Egypt: Secrets of the Mummies
In the late 18th century, with the discovery of the Rosetta Stone and the subsequent code-cracking that allowed researchers to understand hieroglyphs, the popularity of Egypt and its hidden secrets exploded. Egypt-mania hit the high societies of Paris, New York and London.
But when a few curious antiquities suddenly appeared on the black market in the 1870s, a handful of people in the world who could decipher hieroglyphs knew that these were no ordinary relics, for they bore the marks of kings. These were different. In spite of all of the energy and money spent to unearth ancient treasures, no one had found the tomb of a Pharaoh. Until now.
What is it about mummies? These preserved human time capsules from ancient Egypt fascinate and intrigue us, but why? Is it because they blur the line between the living and the dead? Or is it because they provide such a powerfully visual window to our ancient past? Whatever the reason, there is little doubt that mummies are some of the world’s most spellbinding subjects. And Egypt is one of the most fascinating civilizations, in large part because of the great mummies that have been discovered there in modern times.
Narrated by actor Christopher Lee (The Lord Of The Rings, Star Wars, and the original 1959 film The Mummy), Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs explores the mysterious world of ancient Egypt through the fabric of its ancient mummies. The Egyptians’ mummy-making culture was not the first, the last, or even the longest. But to many, it was the greatest. The Egyptians believed their destinies were the wishes of gods, whose wills their dead ancestors might influence. By revering their ancestors through mummification, they hoped to gain better control of their destiny.
In previous eras, mummies were ground to powder as medicinal cures for wealthy Europeans, and destroyed by damaging unwrapping techniques employed by scientists in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, however, scientists use non-invasive CAT scans to examine mummies. In addition to increasing our understanding of the distant past, scientists are reconstructing mummy DNA and deciphering ancient texts to gain insight into modern human genetics and possibly improve medical treatments. Mummies follows the exploits of prominent Egyptologist and mummy specialist Dr. Bob Brier, who in the ancient Egyptian tradition mummified a modern body donated to science, as well as Dr. Angelique Corthals, a DNA expert who is attempting to extract key genetic information from ancient mummies in an effort to advance modern medicine.
Part historic journey and part forensic adventure, Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs follows researchers and explorers as they piece together the archaeological and genetic clues of Egyptian mummies. Through ambitious computer graphics and dramatic reconstructions, the film tells the story of one of the greatest finds in modern history: the late 19th century discovery of a cache of forty mummies, including twelve Kings of Egypt, among them the legendary Rameses the Great.
Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs is a walk back thousands of years to the wonders of ancient Egypt, a real-life Indiana Jones adventure complete with thieves and hidden treasure, and a modern day scientific journey to extract clues about our past. The film covers topics of grand proportions, making it ideal for the high-impact experience in IMAX® and other giant-screen theaters.
Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs was filmed by the award-winning team of director Keith Melton (Mystic India, Cirque du Soleil) and director of photography Reed Smoot (Mysteries of Egypt, Mystic India), with original screenplay by Arabella Cecil (Kilimanjaro: to the Roof of Africa). It is produced and distributed by large-format veteran Giant Screen Films (Pulse: a STOMP Odyssey, Michael Jordan to the Max) and co-produced by Gravity Pictures. The film opens in March 2007.