The Bog of Lost Scholars

March 22, 2007

Mummies on the Big Screen!

Filed under: Film and Media — castiron @ 8:35 am

I’d been given a free ticket to the local IMAX theater, so I went to see Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs.

Eh.

Overall, this isn’t the kind of movie that translates well to IMAX. The views of ancient Egyptian statuary and temples, now, were nifty; the IMAX scene conveys the size and majesty in a way my television doesn’t. So as an advertisement for Egyptian tourism (assuming any of those sites are open to the public), it worked.

(On a tangent, I have to put in a plug for a forthcoming UTP book that I kept thinking of while watching this movie: L. L. Wynn, Pyramids and Nightclubs. Wynn compares Western and Arab tourism of Egypt: Westerners go for the archaeology, the grand treasures of an ancient civilization, while Arabs go for the modern culture, the live entertainment — rather like Americans go to Vegas.)

The dramatizations of scenes from ancient Egypt were quite neat too, although they’d have worked as well on a small screen. The temple scenes were especially interesting. And they picked a very, er, visually intriguing actor to play Ramses. Ramses the Great, indeed! (wipes off drool)

But mummified human bodies aren’t especially enhanced by presentation on big screen. And the dramatization of the search for and finding of the mummies of Egyptian pharaohs — well, it certainly made me ponder European colonialism, if that’s what they intended to do. And while I learned a little bit from the movie, I left wishing there’d been a little more information presented. (Yes, I can certainly go find out more on my own at places like the British Museum’s Egypt page. But since my free hours are limited, it’d have been nice to have a bit more meat in the one I just spent.)

So overall, if I’d seen this on PBS, it would have been a reasonably enjoyable program to watch. If I’d actually paid for the ticket instead of receiving it as a freebie, I’d feel a little cheated.

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