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Case Number 17735: Small Claims Court

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Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs

Image Entertainment // 2007 // 39 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Mac McEntire // November 19th, 2009

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All Rise...

Appellate Judge Mac McEntire couldn't think of any funny Brendan Fraser jokes to make about this movie.

Editor's Note

Our review of Mummies: Secrets Of The Pharaohs (Blu-Ray), published April 16th, 2011, is also available.

The Charge

Unravel an ancient mystery.

The Case

The ancient Egyptians had a fascination with life after death, and that's where the whole "mummy" thing came from. Prominent members of the society, such as the Pharaoh Ramses, had their bodies preserved in mummification, so they'd be ready to walk again someday. Originally created for IMAX theaters, Mummies: Secrets of the Pharoahs takes a look at mummies, then and now.

The doc begins with a look back at how the original mummies were created, and how much about the process is still unknown. It's here that we get the most recreations of the ancient Egyptians, with Ramses strolling around his empire looking like he owned the place (he did). The middle part takes us to the modern day, in which scientists attempt to create a "modern mummy" with a body donated to science, using the ancient techniques. The third, and most interesting, section of the movie has to do with how Ramses' tomb was discovered and saved from raiders. It took a pair of real-life Indiana Jones types negotiating with some unscrupulous grave robbers, and a lot of luck. Or maybe it's not luck, but the will of the ancient Egyptian gods…

It's pretty to look at and it has some interesting stories to tell, but at only 39 minutes, the movie flies by. Discerning Egyptologists hoping for more details and historical nitty-gritty will have to look elsewhere. This movie is more interested in wowing you with pretty pictures peppered with some facts than it is genuinely informing you on the subject. Fortunately, the visuals truly are impressive. There are a ton of panoramic sweeping shots of various Egyptian ruins, and the camera likes to linger over the desert sands at sunset. The other big selling point is the narration by Christopher Lee (Gremlins 2: The New Batch) and his voice is awesome; but you already knew that. (Trivia time: Lee played Ramses in the 1995 TV movie Moses.)

With its IMAX pedigree, the visuals on the DVD are appropriately excellent. The level of detail is amazing, whether we're looking at sand dunes, hieroglyphics, or science labs. The audio, in 5.1 surround, is also great, with moody music and Lee's groovy voice. The disc features a making-of featurette that's almost as long as the movie, and a pair of classroom-ready interactive screen games. The movie was allegedly shown in 3-D in some theaters, but that's not an option on this DVD.

There you have it—a bite-size bit of mummy history. If that sounds like fun to you, then check this one out.

The Verdict

Immortally not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: Image Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
• None
Running Time: 39 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary
• Historical
• Short Films

Distinguishing Marks

• Documentary
• Educational Resource
• Quiz


• IMDb
• Official Site

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