First Impressions: Tutenstein (The Awakening)

Been watching a lot of creepy children’s cartoons lately, haven’t I? Well, here’s another one. When it comes to movie monsters, mummy’s are a bit under-serviced nowadays. However, there was a time where rotting Egyptian corpses were all over the place in media. And that includes children’s media. For example, the Mummy film from the late 90s and early 00s got an animated spin-off. Not to mention today’s offering to the ancient gods of old, Tutenstein.

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The pilot episode finds Cleo, a little girl who’s helping out at her uncle’s museum, accidentally waking up Pharaoh Tutankhensetamun, a child king who has been dead for 3000 years. The pharaoh finds himself confused by the fact that the world is so different. Meanwhile, the ancient god Set is trying to take over the world and plans to use Tut’s magic wand to do it. Oh, and Cleo has a cat who can talk now. Because every show needs a magic talking cat.

I’ve always been interested in ancient mythology and this show certainly delivers. From the research I’ve done (Wikipedia), apparently, this show’s Egyptian lore is pretty accurate, except for the fake Pharoah kid and the magic scepter/wand. I especially love the design of the mummy. As the title indicates, he looks like a mummy/Frankenstein’s monster hybrid. Although, admittedly, the connection to Mary Shelly’s masterpiece is flimsy at best. The guy’s brought to life by lightening… That’s pretty much it. The design for Set is monstrous and gross and I LOVE IT. His minions are pretty cool looking as well.

As a “fish out of water” story, this is pretty standard fair. Though, I do have a complaint regarding the “modern lingo” they decided to throw in. Namely, the casual use of some slang terms and modern references felt out of place sometimes, especially when Set’s minions start using them every single time they speak. They got really annoying. Also, Cleo’s “sassy” nature kinda got on my nerves as well. She seems to accept the walking, talking, living corpse and the fact that her cat talks now pretty quickly. I’m just saying, I expected a little bit of a freak out.

The animation is a little stiff, honestly. The chase sequence in the cartoon was a little boring. It’s like the action was set in slow motion. It took forever for anyone to make a move. But, I didn’t really expect too much going into this. This show has that certain “early 00s cartoon” look to it. Everything seems a bit harshly angular and the main character has cheekbones you could use to cut through fog. It reminds me a lot of shows like Extreme Ghostbusters or Men in Black, only with action that wasn’t NEARLY as good as those two.

For a show by Discovery Kids, I thought this was pretty good. It gets its Egyptology straight, so the kids can at least learn something. I even like the quirky “I am Pharaoh, so bow down!” nature of our main mummy. However, I have seen shows that handle “monsters living normal lives in modern times” a lot better than this one. I give this a tentative “Try it if you’re interested.” If not, well, there are better ways to spend an afternoon. Like wrapping yourself in a nice, warm blanket. Get it? Wrap? It’s a mummy pun! …I’ll stop, now.

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