Everything Else — May 1, 2015 at 3:00 am

EGYPT AND ITS ROLE IN MOVIE POP CULTURE

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BY KYLE GREENWOOD

Land of the Pharaohs, the pyramids, the Sphinx and the River Nile, Egypt is certainly a place of wonder and its history and past has always fascinated Hollywood. It has featured as the backdrop to endless movies, TV shows and even games over the years as well as serving as an incredibly history-rich culture to be able to draw interesting ideas from. With the Royal Vegas Egypt Slot game on the horizon, the dominance of traditional Egypt in the entertainment sphere continues to grow. Every now and then this cradle of civilization rears its head once more on celluloid and we are there to enjoy every single minute of it.

cleopatra

Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s epic Cleopatra from 1963 was at the time the single most expensive movie ever produced. The movie revolved around the life and the tragedies of Cleopatra VII, the young Queen of Egypt. Thankfully due to its epic theatrical cinematography and its beautiful art direction it managed to make back nearly double what the movie cost to make and even picked up a few Oscars for its troubles. There was of course no harm that box office draws Elizabeth Taylor, Rex Harrison and the legendary Richard Burton were all starring in the leading roles.

carry on cleo

Even though the director originally wanted Cleopatra to be released over two parts, the studio decided instead to whittle it down to its run-time of just over 4 hours. Just one year later came the semi-send up Carry on Cleo, the 10th in the popular British comedy series of Carry On… movies. It’s said that the production team actually ended up using a lot of the abandoned costumes and sets leftover from the Cleopatra shoot.

prince-of-egypt-1998-movie-moses-ramses-chariot-race-animated-dreamworks

Not only has Egypt been represented on screen in live action features but in 1998 Dreamworks’ released their animated epic The Prince of Egypt. With the likes of Michelle Pfeiffer, Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes and Steve Martin serving as voice talent in the movie this beautiful tale set in Ancient Egypt told the tale of brothers Moses and Ramses and their journey to their very different destinies.

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In 1999 our love for Egyptian culture and history was renewed once more thanks to writer/director Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy. The blockbuster movie starred Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz and was set to revitalize the classic Hollywood monster. It was a fun Indiana Jones-type adventure movie that managed to squeeze in plenty of Egyptian myths and legends. The movie went on to spawn two sequels and a spin-off movie, The Scorpion King, which itself managed to produce three further sequels. There’s even a reboot of The Mummy in the pipeline.

So what’s next for the cultural input of Egypt in the entertainment industry? 2016 will be home to the new Gods of Egypt film starring Hollywood superstar Gerard Butler as he teams up with a mythical god on a quest through the sand dunes of Egypt.

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