A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this made-for-TV movie's lessons on friendship and forgiveness don't break any new ground, but their placement within the context of this kid-pleasing story ensures that they won't be overlooked. The main characters both have superiority complexes throughout the movie, taking turns calling the shots when they feel in control ("I demand you dance for me," etc.). A sinister bad guy and some allusions to the supernatural may frighten very young kids, but grade-schoolers will enjoy the action-packed tale and might even pick up on references to Egyptian culture and history.
What's the story?
In TUTENSTEIN: CLASH OF THE PHARAOHS, the reincarnated mummy of a young pharaoh named Tut (voiced by Donna Cherry) travels back in time to learn the details of his own death 3,000 years ago. Since he's haunted by nightmares of the moments before he died, Tut and his friends Cleo (Leah Lynette) and Luxor (a talking cat voiced by David Lodge) use the mythical Mirror of Isis to return to ancient Egypt to stop his death and allow him to become the all-powerful pharaoh he believes he was destined to be. But when they arrive, they find it's actually 1,000 years after Tut's death, and Cleo is mistaken for the reigning Pharaoh Cleopatra. Spoiled by her subjects' royal treatment, she's blind to the fact that she's letting her power go to her head -- and that her closest advisor is after the powerful mirror and her throne. Ultimately it's the power of friendship that must save her and return the friends to the present.
Is it any good?
There's no shortage of adventure for kids tagging along on Cleo and Tut's time travels, and overall the movie's content is worry-free for grade-schoolers. Parents may grow weary of Tut's arrogance and constant demands, but kids will like seeing him get a taste of his own medicine when Cleo is granted power and can boss him around for a change. In fact, the characters' relationship gives families a great opportunity to talk about interpersonal issues like respect and appreciation.
And on a more intellectual level, the characters' jaunt through time introduces kids to the basics of Egyptian history and mythology. Don't expect youngsters to start reiterating reliable historical facts, but the story includes references to social and cultural practices that will expand their view of history and other cultures.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about respecting others' feelings. Do you think Tut is a good friend to Cleo and Luxor? Why or why not? How do they respond to his demands? What, if anything, does he learn when the tables are turned and Cleo becomes pharaoh? Have you ever known anyone who was bossy to you? How did it make you feel? What did you do to fix the problem? Families can use this movie as a springboard for their own research about ancient Egyptian history and culture.
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