The Child Ruler
Egypt’s young Pharaoh Tutankhamun was elevated to leadership status before his tenth birthday and then lived only a decade or so longer. Nonetheless, Tut has come to define Egypt as much as the pyramids and the Nile. It is impossible to deny both the legacy and the popularity of Tut. Now we have a fine miniseries that explores the young Pharaoh’s life. The show is rich in superficial detail but shallow in dramatic depth, looking the part but feeling rather forced in that it’s been molded to fit into the modern world of historical drama with power manipulation, sex, and violence with only, it seems, the costumes and backgrounds changing to suit the time period in question.
We go back to 1332 B.C.E when Egypt is the most powerful nation in the world, and her ruler has been poisoned. Before Pharaoh Akhenaten (Silas Carson) dies, he appoints his young son Tutankhamun (Kaizer Akhtar) ruler of the land and demands he marry his sister Ankhesenamun (Sibylla Deen) to maintain the family’s pure bloodline. A decade passes and we see that Tutankhamun (Avan Jogia) is a leader of the people who endeavors to break away from the status quo and finds himself pulled in several different directions by those closest to him, including his most trusted advisor, Grand Vizier Ay (Ben Kingsley), his military General Horemheb (Nonso Anozie), and the High Priest Amun (Alexander Siddig). The nation is at war with a Syrian tribe called The Mitanni, and the Pharaoh falls in love with a young girl named Suhad (Kylie Bunbury) who is half Mitanni and half Egyptian. Meanwhile, Ankhesenamun becomes romantically involved with Ka (Peter Gadiot), Tutankhamun’s best friend. This is our intrigue.
Visually “Tut” is a feast for the eyes— it is a meticulous attempt and has taken care of every detail but unfortunately the beauty here is only on the surface. Despite its flaws the miniseries is entertaining with intense battle scenes and are excellently performed in their graphic violence.
Avan Jogia is fine as Tut even though he never really brings much humanity to the part. He doesn’t command the screen but he does display enough of the naiveté and break from his elders and he does create an interesting character. He provides a fairly routine portrait of a young leader caught between his closest allies.
The extras are on the second disc two and they include:
- The Costumes— Costume Designer Carlo Poggioli shares some insight into the wardrobe authenticity and its construction. The cast talks up the quality, too.
- History Revealed—A look at blending historical accuracy and manufactured drama and the real life discovery of Tot’s tomb and his reign with acclaimed UCLA Egyptologist Kara Cooney.
- Unmasking the Legend: The Making of Tut: A look at casting and performances, core story details, character specifics, crafting battle scenes, shooting in authentic locations, costumes, and more. A few bits and pieces repeat from the previous supplements.