Planet Egypt (DVD Review)

Through portraits of its most influential Pharaohs, Planet Egypt investigates Egypt’s incredible legacy: King Narmer, who united more than 40 regional tribes into the first Egyptian civilization; Thutmose III, who expanded and secured Egypt’s borders; Amnenhotep III and his revolutionary son Akhenaten, who attempted to break the power of the priests and reorganize the traditional role of religion; and Ramsses II, the great builder of temples and tombs who devoted his life to the cult of death. Threaded throughout are intimate details of typical Egyptian daily life. From feats of engineering and the most ambitious construction projects in history, to its obsession with life, death and immortality, the amazing story of ancient Egypt still astounds us today.


Planet Egypt is a four part miniseries from the History Channel.  On Disc One, you’ll find “Birth of an Empire” which focuses on King Narmer’s life.  The question to be answered is was King Narmer the great uniter of upper and lower Egypt or was he a fraud who inflated his own importance.   This section also deals with the importance of the Nile, and civilization before the time of the great pharaohs.  Also on disc one is “Pharaohs at War”, which centers around Thutmose III and the Battle of Meggido.  Thutmose III expanded and secured the borders of Egypt.

Disc Two has the final two parts of the mini series starting with “Temples of Power”, the story of Amenhotep III and his son Akhenaten.  Akhenaten was the first to worship a single diety and threatened the power of the priests. “Quest for Eternity” is about  the Egyptian’s preoccupation with death, specifically Ramses II.  Ramses II was the great builder of temples and he wanted a royal tomb more magnificent than his fathers.

Pre-historians and other experts take you to dig sites, and walk you through reenactments of ancient Egyptian events.  There are computer generated maps and visuals, as well as practical demonstrations.  This miniseries could very well be shown in a high school class room.  Each part of the miniseries is broken down into smaller episodes that can be chosen individually or at once with the play all feature.

Planet Egypt is full of detailed information.  I personally enjoyed watching the excavations and actual footage more than the dramatic recreations.   As a fan of the Mummy movies, I decided to ask for Planet Egypt to review because the movies triggered an interest in me about Egypt.  I realize that the Egyptian history found in the Mummy movies is probably completely manufactured by Universal Studios with little or no actual historical significance.  Sadly, reality is definitely much less spectacular than what we’ve seen in The Mummy.  There were no supernatural creatures and incantations from the Book of the Dead although there was a lot of interesting information offered.

The last part of the miniseries, “Quest for Eternity” was my favorite.  It dealt the most with the Egyptians preparations for the afterlife, as well as the building of tombs and pyramids.    I did like the computer generated recreations of what the ancient egyptian cities would have looked like.  The CGI recreations really made history come alive much more than just looking at some ruins.  This is a great DVD set for anyone that’s interested in Egyptian history and archaeological pursuits.


Despite only being on DVD, the video quality wasn’t as bad as I expected.  Its pretty much comparable to what you’d see on TV on the history channel.  Detail is decent as are the colors but it could have been better.  Skin tones are natural throughout and black levels aren’t as dark as it should be as it looks slightly washed out.  This is an acceptable transfer but it would have looked a lot better on Blu-ray.


Planet Egypt is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.  The dialogue is clear and consistent.  The soundtrack levels and other sound effects don’t require you to adjust the volume, but also aren’t very impressive.  Again, this is a TV show on DVD, I don’t think its the show you would use to test the limits of your sound system.  Subtitles are avaialble in English and Spanish.


There are no special features on either disc.


While it’s very clear that this is a history channel documentary/miniseries, I can’t help it if I hear Egypt and immediately think of Imhotep.  Planet Egypt certainly disappoints if you’re looking for a series based on the history as portrayed by The Mummy films. That’s my personal problem, but I do have a right to be disappointed about the complete lack of special features.   Something like this should lend itself to having all kinds of interesting extras.   If you are already interested in the topic of Egypt (beyond what you see in the Mummy), then I definitely recommend Planet Egypt.

Order your copy today!


3 Responses to “Planet Egypt (DVD Review)”

  1. Brian White

    It’s just a shame this could;t be Blu-ray. I love shows on Egypt.

  2. Gregg

    I was just going to say the same thing! Put it on Blu-ray and I’m in!

  3. Jami Ferguson

    Everything is better on blu ray – this one also needs to add some special features!