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Title: Tut

Movie: :3stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :2stars:

HTS Overall Score:79

“Tut” recreates a rather fanciful conglomerate of the events detailing one of the most famous kings in Egyptian history. King Tutankhamun, the boy king who was crowned before he hit single digits for age and died in a decade’s time. Tutankhamun has been sung about in song and his name has been passed down through history as a mover of worlds. He raised nations, defied the priests of Aten Ra and brought the disgraced worship of Amen Ra back into the limelight. “Tut” acts as a nice little action/drama that adds some flare to the traditional tale of the boy king. We don’t know all of the facts about his reign, but what IS known is infused with a heavy bit of fiction, ala “Spartacus”, create another entry into the “Adult” TV series market.

It’s 1332 and King Akhenaten (Silas Carson) has been poisoned by traitors to the Pharaoh. Appointing his own son, Tutankhamun, to reign after him the dying king demands that he marry his own sister, Ankhesenamun (Sibylla Deen) and give the nation a new heir. Years later, Tut has become a man, but is still controlled by the Vizier, Ay (Ben Kinsley), and the abrasive General Horemheb (Nonso Anozie). Wishing to make his own pat, Tut takes over the head of the battlefield against their enemies to the north, and being lost in the resulting battle.

Blood and betrayal are never far from a palace, and here is no different as Tutankhamun’s own friend and General Hormheb himself. Wounded and nearing the brink of death, Tut is rescued by a half breed Egyptian woman named Suhad (Kylie Bunbury) and brought back to Thebes in time to rescue his thrown from those who would take it from him. Cured oh his boyhood innocence, Tut hardens like the stones around him and settles down to become the powerful king that we know from legend.

“Tut” is highly stylized and definitely a bit of fiction added to the legends. We don’t know everything about his life, and probably never will, but this little miniseries does what the History Channel does to History. It creates a general facsimile using the facts that we know, and then dramatizes it for TV. The best way to describe “Tut” is a “Spartacus” light. I don’t mean the plots or the garb are similar, but it takes after the series in same manner as the more violent and sex filled show. There’s politics, intrigue, love, betrayal, sex and more blood. I say it’s “light” because “Tut is NOWHERE near the level of gore and sex that “Spartacus” enjoys. It wants to be on that same plane, and even fashions the same clichéd plot points regarding political intrigue and romantic betrayal, but the limited sex on screen is always covered, and the blood falls short of being gruesome and macabre as with the other premium television shows.

The show itself feels very similar to the TV land period piece, using the same motions and same contrivances that have pushed forward many other shows of its ilk. The costumes and situations are different, but the human element to the show is very similar to other adult dramas. I will say this. The costumes are simply FABULOUS. The set designer should be complimented for recreating a very realistic likeness of Thebes and the wardrobe never falters or looks cheap. Unfortunately the afore mentioned clichés and standard TV tropes can’t elevate the series into something unique. I had a good time watching the 4.5 hour series, but it never stands apart from the crowd, or rises to something that truly distinguishes itself from the hordes of other adult dramas out there today. Had this been produced 10 years ago I would have probably heaped accolades of praise upon its head, but after so many other shows that have tackled the same style of a show, it just seems forgettable. Not bad, just blends into the crowd, so to speak. I am highly impressed they at least tried to get people of a darker color shade as the main characters instead of just choosing all white people *cough”Exodus Gods and Kings*cough. It gave it a nicely authentic flare, even if you COULD hear the English accents bleeding through at times.


Not Rated by the MPAA

Video :4.5stars:
Paramount does a good job with their day and date releases, meaning that “Tut” shines on Blu-ray with a fantastic 1.78:1 AVC encoded image. Heavily color graded with a honey yellow filter, “Tut” looks fantastic with dusky, earthy tones in the sand filled region, as well as splashes of jade green clothing, blue tunics and golden armor belts. The detail is magnificent, showing every crease and curve in a person’s face, as well as ever fiber and piece of dirt on the royal palace costumes. The only problem I had with the detail was that occasionally some of the really wide angle shots would look a bit soft and gauzy. Nothing to complain about, but if you really looked the detail looks a tad weaker than the exceptional close ups. Black levels remain dark and deep, with no sign of crush to mar the image. The clarity is razor sharp and the only problems I could find were some periodic banding (mainly when the camera would focus on the sun and the rays would sharply band), as well as some minor noise that would invade the picture. Very good look image and one that belies the TV nature of the show.

Audio :4.5stars:
The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD lossless track doesn’t falter as well, giving a strong and aggressive track that really shines in the heat of battle. Dialog is clean and clear, free from any distortions and well-modulated. Every once in a while as a character moves around the stage, you can hear his voice fade a bit, meaning that there wasn’t enough mics on set, or that they didn’t re-record the audio and dub over in house, but it is very miniscule and only really noticeable if you really pay attention. The surrounds are filled with constant activity, from rasping sandals across the palace floor, to the clash of steel on steel or steel on wood during a frantic battle. The rustle of the queens garments are she glides across the floor is distinct and clear, with a nice bit of directionality to mix things up a bit. LFE is deep and strong, pounding us with aggressive low end frequencies during the battles, and then receding into the background until called upon again.

Extras :2stars:

• The Costumes of "Tut"
• History Revealed
• Unmasking the Legend: The Making of "Tut"

Overall: :4stars:

“Tut’s” main issue isn’t that it is a bad miniseries, but that it just can’t seem to find that little bit that makes it incredibly unique among a sea of shows in the same genre pool. It’s a solid enough show, and definitely feels right. I enjoyed the interactions between Tut and his Vizier especially, considering Ben Kingsley can’t turn in a bad performance, even when he’s phone it in. Certainly better than many others I’ve seen, “Tut” entertains, even if I may never watch it again. Combined with stellar audio and video, I don’t see why this wouldn’t make a solid rental for fans of ancient dramas brought into modern storytelling.

Additional Information:

Starring: Avan Jogia, Sibylla Deen, Ben Kingsley
Created by: David Von Ancken
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English DD 2.0
Studio: Paramount
Rated: NR
Runtime: 270 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 6th 2015

Buy Tut On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Decent Watch

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