Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs
by Fumo Verde
This is one for the history nut inside all of us, or maybe just me. King Tut was the boy king who reigned over Upper and Lower Egypt some three thousand years ago. His rule wasn’t anything special and he achieved basically nothing when it came to the political state of Egypt. One of his predecessors, Akhenaton had this crazy idea of monotheism where everybody prayed to him, because he thought he was a direct descendent of the sun god. Tut was one of the first Pharaohs to do away with this idea. The people liked the old religion and Tut was said to have started the transition back to this way of life. But what makes him so special?
The main reason was that his tomb, out of all the ones found in the Valley of the Kings, was the only one that hadn’t been robbed after it was sealed. By luck and tenacity and with time and money running out Howard Carter triangulated his findings and came across a find the world to this day still marvels at. I like many have never had the chance to see the exhibit of Tut, but this DVD not only gives you the chance it brings you close up with interesting historical commentary. If you can stay awake it is well worth watching.
Omar Sharif, who brings passion to the history of his ancestors, narrates it. Directed by Darryl Kinson, Tutankhamun gives us a direct link to the exhibition with interviews from Stanford Egyptologist Kathlyn Cooney and Dr. Zahi Hawass, who is the Secretary General of Antiquities in Cairo, Egypt, bring insight to how the tomb was found and the discoveries within. In 1976 there were about 50 or so items from the tomb were sent on tour of the U.S. Americans everywhere had Tutmania, even to the point that Steve Martin had a hit song and dance about the boy king on SNL (back in the days when it was funny.)
This time, Cairo is giving the world a bigger glimpse at the treasures found by Carter by showing 100 items, 50 from Tut’s tomb and 50 from the tombs that surround his resting place. The sculptures and statues remind us of a harder yet simpler time, making you wonder what life was like back in the day when there were no i-Pods and the word “windows” only had one meaning. To see the work that these craftsman accomplished, one must grasp the concept that these people did all this work with the most basic of tools, and there wasn’t a Home Depot around to help either.
Unfortunately, I wish the speakers had livened it up the material a bit. It took me three attempts to watch this whole thing, and not because it’s so long, but because it was so boring. Not much new information has been discovered about Tut. The guy ruled from age nine to 18. Nine years can be brutal when you have an idiot posing as an adult who thinks he’s in charge, but Tut was just a kid. If he were in charge today, his rules would be less homework, more cartoons, and chocolate cake for breakfast. Tut’s main claim to fame is the fact that his tomb was the only one intact after all was said and done in an age where tomb robbers were as fruitful then as televangelists now.
This DVD has some of the most beautiful artwork the world will ever see, that’s if the world can stay awake long enough. Thank the sun god that it’s on DVD, so you can pause it and watch it again at a later time.