, an old one at that and it’s time to wake the fuck up, people.

    I’ll admit this doesn’t really have anything to do with Gods of Egypt anymore, this is all a larger thing which frankly I’ve wanted to get off my chest for a while now, I respect everyone here’s opinion and it’s nice to be able to talk about these issues.

    I feel like playtime is pretty much over for this country guys, things are about to get real serious real quick.

  72. Griff, I think that last sentence sums it up. The left have always been angry, but it look like it’s only now sunk in with a lot of people who don’t really follow politics. You could be right about “race” being a trick (over here in Europe it’s “islam”) that engages a lot of people in a wrong way, but as you also say (I think) we really have to stop saying “us” and “them”. We, the 99%, have to join forces and for a start begin to vote for people who we know can do something about our situation. And Trump, Cruz and Rubio are not in that category. Neither are Cameron, Clegg or any right wing or conservative politician in the whole world. They look out for the 1%, and that’s it. So when is it our time to get some help?

  73. I don’t want to be too hard on the left though, there has been some good done over the last couple of years, the focus on transgender issues and visibility is I feel a very good thing.

    I’m going to confess something that I’ve never talked about with anyone before, I think I may have a little bit of gender dysphoria or at the very least it’s got me thinking about these things and realizing that gender can be more fluid than I ever before really realized and that’s a good thing.

    I just want to make it clear that I’m not a guy that deals in absolutes, that’s why I hate the term “social justice warrior”, it overly simplifies what’s going on.

    I guess if it’s one thing one the 2010s have taught me is that people are people, on both the left and right spectrum and even on the left people don’t always make the right decisions and there can be assholes on both sides.

  74. The Original Paul

    March 6th, 2016 at 3:45 am

    Just quickly pointing out that there are two separate Pauls here. I do not necessarily agree with or endorse the comments of my namesake.

    CJ – I think that the “politics of representation” (which in my mind is two lies for the price of one, since they’re not actually politics and I don’t think anybody is sure who or what they’re supposed to be representing) is a whole different issue. This GODS OF EGYPT thing is an unfortunate callback to an era in Hollywood where ethnic minorities were treated in a particular demeaning way. That’s what’s got people upset. It’ll last a week or so then blow over as quickly as this movie sinks from the public consciousness (which, if its box office figures are anything to go by, will happen pretty damn quickly).

    The Trump-banning-Muslims thing? That’s racism. (And, even this British guy knows, unconstitutional and totally impractical. Besides the whole “religious discrimination” thing, how the heck do you determine if someone’s actually a Muslim or not? What if they claim to be part of the growing atheist movement in the middle-east?) Anyway, I’m pretty sure that will continue to be a “thing” for as long as it takes Trump’s presidential campaign to run its course.

    Griff – sadly for you guys, I think the “99%” thing went out the window when the two most talked-about presidential candidates became a member of a long-standing political “dynasty”, and a billionaire.

  75. All over the world billionares are ruling whole countries to protect themselves and their friends. Their favorite weapon is getting people to believe that there are groups out there that threathen us, and that we can blame for our misfortunes; muslims, people with darker skin than ours, gays, transgender people, dictators far away, the government, Putin etc, etc. What we have to do is getting a person elected that can speak and do something for us. It’s that simple, that black and white. And, like it or not, that person have to come from the left. If the “debate” between Shoot and Mr Majestyk showed us one thing, it’s that we can disagree about the details ’till the cows come home, but smart, decent people can still be friends. And that’s what we have to show people like Trump. There are no “us” and “them”, it’s just us.

  76. George Sanderson

    March 6th, 2016 at 5:46 am

    Vern, sorry for assuming you didn’t know where the Maori are from. It’s not that often that I encounter people that no anything about New Zealand beyond Lord of the Rings and, to a lesser extent, the All Blacks (our national rugby team, which includes players of many different skin tones).
    I love the comments section on this websight. Everyone comes across as articulate and intelligent and it took me some time to work up the confidence to leave an opinion of my own.
    Thanks for sharing, everyone.

  77. “There’s really no logic for why the Thor character shouldn’t be black…” Of coarse there is. The same logic that’s being applied here. Norwegians are as far from Nubian features as Egyptians are from Caucasian features. No black Norwegians, therefore presumably, no black “Gods of Norway”… or “demeaning” worship of such. Conversely, being that the “Gods of Egypt” are *Gods*, seems to me the implication leans pretty hard toward *not from around here*, if not laid out as explicitly as with Thor’s deity depiction. So no pretense of a controversy Main Man. Just comparing two similar complaints that seem to want to apply what should be non-applicable, with respect to deities, and saying that the one is either as valid… or as vapid as the other.

  78. But the “gods” in Thor are not actually Scandinavian. They are aliens from another…dimension?…thingy?…who apparently traveled to Scandinavia at some point in the distant past and thus inspired the Nordic myths. Elba’s character says home and holds down the fort so the ancient Swedes and whatnot wouldn’t have known that not all of their “gods” were white guys. Plus, it is established that not all of Asgard’s warriors are actually from there. The Asian one is from another “realm” (visited in the second THOR movie) so why can’t Heimdall be, too?

    Also, it’s a false equivalence. There’s no shortage of good characters for white guys, so it’s not exactly a loss to give one of them to a black actor. But there is a shortage of good roles for people of Middle-Eastern descent. GODS OF EGYPT had a chance to do something about that and took the easy way out. I know you don’t give a shit about that, Rogue, because it would mean having an ounce of empathy and that’s not really your jam.

    Reading over what I wrote yesterday, I see now that I went at it all wrong. I shouldn’t have put a buffer between myself and my argument, which left me open to Shoot’s valid counterargument that I had no right to speak for groups I wasn’t part of. I was trying to articulate what I saw as the point of view of the groups that are most affected by this sort of thing, but it backfired on me. Instead of speaking for “people” or “them,” I should have just spoke for myself. *I* think it’s fucked up for a movie called GODS OF EGYPT to star white guys. *I* feel offended by that choice. *I* think it’s a bad call both from a progressive and storytelling perspective. *I* don’t want to live in a world where studio assholes feel comfortable saying audiences won’t go see a movie starring people who aren’t white, even when the story demands it. And most of all, *I* don’t want those assholes to be right.

    I don’t need to hide behind some strawman minorities to express my point. It was a bad debate strategy and it led to a harsher argument than it should have. I’ll try to do better next time.

  79. Jesus have been portraid as a white man for hundreds of years, when he in rality would look like an african man. And many people from the north of Norway have really black hair and other features from Spanish visitors hundreds of years ago. There are no absolutes. We have to strive to get to the point where Idris Elba is a very good and really cool actor. Not just a “black” actor.

  80. Why do I feel like world is more racist now than it’s ever been? When did that happen?

  81. Why do I feel like world is more racist now than it’s ever been? When did that happen?

  82. In my opinion denouncing white privilege is akin to denouncing the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Of course there are scores of white people living in abject poverty. Does that mean we have to completely disregard the fact that the vast majority of wealth and power is distributed in our society amongst white people too? One statistic doesn’t negate the other.

    Life is fucking hard. I deal with serious mental health issues and financial struggles on a daily basis. My family had to move countries when I was a child to escape a national recession and a non-existent job market. Do I still feel like, as a white person who has had immediate access to societal benefits that minorities were denied until very fucking recently and in many cases are still denied to this day, that I was born into a position of privilege? Absolutely.

    I’ve never been profiled because of the colour of my skin. I’ve never been attacked because of my religious beliefs or the clothing that I wear (except by white guys who have roasted me about wearing skinny jeans as they pass me on the street which I’m sure we can all agree is equal to if not worse than people calling someone a terrorist or a faggot or a slut etc). Admitting that white privilege exists and has existed for the longest fucking time isn’t the same thing as apologising for who you are or where you came from. It’s accepting that generally, historically, and consistently, non-white people (and especially non-white males) have had it a hell of a lot better than everyone else.

    So when a movie like GODS OF EGYPT comes out and stacks the cast with white guys, it just throws some light onto a problem that is not only systemic within our entertainment industry but also within our society as a whole.

    Also Griff thank you for sharing your personal experiences with gender fluidity. Don’t be hard on yourself and refer to it as “dysmorphia” which has so many negative connotations. I sincerely wish you all the best with exploring that aspect of yourself and I hope that you find peace and acceptance regardless of what the outcome may be. There is no shame in that particular game, my friend.

  83. “But the Gods in Thor are not actually Scandanavian”. Right. They’re also, as indicative of the “God” label, not actually human. Nor therefore would the “Gods” of Egypt be any more so actual humans or actual Egyptians. Or so it can logically be presumed, given the logic we’re applying here. So the choice to make from there is whether or not the rhyme and reason of human ethnicity applies to inhuman deities. And that given choice makes the 2 given deity depiction complaints either valid or vapid.

    Now how did I pull off that response without tossin character aspersions (bereft of empathy as I am), when that hurdle seems to be a bit to high for our enlightened, inclusive, progressive friendo Maj.

  84. I wouldn’t say the world is more racist now, it’s just that we are more educated about it and see things as racist, that we accepted as normal before. And of course internet and media are able to hit us over the head with it 24/7. People also say that today’s world is more violent, but come on, a few centuries ago public executions were a socially accepted fun event for the whole family! When was the last time that you went to a public hanging or beheading, without being in a part of the world, that was run by some fashist dictatorship?

  85. My last comment is awaiting moderation? Do Mixalots dream of electric spambots?

  86. I got drunk last night, which is not a good idea when having an argument or debate online. I don´t wish to re-read what I wrote in a drunken state , but if I came across harshly I apologize.

  87. Also when / if my comment survives moderation I of course meant *white and not *non-white people in the third paragraph. I neglected to delete the “non” prefix when I was editing the shit which completely altered the meaning of its content. Apologies fellas. You know how it is sometimes when you get passionate about some shit and a few mistakes sneak through making you look like an asshole. Not that I need any help in that respect.

  88. CJ is right. Crime statistics are sinking all over the world. We are safer now than we’ve been in long, long while. But every moron on the planet seem to have a facebook and twitter account, where they pour out their hate of just about everything. You can’t even have a picture of a nipple on face without it getting censored. But violent, hateful and/or racist messages are okay. Politics on the other hand have developed rather quickly into something we haven’t seen in the last 70 years. The notion that a person can gather a lot of votes by spitting out lies, racism and hate worries me more than a hundred idiots telling me about how much they hate the new GHOSTBUSTERS film.

  89. What I guess I don’t understand is why people are so concerned that more people of color might be cast in film roles? There will still be movies for and by white dudes, which I’m okay with since I’m a white dude. But art is not just about reporting back to us about our own experiences (although it can do that as well). It’s also about understanding in at least a small way the experience of others. This only works if there are more women and minorities in front of and behind the camera. And just to echo Majestyk on this, that’s something that I, a white guy, wants to see.

  90. * This is the post that is currently awaiting moderation, I think because my internet kinda crapped out when I was trying to submit it. I’m reposting just to address something that Griff mentioned that I think was very brave of him to divulge and also to amend the weird oversight I made in the third paragraph. Hope this one makes it through and sorry of it ends up as a duplicate post.

    In my opinion denouncing white privilege is akin to denouncing the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Of course there are scores of white people living in abject poverty. Does that mean we have to completely disregard the fact that the vast majority of wealth and power is distributed in our society amongst white people too? One statistic doesn’t negate the other.

    Life is fucking hard. I deal with serious mental health issues and financial struggles on a daily basis. My family had to move countries when I was a child to escape a national recession and a non-existent job market. Not to mention the fact that that was even a viable and encouraged option for us. Do I still feel like, as a white person who has had immediate access to societal benefits that minorities were denied until very fucking recently and in many cases are still denied to this day, that I was born into a position of privilege? Absolutely.

    I’ve never been profiled because of the colour of my skin. I’ve never been attacked because of my religious beliefs or the clothing that I wear (except by white guys who have roasted me about wearing skinny jeans as they pass me on the street which I’m sure we can all agree is equal to if not worse than people calling someone a terrorist or a faggot or a slut etc). Admitting that white privilege exists and has existed for the longest fucking time isn’t the same thing as apologising for who you are or where you came from. It’s accepting that generally, historically, and consistently, white people (and especially white males) have had it a hell of a lot better than everyone else.

    So when a movie like GODS OF EGYPT comes out and stacks the cast with white guys, it just throws some light onto a problem that is not only systemic within our entertainment industry but also within our society as a whole.

    Also Griff thank you for sharing your personal experiences with gender fluidity. Don’t be hard on yourself and refer to it as “dysmorphia” which has so many negative connotations. I sincerely wish you all the best with exploring that aspect of yourself and I hope that you find peace and acceptance regardless of what the outcome may be. There is no shame in that particular game, my friend.

  91. Tried to repost but got flagged again. Not sure what I’m doing to contravene the posting regulations here but there was nothing offensive, abusive or hateful about the post I was trying to submit. What gives, mods??

  92. DAY-amn! One sassy molassy turf war happenin’ all up in this mug.

    Think I’ll sit this one out and reread the whole thread later, if & when the cease fire takes hold.

  93. Mixalot, I’m guessing it’s just the technology…every now and then I get a spam block, even when what I’m posting is not particularly obnoxious (that 5% minority of my posts). I think it’s just an algorithm being triggered by overall anomalous comment frequency for a given post or person or sumtn like that.

    Kind of a ramble here…I only believe maybe 77% of what I’m about to say:

    I think statistics are important, which is why I’m not going to actually cite any but am instead going to make observations and then not back them up with numbers. If you did an overall statistical analysis, I think you’d find that in terms of roles in general and starring roles in particular, and positive heroic starring roles in general, ethnic minorities and women are underrepresented, even relative to their population size. So, it’s easy to cherrypick examples of where it feels like a minority person is taking a role from a white person and to cite that as a double standard or reverse racism or whatever. But the reality is that, counting up over all movies, I’m pretty sure that whites are over-represented in general and in major and positive roles in particular. So, citing counterexamples is flawed and sometimes disingenuous, since you can always find 1-2 examples to support any particular position, but the real question is what is the more accurate generalization–what’s the modal trend, what’s a reasonable generalization vs. a cherry picked example-based overgeneratlization? Idris Elba as a maybe-maybe-not Norse god is an example of a cherrypicked exception that proves the rule.

    I also think economics and market research and crap are also more important than we’re letting on in this thread. I don’t always think that the calculating studio heads are wrong in some of their decisions. They do want to make money, so if they feel like having more minorities or more girl power or more older action heros or whatever will give them more money, that is what they will do. If you build the demographic, they will make the movie…kind of thing. They’re always motivated by greed, so it’s more a question of them accurately or inaccurately calculating what is going to make them money.

    With that in mind, I think some folks are selling studio execs short. In many cases, I think studios are motivated to have a more diverse cast, precisely because they know that will attract a broader audience. That’s why you see Will Ferrell teaming up with Kevin Hart: it’s savvy, shrewd, cross-demographic marketing (it’s also a shitty film in that case, save yourself some money) to appeal to the 40-something white demographic and the Kevin Hart “urban demographic.” It’s also why you see a film like Creed happening, and having real cross-over appeal despite having strong African American lead characters. And the demographic shifts are also why you’re seeing old-guy action films like Expendables and stuff (now with Death Wish)–the perception that there’s a 40-something-to-middle-aged/baby boomer demographic that will pay for this stuff.

    Similarly, jokes aside, you’re not going to see a lot of older woman-headlined action vehicles, because I’m guessing those would not make a lot of money (maybe as Angelina Jolie gets older or something, she will prove an exception). So, the “why aren’t more older Asian woman action stars?” question (that I just made up but is somewhat analogous to some of these questions) really is a function of demographics and perceived audience demand. There are certain special events, like Sigoureny Weaver battling aliens, that may bring people to the box office, but those are special cases. There just isn’t the franchise, commodity-type audience for a middle aged woman action star.

    Bottom line here:
    1. Studios are usually motivated by money, and money trumps prejudice. They’ll take money from anyone who wants to give it, and they’ll give people whatever they think will make money. Not that the judgments are always rational or prescient, but greed usually trumps prejudice.

    2. I think there are cases where trying to increase diversity or inclusion in terms of very precise quotas (we need more older Asian female action heros) does kind of border on ridiculous, and there really isn’t a big audience for things like that in terms of recurring, franchise, commodity type money. No one wants to see Joan Chen headline the next Transformers (I don’t even want to see the next Transformers under any circumstances, but that’s beside the point). Furthermore, some of the cases where filmmakers bucked the tide, e.g., in casting older (white) women in action films kind of backfired in my opinion. Neither Karen Allen nor Carrie Fisher did much for me in their recent big budget action outings–they just felt off, out of their depth…weird. That’s random, but just saying.

    3. Studios are doing more to include more diverse casts when they see it as financially sensible. Furious films and Creed are examples. My only point here is that the moralism and overgeneralizations and finger-wagging is a little out of place. These studio execs are motivated by money and ego (=box office and critical acclaim), and hollywood has typically been ahead of the curve in advancing liberal causes and trying to showcase more diversity. Even if they do imperfectly and are sometimes tone-deaf and racist (so am I), I don’t think it’s some evil conspiracy or systemic disease or bunch of collectively racist people. It’s greedy, non-omniscient, imperfect people doing the best they can.

    Again, none of that is intended to dismiss criticism. These are big boys and girls, so they can take the criticism, and I think the dialogue is good, if a bit overly black-and-white, histrionic, and knee-jerk accusatory than I would often like.

  94. Lets get this straight: this is not a piling on of white people. This is white people feeling uncomfortable being criticized for basically the first time ever. As it’s been said before, the complaints with this movie have been levied against other films for decades. It is only now that the voices are being heard. You guys that are feeling the sting should feel it but don’t take it personally. Myself and other people of color have been judged on the whole for a lot longer and we’re still kickin.

  95. Simon, I think some of the psychology here is that there are white folks, from slightly conservative to slight liberal on the spectrum, who are stressed about the economic situation and their prospects, feeling a bit of white guilt, feeling a little besieged that some of “white privilege” is being eroded as our society becomes more diverse, feeling a little nervous or defensive or prickly about the increasing criticism and playing of the racist-card. It’s great to be a white guy if you’re a studio executive or Rupert Murdoch or a fairly successful white collar person. But if your particular story as a young white male is feeling underemployed, underpaid, undervalued, and likewise being shamed or having your ass-kicked about your privilege or how much better you have it than everyone else, it’s easy to feel kind of pissed off at the world and tired of being shit on not only by the economy but also by everyone else for supposedly being in “the 1%” by virtue of being a white man but when you’re actual quality of life has got you below the median or even close to the poverty line.

    And that is where I think some of the alienated defensive white guys like myself have a point. Not all white people are living the dream, running Fortune 500 companies and sniffing cocaine off hookers’ asses with Patrick Bateman and Charlie Sheen. Many of us are having a rough time of it, too, and it gets a little tiring when, on top of your own shitty life, you’re constantly being reminded of how privileged you are and how you’re the man and how you need to make it your top priority to join every other identity group in being pissed off about their particular source of current outrage.

    Not saying this is the objectively correct outcome, but I think it’s possible and wortwhile to have empathy for some of this white male alienation as well.

    White Male Privilege Squandered On Job At Best Buy

    HAMILTON, OH—Despite being the beneficiary of numerous societal advantages and having faced little to no major adversity throughout his life, local man Travis Benton has spent the last four years squandering his white male privilege on a sales floor...

  96. And not all people of color are going to be living the dream either just because some white people aren’t getting jobs that they were accustomed to getting. Welcome to the party Richter.

  97. Who said they are?

    My point is that the nub of a lot of the criticism directed at white people and white privilege is about how those white people are not showing empathy or regard for the needs, representation, and emotional experiences of others who belong to different demographic groupds: that white people need to be more sensitive and empathic. And your basic response to a situation in which I ask you to try to momentarily adopt a viewpoint other than your own and attempt to empathize with it (which is what you are berating others for failing to do) is to dismiss it as not valid. Why should I even engage in a dialogue with you if your basic position is, people who disagree with me or don’t yet understand my viewpoint are entitled assholes who don’t deserve to be listened to and don’t deserve even a half-assed attempt at empathy, benefit-of-the-doubt, and perspective-taking?

  98. Skani – I’m sure that was all it was – just wanted to let Griff know that I think his conflict with gender fluidity and his courage for sharing it here should be applauded even though he and I don’t seem to agree with other views pertinent to this topic.

    Simon Phoenix – 100% agree with your post. Some people here are getting personally salty when none of this is a direct attack on them as a person. No matter what they identify as. Does any white person here honestly believe, regardless of their quality of life or what has brought them to where they are today, that their ancestors were subjugated or oppressed or undermined to the same or even similar degrees as others who were not of the same race or ethnicity? Or male? Or straight? Or that oppression and hatred of minorities has not permeated our collective history prior to and including our current lifetimes? Not everywhere of course, but in prevalent and undeniable sectors across the globe? Or that the road to equality from all of that bullshit has been harsh and brutal and completely and utterly fucked and still ongoing? Or how that of course leaks out into areas such as whitewashing in the entertainment industry in all of its facets? Which is why a discussion of the casting choices in GODS OF EGYPT got this comment section so fired up in the first place.

    I mean no disrespect or offence to anyone in the comments who don’t share my point of view. Got so much love for all of you. But this is very strongly how I feel.

  99. If may crash your little debate here for a minute; What we ask, or want – and I’m only speaking for myself, my nearest friends and lefties everywhere – is that the groups who feel underappreciated and misrepresented don’t turn these feelings into hate towards people that’s basically in the same situation. Hate the billionares that did this to you, not your neighbour. There are politicians out there now who nourishes and feeds off these emotions. And frankly this is how all fascistic movements start.

  100. Mixalot, I think your basic position is right, but I think you’re being a little too narrow. That statistical generalization (which is true and meaningful) often feels like its really a cover for saying, “I (poster x) am an ethnic minority, and you (poster y with whom I debating) are a white male. And although neither of us really has much specific insight into the other’s life history, opportunities, or current experiences, you should just know (and go ahead and admit) on the basis of statistical generalizations, that my life is definitely way harder and more unpleasant than yours. Whatever it is you are going through or have gone through, just go ahead and assume that your life is way easier than mine, regardless of what you may have been through that I don’t even know about and vice versa. Keep in mind, you’re a white male and I’m [], and that is pretty much the main determinant of our respective life experiences and outcomes. And if you disagree, your a clueless defensive douchebag. K? Take care.”

    Also, where do Jews fit in? They are fairly white and have had to contend with the occasional setback. And where do first-wave historical eastern european and irish and italian immigrants to the U.S. fit into this scheme? They all had substantial problems with discrimination and exclusion from different job markets. You think they were all just one big happy white family looking after each other? Hell no.

    Also, somewhere buried under Griff’s somewhat hypberbolic reverse racism angst there is a legitimate point. We’re in this weird proxy war argument where we rally to the defense of different groups of rich-to-super-rich media celebrities and elites who happen to share our ethnic identification or gender (whether we’re identifying more naturally with Ryan Coogler or Matt Damon or Lena Dunham or Mindy Kaling). We basically act as though race or gender is the driving factor here, when social-economic class is arguably even bigger. My guess is that the people arguing on this discussion board have far more in common with one another in terms of quality of life, economic prospects, etc. than any of us does with any of the celebrities or Hollywood types that we’re rallying around.

    I don’t deny the fact that racism is a thing or that, other things being equal, a white male is going to have a somewhat better shot than a non-white non-male (note: other things are never equal). However, I think this is the essence of bad identity politics, which is to basically say that the most important distinction to make at all times is the distinction between people who are part of of the identity group I most closely and intensely identify with
    vs. the people who are part of the group to which I most attribute my life problems. So, rather than being another human being with whom you might actually share a lot in common (recreation interests and tastes, economic class), Griff or whomever is just a white douchebag, part of the 1%.

    I actually think that is very much a kind of reverse stereotyping and categorizing, where you dismiss or flatten out the views and life experiences of any person who belongs to a group and doesn’t share your views. It’s not a question of being color-blind, its a question of the opposite extreme–literally seeing nothing but color to the point where you can dismiss or piss on a person’s whole viewpoint and outlook in a reductionist fashion a la “tough shit, get over it white douchebag.” At that point, you’re really not much better than the people you’re criticizing. It’s just ethnic tribalism.

    To reiterate: Racism, sexism, homophobia= real, impactful things. From that it does not follow that every [insert ethnic and/or gender non-majority identification here] person automatically has a harder life than every white male or that you have a harder life than me. And I would submit that this frequently is the subtext of these discussions, and it’s both self-righteous, patently stupid, and unproductive.

  101. As a pretty standard-issue white straight cis dude I’m pretty bored with white straight cis dudes in my media tbh.

    I mean I don’t mind them but the more perspectives from people whose experiences are far distant from mine are available the happier I am. There’s already more white dude comfort food out there than I can work my way through in this lifetime.

  102. Pegsman, I entirely agree. My point is that, whether you think they have a right to feel disaffected or besieged or not, disaffected lower-middle class white males are clearly feeling besieged and are rallying around a guy like Trump who is this kind of Dirty Harry meets Gordon Gekko who is effectively harnessing this angst and channeling it for his own ends. I don’t deny that the whole thing is ironic, tragi-comic, and full of inherent contradictions. I’m just saying: ignore or dismiss this phenomenon at your own peril. I’m also saying, don’t be an asshole: don’t pretend race and gender don’t matter; and don’t pretend they’re literally all that matters.

    Anyway, Don’t worry, pegsman: I’ll be voting for Hillary, albeit holding my nose.

  103. Skani – I wasn’t trying to argue a representative position, just that the expression of one binary appraisal of an issue will never fully grant that issue argumentative weight. Sorry if I came across as narrow. That was never my intent. Hopefully my post that is in lingo appears at some point so you can see that I was trying to also approach this issue from a personal level and that I’m not at all suggesting that the statistical facets of the debate are all that I value.

  104. No, it’s all good MIXALOT. I didn’t really take you that way, I was really just reacting to your 100% endorsement of what Phoenix is saying. My reaction to what Phoenix is saying is a bit more mixed:
    *80% endorse his core point (I think)
    *99% sympathetic with the underlying worldview (media is too white male-dominated; equality and economic justice are worth striving for; big rich fat cats and corporations are the real 1%; racism and sexism are real and bad things)
    *100% think the basic tenor of his last post was dickish, dismissive, and fundamentally hypocritical.

  105. Skani – I wasn’t endorsing Simon’s second post at all because it felt snarky and dismissive to me but it appeared while I was writing a new comment so I didn’t see it in the thread until after it went up. I think his first post is on point though.

  106. Copy. Sorry, Mixalot. I pretty much agree with Simon’s first post there, too. And I definitely agree that the reverse racism besieged paranoia thing does not track well with reality. Just trying to provide some visibility into where some of the white male defensiveness comes from to improve the empathy factor.

    Just saying, though. If they let Idris Elba play Donald Trump…

    I’m totally paying to see that. :)

  107. Skani – Kings to anyone trying to improve the empathy factor my friend, and kings to you for doing likewise. I love this site so much for allowing people to engage in respectful discourse without it ever (generally) getting out of control.

    And Idris Elba would play the shit out of Donald Trump. Big Diis could play the shit out of any role in my opinion

  108. Skani,

    I will apologize for my last post. You summed it up correctly when you said it came across as dickish and dismissive. I could have worded it better for sure but the point still remains that the plight of POC in film far outweighs the recent struggle of white actors being on the other side of the coin for a change.

  109. No disagreement at all. Peace.

  110. The Original Paul

    March 6th, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    The problem with “white privilege” is that it’s invisible. Is it possible to feel “privileged” because of something that doesn’t happen to you? As a person who’s male, straight and white, I should feel privileged because 1) I don’t get random strangers groping me while on public transport, 2) I don’t get denied legal rights because I can’t love or marry a woman, and 3) I don’t run a 90% higher risk of being “stopped and searched” by any random police officer who happens to see me on the street. Which only goes to prove that suffering is relative. It’s why the “You should feel guilty for complaining about your low wage when millions of people in third-world countries make do with a pittance” argument doesn’t work. And for the life of me I don’t understand what I’m supposed to do about any of this. I tried voting in progressive politicians, and look how that panned out. (Badly, to say the least.)

    Maybe I’m oversensitive now, but the fact is that I used to be the kind of person who’d refuse to consider any viewpoint but his own. I don’t much like the person I was back then and I don’t want to go back to being that way. I don’t want to dismiss the valid concerns of people who feel that there’s too much pressure being put on them. I think the key, as Skani says, is to improve the “empathy factor”. Or to look for common points of view that can be used to build bridges, not opposing ones that create an “us and them” situation.

  111. The Original Paul

    March 6th, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    And I agree 110% with Mixalot on this:

    “I love this site so much for allowing people to engage in respectful discourse without it ever (generally) getting out of control.”

    Peace, friends.

  112. Co-sign that, Original Paul and co. This place is such a great and generally safe outlet for expressing your views and having them challenged in a good way and being able to do vice versa and then not taking shit too personally for too long. I feel like I learn a lot from generally sane people sharing views here (which is most all of you), even when the views differ somewhat from mine. I’m still a jackass, but I’m now enriched with 80% less jackassery than when I first started posting here (so one hopes, at least); and I credit Vern for creating that kind of a culture, and then you all for preserving and embodying it. Peace, y’all.

  113. Let’s be honest. “White privilege” is the worst possible name for that thing. It’s basically an invitation to easily dismiss it because: “I’m white, but poor, unemployed, in bad health, had to work hard for my scholarship, etc, where is that privilege you are talking about?”, although it’s not really about THAT kind of privilege. I’m sure whoever came up with that term wishes he had chosen more wisely.

  114. Yeah. The term usually refers more to disadvantages than privileges, and would have been better understood if named and applied accordingly.

  115. Rogue, I don’t think we’re understanding each other. I agree that “the Gods of Egypt” don’t logically need to be Egyptian, as explained in the review and in comments. But I also explained in both why the way they do it in the movie is still offensive.

    Also I still gave an overall positive review to the movie. I’m not dismissing it as racist, just agreeing with the popular opinion/assumption that it was a distracting mistake to cast the movie this way.

  116. 1-900-MIXALOT – Thank you very much.

  117. Skani, here’s a link to statistics on the issue that I posted in the LILA & EVE thread, if you missed it. You are correct that minorities are underrepresented, especially in major roles. And even more so behind the camera.

    How racially skewed are the Oscars?

    Some revealing findings from the data since 2000

    And another article with a link to a way more in depth study showing minorities and women are underrepresented. And that movies with diverse casts make more money. Given that, along with the under-representation of minorities, it seems to me executives are actually behind the curve on chasing that sweet, sweet multi-ethnic dollar. I suspect that will change though over the next several years given the increasing minority population. Especially with Hollywood gently nuzzling at China’s neck hoping to get in on all that yuan.

    Movies With Diverse Casts Make More Money

    A new report finds that movies with half non-white actors perform best.

    Of course the downside to more diversity is that it means Hollywood is going to be bringing over more Iko Uwaises and Donnie Yens and wasting their talents while simultaneously preventing them from starring in better movies only they could make back in their home countries. Sadly there is no perfect world.

  118. I’m sorry if I talk out of my ass sometimes, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not perfect and not always right.

    I think part of my problem is all of this is just so new to me, I’m a guy who’s still pretty stuck in the 00’s, the cultural changes of the 2010s were so sudden and unexpected to me that I get whiplash from it and thus a sort of kneejerk negative reaction to it, I imagine there were guys in the 1960’s who probably felt the same way given the cultural changes of that era.

    The transgender thing has especially been a real mind blower, it was something I never really thought about before, but looking back on my life there’s a lot of things that suddenly make a lot more sense, I’m not officially saying I’m transgender or anything, but I have learned that gender is a far more fluid thing than I ever could have imagined and it is a challenge to suddenly be calling your whole identity into question, thanks 2010s.

    I’m not necessarily saying that I think what I’ve said is wrong, but I’m just saying cut me some slack if you disagree, this is a crazy fucking decade we’re living in folks and it can be hard to keep up.

  119. Griff – calling your identity into question is a good thing and I applaud you for digging into it rather than pushing it aside because it feels scary or new. Sorry if you felt that I was one of the posters going in on you too strongly. Your values and opinions are of course just as important as anyone else’s regardless if others agree with them or not and no one should make you feel bad for expressing them. Unless you just straight up drop some hateful indefensible shit which I am sure you would never do.

    I will strive to be less abrasive in the future if that was how you felt / in general my comments have been interpreted on this site because I do not want to be come across as an asshole. And if my comments haven’t been interpreted that way I don’t think it hurts to attempt to be a little kinder and more understanding to others anyway so here’s to improving oneself and being a better, more thoughtful person.

  120. Great stuff, you guys. Jake, good data there. Griff, keep on griffin’. Mixalot, keep on mixin.’ Okay, I’ll just post the full lyrics to higher ground.

    No, seriously, it’s bound to be a loaded cache of topics, where emotions run high. When the worth, depiction, representation, or life outcomes of a group with which one identifies are on the line, that’s in part your own identity, self-worth, and quality of life on the line, so, of course, emotions run high and opinions are strong. I just hope we can continue to learn from and really listen to one another vs. just polishing one’s talking points and stroking one’s own sense of moral superiority. And I think where this thread is at now encourages me that people are actually listening with relatively open minds and respect. You bunch of assholes.

    Keep on mixin!

  121. Yeah, way to go being open-minded and non-hateful, you pieces of shits. Just kidding. I more than anyone welcome a more diverse and divided opinionated debate. It can so easily become that everyone agrees with each other and that is very counter-productive as they become more and more convinced that their world-view is the only one that has any validity as they are met with only the same opinion as their own. Good work, you guys. Proud of you sumsbitches

  122. Griff— I think perhaps you’re confusing the transgender metamorphosis with androgyny. Very different critters, I assure you.

  123. I guess it’s just me but I found this to be delightful in every sense of the word. It’s got the same “i can’t believe they got this greenlit” batshit vibe as Jupiter Ascending, but with an actual (albeit more familiar) story. It’s got a plot that makes sense, stakes that are made clear. It has decent world-building and interesting characters that interact with each other in interesting ways. It has tons of jokes and one-liners, so much that if I had to categorize it in one genre I’d go for mismatched-buddy comedy. It’s got a fun, campy villain and decent action sequences. I’ll say it right now – the script is stronger than Clash of the Titans ’81, and if this movie was made back then (or today with retro stop-motion FX instead of terrible CGI), film nerds would be tripping over themselves to talk about how awesome it is.

    Re: The Whitewashing, I think that’s kind of an oversimplified, reductive term to use, considering one of the coolest supporting characters is black and I guess the fact that one of the LEADS is an Asian woman torpedoes that outraged narrative. It’s supposed to be wacky over-the-top fantasy- getting mad at this is like getting mad at the “unrealistic” casting in the “Remember the Time” video. Besides, who the heck were they supposed to cast? The only Egyptian actor Hollywood might consider is Rami Malek and I’m sure he’d rather be off doing Mr. Robot than working on this cheese.

    I argue that the bigger crime is that Butler and Waldau have already been in sword-and-sandal adventures too similar to this, and Waldau in general is pretty miscast, considering he’s supposed to be Butler’s nephew but he’s only one year younger than him in real life. Not to mention his hero’s journey of going from party-animal to man of the people feels like Chris Pine-era Captain Kirk, not something a 46 year old should be playing.

    Anyway, it’s fun and harmless and I highly recommend it.

  124. I was surprised that some of my buddies who are usually harder on this type of movie than I am liked it more than I did. It seems to have more cult potential than I realized.

  125. I saw this back when it was in the theater, and I gotta say…it was a real fun ride. Good enough I almost rented it for a re-watch the other day.

    Vern said in his review of WORLD OF WARCRAFT about a month ago “I’m kinda into this type of movie.” I fall into the same type of kinda into as he does…I have seen and enjoyed almost all the modern CGI filled post LORD OF THE RINGS/300/etc movies in the theater, and while they are never in my top ten lists, they also rarely fail to entertain.

    This one is towards the top of the heap. The fun performances, the weird world it takes place in and the very tolerable SyFy channel on steroids aesthetic make this one a cool cult movie than can simultaneously satisfy your kid at heart or be fodder at your next bad movie party. It aims to entertain and it achieves this goal.

  126. Just watched it and enjoyed it. I’m glad that some people are still making that kind of movie and I hope they will give the current generation of kids as much enjoyment as the classic Harryhausen flicks and their imitators gave me.

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