Secrets Of Egypt's Lost Queen (TV)
R1 - America - Image Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James Teitelbaum (2nd January 2008).
The Film

This 2007 documentary was made by the Discovery Channel, and is now available on a bare-bones DVD from Image Entertainment.
It seems as though there was once a mysterious woman named Hatshepsut, who lived in the 18th dynasty of ancient Egypt. Hatshepsut was related to a rather sickly line of Pharoahs. When her Pharaoh, husband, and half-brother (all the same guy) died, Hatshepsut was charged with playing nanny to the next heir. Instead, she posed as a man, and ran things in Egypt for a while, until meeting a mysterious and untimely death. Although more powerful in her day than either Cleopatra or Nefertiti, queen Hatshepsut has remained an obscure figure in Egyptian history since someone, years after Hatshepsut's reign, tried to completely erase the historical record of her existence. Hieroglyphics have had her face chipped off of them, her mummy was swapped with that of a servant, and certain cartouches are missing.
Working independently at first, but all with a common goal in mind, a sort of ensemble cast of scientists are working to piece together the story of Hatshepsut.
Hatshepsut, an ancestor of King Tut, was buried thirty-five stories underneath a pyramid, in a cave only known as KV-20, deep in the Valley of Kings.
The first clue comes from French archeologist Angelique Corthals, who has discovered key artifacts while on a dig. Then there is the likable and talkative Egyptian named Zahi Hawass. He has been obsessed with unraveling this mystery for decades. Hawass uses forensics and high-tech equipment to examine a series of unidentified mummies, using process of elimination to pin down which one is Hatshepsut. Also appearing in "Secrets of Egypt's Lost Queen" is the cute, personable, and smart Egyptologist Kara Cooney. This gal is a real dream girl for science geeks everywhere, and has apparently been enjoying playing up to this image: she's been on Craig Ferguson's talk show three times, most recently sporting a very sexy red dress (July, 2007 - right after "Secrets of Egypt's Lost Queen" made its Discovery Channel debut). Helping Cooney scamper up a cliff is one Don Ryan. A large cast of additional scientists come and go, helping the central foursome of researchers unravel the mystery.
Uncredited actors provide a little bit of dramatic recreation, performing little vignettes that illuminate the story of Hatshepsut. Narration is by Sean Pertwee, who gives a mostly listenable and informative performance, but it borders on that overly-dramatic tone that emphasizes and elongates every other word or phrase for phony dramatic effect.

Video

The DVD is presented in widescreen 1.78:1, enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Given that "Secrets of Egypt's Lost Queen" is a contemporary piece of documentary filmmaking, the picture quality is good, and there is no damage to the print.

Audio

"Secrets of Egypt's Lost Queen" is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo only. The studio-recorded voice-over is balanced competently with location audio and fairly generic music.

There are no optional subtitles.

Extras

The only thing that remotely resembles an extra on the disc is a promo trailer for another Discovery channel series, called "Atlas" which runs for 4 minutes 2 seconds. I guess that including documentaries doesn't make sense on a DVD that is in itself a documentary, but it is too that bad they couldn't have included Cooney's talk show appearances.

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: B+ Audio: B+ Extras: D- Overall: B-

 


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