Written by Matthew Wortman
Directed by Shaun Trevisick
Narrated by Tamara Tunie
- Exploring the Evidence interactive feature
- Extra scenes: “Video Forensics”
Released by: Artisan.
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: See it on cable.
Queen Nefertiti has always fascinated Egyptologists. Her bust, naturalistic when others were heavily stylized, radiates her beauty and royal bearing. But the woman herself is shrouded in mystery. With her husband, the Pharaoh Akhenaten, they wanted to fundamentally change Egyptian culture, a culture that had always favored order and stability. The royal couple set out to replace the centuries-old worship of the old gods with one of their own, Aten, the god of the sun. By doing this, they wanted to revive their stagnant society and revitalize their nation. I’m sure gaining the power and influence of the religious class by installing themselves as Aten’s high priests had nothing to do with their actions. They even went so far as to build a new city in the desert, Akhetaten, to supplant the old capital of Thebes. The details are lost to the sands of time, but the priests regained their position and punished the royal couple by erasing their names, condemning them to never enter the afterlife. But after 3,000 years, an archeologist believes she has identified the mummy of the controversial queen. Nefertiti Resurrected shows viewers how modern science and ancient knowledge may give this mummy her name.
Documentaries, like fiction, need a narrative thread. So they focused on Nefertiti’s mystery to provide one. By trying to solve the mystery, we see the various techniques they used and revealed what we already know about her to put it in context. The whole documentary is a build-up to answering the question “Is this mummy Nefertiti?” The answer is “probably”. Sorry for the spoiler. Not as big a letdown as Geraldo Rivera’s opening of Capone’s vault, but irritating nonetheless. The techniques are interesting, from the computer imagery to reconstruct the face to using dried pig carcasses to test when wounds were made. But it’s all done with the breathless anticipation of a solution that is never definitely given.
And the historical reenactments are obviously padding. There are so many shots of Nefertiti staring out and looking regal or shots of her sandaled feet walking down a corridor, you have to wonder if the actress portraying the Egyptian queen was the director’s girlfriend or something. And even if the headdress the head chief has on is historically accurate, the producers should have thought twice of having him wear what looks like a Afro wig on steroids. They drag this documentary out for far too long for the meager amount of information you get.
The extras aren’t much better. You get a selection of scenes of the archaeologist, Dr. Joann Fletcher, talking about various features of the tomb and the three mummies found there. There is also an interactive feature where you can click on various points on the mummies to get more information. Bad enough that most of the facts are already presented in the main documentary, but the same features can be found for free on the Discovery Channel website. So why bother spending the money on Nefertiti Resurrected when you can catch it on cable and check out the extras on the Internet? I think you know the answer to that.