Reviewer: Charity Bishop
Film rarely gets history right. It inevitably spices it up to appeal to modern audiences. Tut is no exception.
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.
The Pharaoh is punishing a traitor. He must watch as his wife is dragged to death in front of him, and then see his son put to death by the sword. The Egyptian prince, young Tut, must commit this act... but he refuses. It is immoral. It is wrong. It is unjust. His father storms from the room, enraged, as the royal vizier Ay (Ben Kingsley) says that was unwise.
Many years later, Tut (Avan Jorgia) is not longer much listening to Ay, who has the "best interests" of the throne in mind. His attentions turn instead to Tut's sister and wife, Anhke (Sibylla Deen). Though she has conceived many children, she has carried none to full term, which convinces her the gods do not bless this union. Her brother / husband's refusal to let the high priests do as they please stirs up trouble and arouses her doubts. Anhke is also in love with Tut's best friend, but fears an affair will endanger both of them.
Egypt is in peril from sickness from within and armies from without; one of Tut's leading generals believes his leadership to be weak and intends to remove him from the throne. This threat thwarted, Tut intends to attack his adversaries -- but a near death experience leaves him in the hands of a Mitanni girl named Suhad (Kylie Bunbury), whom he met once before undercover in the marketplace...
I'm honestly torn about this miniseries; on the one hand, it's gorgeously filmed, has surprisingly decent acting (it's stiff at first but flows better after the first episode), the costumes and sets are magnificent, and it has some intriguing subplots and sidelines. The history is all over the place and wildly inaccurate, but it does manage to capture the aura of ancient Egypt well while avoiding at least some common tropes and clichés. But the scripts are a little thin, providing good motivations and scenes for some characters and very few things of interest for others; the "love story" is incredibly rushed (a couple of smiles and conversations plus passionate sex doesn't equal true love), and the extremely graphic content was jarring. I loved some elements of it, and didn't like others. The first episode bored me, the second was terrific, and the third felt a little long and melodramatic. It's entertaining, but ultimately forgettable.
Four extremely graphic sex scenes (movement, partial nudity/backside nudity, sounds). Revealing garments (sometimes the women's tops are almost sheer enough to see through them). Incest (Tut is married to and conceives children with his sister). We see people's bare backsides (once, while a woman climbs out of a bath).
Brutal scenes include people being dismembered, chopped in half, blown apart, hacked to death, and stabbed with swords; people are set fire to with blazing arrows; Tut has an entire section of the city burned down to the ground with plague victims in it; a woman is graphically strangled to death.
References to worshipping the ancient Egyptian gods.