Category Archives: Crossposted

Gods of Egypt

GodsOfEgyptGods of Egypt is a secondary world fantasy which, for reasons I cannot divine, was branded with Egyptian mythological names. It didn’t need Egypt at all, and probably would have been stronger if it had dropped all pretense of being Egyptian, and simply told a story that stood up to the pretty amazing quality of the effects.

The effects? So pretty. Some of the battle scenes are worthy of blockbuster summer releases, passing the tests of comprehensibility, story, and character arc while being a visual treat.

Ra’s ship, moving the sun across the sky? Stunning in its physics-defying absurdity, right up to the point that this might as well be a flat world scenario… and then lo, it’s a flat world after all (with apologies to Walt Disney and Terry Pratchett.)

The goddess whose bracelet prevents the demons of the netherworld from claiming her? SO COOL when she uses that bracelet for something reckless, stupid, and effective. It would have been even better if this had been her story, and hadn’t been set in Fake Egypt, and hrr—

I was going to add a third item to that “even better if” list, but the list ballooned into a script for a completely different movie so I deleted it.

Gods of Egypt did manage one thing: it cleared my Threshold of Disappointment by virtue of being cool to look at when I was in the mood to simply look at cool stuff. It doesn’t really qualify as a popcorn flick, and fails completely to leverage the mystique of ancient Egypt for anything other than the initial ticket sale. That alone promises to disappoint a large number of people who want more from their movie money than I wanted today.

Kung Fu Panda 3

KungFuPanda3I am impressed.

I was not expecting the Kung Fu Panda franchise to become an epic martial arts trilogy, but with Kung Fu Panda 3 the writers looked sequelitis in the eye, and then shot for the moon. Which they hit. This mixes at least two metaphors, but with the Dreamworks crescent moon logo in the blend I think I’m allowed the indulgence.

Put another way, they took a big risk, and it paid off.

Back in 2011 Kung Fu Panda 2 left me amazed, and more than a little surprised. The craft on display there was exemplary, and in all of the best ways. Kung Fu Panda 3 brought that same level of craft to the screen, and put paid on promises made in the first two movies. I’d say more, but some of the payoff is very much worth not spoiling.

There’s a line early on which I will spoil for you. (I’m quoting from memory, so please excuse any errors.)

“If you only do what you can, you will never become more than you are.” —Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman)

Kung Fu Panda 3 clears my Threshold of Awesome, and takes the #1 slot for the year. Not hard, given that as of this writing¹ I’ve seen exactly two movies, but impressive nonetheless.

¹UPDATE: And now it is July 9th. My 2016 list has 18 films on it, and Kung Fu Panda 3 is still on top. I watched the Kung Fu Panda 3 Blu-Ray² last night, and stand by my rankings.  

²As Blu-Rays go, it’s fine, provided you’re just there for the film. The Panda Party song and Panda Paws featurettes are disappointing. The deleted scenes (Faux Paws) is a nice tool for writers, though, because the directors tell us why these scenes, which were quite good, had to be cut.