Inspired by this series, Judge Joel Pearce appealed to join the Egyptian pantheon of Gods. Because Ammet Ammet had already claimed "the devourer of souls," Joel put in a request for Glicopomman, or "devourer of Glico Pocky." He's still awaiting their decision.
A relatively harmless curse of the mummy…
Saturday morning cartoons have been around for decades, and have often shared common characteristics. They move quickly, with a small cast of familiar characters. The animation is produced cheaply. They are designed for children, and few of them really care to be any more than disposable entertainment. There have been some important exceptions, of course—but Tutenstein isn't one of them, I'm afraid.
To be fair, as a product of the Discovery Channel, the producers have tried something slightly different with Tutenstein. It's educational children's programming, the attempt of an educational station to compete with more popular stations. Each episode incorporates some educational tidbits: explaining aspects of ancient Egyptian mythology and history. Unfortunately, the learning gets a bit mixed up with all the other nonsense.
The premise doesn't contain much historical accuracy. While installing a new Egyptian exhibit, Museum curator Professor Behdety sets up a replica of an ancient mummy's tomb. When 12 year old Egyptian scholar Cleo puts her own finishing touches on the display, Child Pharaoh Tutankhensetamun is brought back to life and Cleo's cat Luxor is mystically able to speak. Now, Tutankhensetamun needs to adjust to the fact that he isn't in charge of the known world anymore. Naturally, when you start opening mystical portals, you open yourself to all matters of interdimensional interference. The gods of ancient Egypt are coming too, and they're going to need to protect the present as well.
This volume contains the first four episodes of the series:
• "The Awakening"
• "The Curse of the Pharaoh"
• "I Did it My Way"
When I was a kid, I didn't want to be a policeman or a firefighter. I wanted to be an archaeologist. The thought of discovering something that had been lost for thousands of years was a far more exciting thrill than anything that existed in the present time. In some ways, that's the biggest problem with Tutenstein. The mythology and history is interesting, but these things completely overwhelmed by silly Saturday morning cartoon conventions. The show is mildly entertaining, I suppose, but it has little of the magic that drew me to ancient Egypt as a child. What remains a field of mystery and wonder quickly disappears into the obnoxious character of Tutankhensetamun. I have a hard time imagining kids watching this series then rushing out to learn more about the wonders of ancient Egypt.
The talent is also somewhat limited. The animation is weak, using digital shortcuts that look sloppy and shoddy. The characters aren't particularly well rendered, and the voice work is on the same page. Neither of these elements are terrible, but it's a long way from the best in the industry. In the end, I suppose the series is what it is: a mild Saturday morning cartoon with some casual educational elements. It's a show with nothing offensive and no violence that kids will probably enjoy well enough.
Now on to the DVD. I'm not sure why these series aren't released in season form like everything else, but you should be aware that these four episodes are not the first in the series. This volume has the first two, and then two others from scattered through the first season. If the series is still on television, nobody's getting their money's worth as far as the episodes are concerned. The video and audio quality are solid, though, considering the nature of the animation. There are some interlacing issues at times, but other than that it looks clean enough. The best thing on the disc is actually a bonus episode of Truth or Scare, hosted by Michelle Trachtenberg. It explores the history and legend behind the curse of Tutankhamun, and it's more entertaining, interesting and fun than the show itself. The other extra is a ridiculous matching game. If your kids can't get it right the first time, they're in trouble.
With such a low price point, this package may be worth grabbing for children who love the series. It's a good alternative to the mind-numbing fare that we so often see in children's programming, though you probably won't get pulled into watching with them.
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• Truth or Scare: The Curse of Tutankhamun
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