Monday, January 4, 2016

#1,967. Mysteries of Egypt (1998)

Directed By: Bruce Neibaur

Starring: Omar Sharif, Kate Maberly, Timothy Davies

Line from the film: "Our story begins with a death..."

Trivia: This film won the Gold Camera Award for History at the 1999 U.S. International Film and Video Festival

The Pyramids of Giza. The Sphinx. The Nile River. King Tut’s tomb. A land as timeless as it is elegant, Egypt is filled with ancient wonders, and the 1998 IMAX film Mysteries of Egypt sheds some light on this exotic land, as well as the monuments and legends that make it so unique.

A grandfather (Omar Sharif) is sitting in a restaurant with his granddaughter (Kate Maberly), who asks him about the "Mummy’s curse", which was supposedly unleashed in 1922 when explorer Howard Carter discovered the tomb of the boy king Tutankhamun, a find that yielded some of the greatest treasure the world has ever seen. The grandfather promises to tell this story, but only if the young girl is willing to learn about the country’s most revered landmarks, including the pyramids, the oldest of the seven wonders of the ancient world (and the only ones still standing). In addition to its man-made monuments, the grandfather reveals some amazing facts about the Nile, the longest river in Africa (it spans some 4,000 miles), and the vital role it played in making Egypt one of history’s most powerful civilizations. Then, to satisfy her curiosity, he tells her about the curse, and the unexplained deaths that surrounded the discovery of Tut’s tomb. It’s a grand tale, to be sure, but thanks to her grandfather, the young girl realizes it’s but one of Egypt’s many intriguing mysteries.

Yet, despite covering so much territory, Mysteries of Egypt is geared towards those looking for only a basic understanding of the country and its rich history (many aspects are glossed over, or only mentioned in passing). It’s a great movie to show kids who know very little about Egypt (along with its often stunning cinematography, the film features a handful of well-staged re-enactments, including the ancient burial of King Tut). But if you’re an adult who’s heard it all before, Mysteries of Egypt, though pretty to look at, may have a hard time keeping your attention.

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