Every Palm Sunday or Passover or Easter Sunday for the last thirty years, ABC television presents Cecil B. DeMille's last motion picture, “The Ten Commandments,” starring Charlton Heston as Moses and Yul Brynner as his rival and step brother, Ramses. First released in 1956, this three hour epic (four hours on network television) presents a clear distinction between good (Moses, John Derek, Yvonne De Carlo) and evil (Ramses, Edward G. Robinson, Vincent Price) that remains charmingly dated. The sad thing is the bad public relations that Ramses (A.K.A. Ozymandias)receives in this movie. There is historical debate whether Ramses was the Pharaoh during the Exodus of Old Testament history.
A short biography of Ramses is presented in Imax’s latest big screen opus, “Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs.” This new motion picture presents the facts about Ramses 67 year reign. From geographical perspective, one sees how Pharaoh Ramses created the Egyptian kingdom in conjunction to the River Nile. Yet for all of Egypt's achievements, the culture decayed into lifeless stones and a forgotten language.
Nearly three thousand years later, the Rosetta Stone was discovered. Translating the lost language from the Rosetta Stone, Professor Wilmer from Great Britain searches for the lost royal tombs of Ramses. The exhibition becomes an exercise in frustration as academic clues lead to dead ends; while treasures of the tombs are being sold by street vendors.
“Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs” is the third and the best IMAX movie about this subject featuring Egyptian Culture. Narrated by horror king Christopher Lee (who also portrayed “The Mummy” in 1959), this forty minute motion picture looks at the forensic evidence involving the embalming of the pharaohs. Given the recent headlines of Anna Nicole Smith's autopsy reports, one sees how respectful the Egyptian culture was when preparing one's body for the next world.
An evolving culture depends on curious people. The mystery of life is a consistent reoccurring question in world culture. “Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs” looks at how modern science attempts to answer these questions. The film's climax raises more questions than it answers, but that is a cool thing at a Museum of Discovery.
This Summer, the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery IMAX Theatre will host “Spider-Man 3” and “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” Until those summer blockbuster movies open, “Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs” is one of the best diversions on the really big IMAX screen.