R-rated superhero movies may be the hottest "new" thing in town now that Deadpool is ruling the box office, but there have been plenty of mature comic book adaptations that have paved the way over the years. Among the best known examples is 1994 cult hit The Crow, based on the comics by James O'Barr, which is currently in the process of getting a long-delayed big screen reboot. The Crow director Alex Proyas, whose other credits include Dark City and I, Robot, most recently helmed fantasy epic Gods of Egypt, which arrived in theaters this weekend.
Unfortunately, Gods of Egypt seems to have fallen prey to the continued box office domination of Deadpool, which is #1 at the box office for the third week in a row, while Gods of Egypt has opened to just $14 million across 3,117 theaters - pretty disastrous considering its $140 million production budget. Deadpool may not be entirely to blame, however; marketing presence and audience buzz for Gods of Egypt has been minimal, and last year the movie came under fire for having a nearly all-white cast despite being set in Egypt. Moreover, the film has been critically panned in the wake of its release, scoring just 13% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
The combination of Gods of Egypt's box office and critical consensus seems to have been the final straw for Proyas, who took to Facebook to share a vitriolic rant about film reviewers in "this modern age of texting." Dismissing the objections to the movie's main cast (which includes Brenton Thwaites, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Gerard Butler) as political correctness, Proyas posits that modern critics write reviews based on the existing consensus rather than their own personal opinions. Read his thoughts in full below:
NOTHING CONFIRMS THE RAMPANT STUPIDITY OF MAN-KIND... Like reading reviews of my own movies. I usually try to avoid the experience - but this one takes the cake. Often, to my great amusement, a critic will mention my past films in glowing terms, when at the time those same films were savaged, as if to highlight the critic's flawed belief of my descent into mediocrity. You see, my dear fellow FBookers, I have never gotten great reviews… on any movie I’ve made really, apart from those by reviewers who think for themselves and make up their own opinions. Sadly those type of reviewers are nearly all dead. I guess I have the knack of rubbing reviewers the wrong way - always have.
This time of course they have bigger axes to grind - they can rip into my movie while trying to make their mainly pale asses look so politically correct by screaming "white-wash!!!” like the deranged idiots they all are. They fail to understand, or chose to pretend to not understand what this movie is, so as to serve some bizarre consensus of opinion which has nothing to do with the movie at all. That’s ok, this modern age of texting has rendered them less than worthless, so they will probably go the way of the dinosaur or the newspaper shortly - don't movie-goers text their friends with what they thought of a movie? Seems most critics spend their time trying to work out what most people will want to hear. How do you do that? Why these days it is so easy... just surf the net to read other reviews or what bloggers are saying - no matter how misguided an opinion of a movie might be before it actually comes out.
Lock a critic in a room with a movie no one has even seen and they will not know what to make of it. Because contrary to what a critic should probably be they have no personal taste or opinion, because they are basing their views on the status quo. None of them are brave enough to say “well I like it” if it goes against consensus. Therefore they are less than worthless. Now that anyone can post their opinion about anything from a movie to a pair of shoes to a hamburger, what value do they have - nothing.
Roger Ebert wasn’t bad. He was a true film lover at least, a failed film-maker, which gave him a great deal of insight. His passion for film was contagious and he shared this with his fans. He loved films and his contribution to cinema as a result was positive. Now we have a pack of diseased vultures pecking at the bones of a dying carcass. Trying to peck to the rhythm of the consensus. I applaud any film-goer who values their own opinion enough to not base it on what the pack-mentality say is good or bad.
Proyas' words will no doubt strike a chord among some; almost no film review - good or bad - goes uncriticized by readers, whether for straying too far from the consensus or for sticking too closely to it. But while the review scores for Gods of Egypt do generally fall at the same end of the spectrum (save for a handful of reviewers who found it enjoyably bizarre), it seems inaccurate to claim that reviewers strive to all say the same thing; from experience in those circles, critics seem to love disagreeing with one another more than anything.
Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with Proyas, it's pretty ill-advised to release such a rant in the wake of Gods of Egypt's weak launch, since it makes it too easy for people to ascribe the director's views to bitterness rather than clear-headed observation. In any case, if you think that Gods of Egypt looks like fun then we encourage you to go and see it - regardless of what the critics say.
Gods of Egypt is in theaters now.
Source: Alex Proyas