Modern-day Egypt is a cosmopolitan country like many others in North Africa.
However, when one mentions the word Egypt, it is hard to imagine the bustling business centre of Cairo. Instead, you think of pyramids and the Sphinx, pharaohs, and buried riches. Ancient Egypt is a land that has permeated the modern culture to become the western world’s stereotypical view of the country.
It’s hardly surprising; we’ve seen the period depicted multiple times across movies and video games. The latter platform brings Ancient Egypt to life for a new generation. Assassin’s Creed Origins, which IGN described as a deep dive into one of the series’ most alluring backdrops, was set in Ancient Egypt but boasted an add-on that presented learning opportunities, telling gamers about the key figures and places from the area. Lara Croft also paid a visit there in the Tomb Raider franchise, which seemed fitting, whilst you can even find the period on mobile games as well. An online slot from Gala Bingo titled Book of Slingo features graphics related to the era and a typical Egyptian soundtrack. You won’t be surprised to hear that Age of Pyramids: Ancient Egypt heavily relies on the period’s stereotypical image for its effect.
Video gaming might bring the period to life for younger people, but what of those who wish to watch and not participate? Ancient Egypt has featured in plenty of movies, but there are some that best remained buried with the pharaohs. However, these four would be worth digging up and enjoying if you love pyramids, treasures and mummy related.
Gods of Egypt (2016)
Gods of Egypt stars Gerard Butler and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, better known for his role as Jamie Lannister in Game of Thrones. It tells the story of Bek (Brenton Thwaites), who teams with the god Horus (Coster-Waldau ) to take on the god of darkness Set (Butler). It’s very much of the fantasy movie genre and is considered a ‘love it or hate it’ movie. Bad reviews shouldn’t put off fans of the genre.
Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
There’s another all-star cast for this 2014 film, including Christian Bale and Sigourney Weaver, and it was a success at the box office, taking $262m from a budget of $140m. Directed by Ridley Scott is inspired by the bible story of the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt led by Moses (Bale). Don’t expect a direct retelling of the bible story; Scott is an atheist, and his beliefs certainly come out in the film’s narrative.
This is certainly one for film buffs; it’s a Spanish language film starring Rachel Weisz, but it is definitely worth watching. It tells the story of Hypatia (Weisz), a mathematician, philosopher and astronomer in late 4th-century Roman Egypt. She battles to save the knowledge of classical antiquity from destruction and deals with religious and political turmoil. It might be hard going for a casual viewer, but it shows the time in a light other than fantasy.
The Ten Commandments (1956)
We’re going back a bit here, but it’s worth the effort. As you might expect, The Ten Commandments dramatizes the biblical story of the life of Moses and the Hebrew exodus. Charlton Heston (Moses) and Yul Brynner (Rameses II) are simply brilliant, and the film feels almost timeless. It was the highest-grossing film of 1956, the second highest-grossing of the decade and with good reason. It has been lost to the sands of time like forgotten Egyptian treasure, but it’s well worth hunting out.