TUSAYAN — While IMAX Theater's large-format film "Grand Canyon — The Hidden Secrets" will never be replaced as the main feature, the Tusayan business did add a new option for locals and visitors to enjoy on the six-story high screen.
Ancient Egyptians would create elaborate pieces of art in which in bury their dead, such as these 200-pound promotional reproductions looked over by a pair of girls in the lobby of IMAX Theater.
"Mysteries of Egypt" debuted last week and plans call for the new film to be shown daily at 9:30 p.m. for a four-month run.
IMAX Theater had a special showing and reception Saturday night and those who attended gave the film excellent reviews.
"Mysteries of Egypt," the first large-format adventure film co-produced by National Geographic Films and Destination Cinema, takes a fascinating journey into the myths of the ancient Egyptian empire that began some 5,000 years ago.
Veteran actor Omar Sharif guides the audience into these masterpieces while National Geographic captures breathtaking aerial shots of the pyramids and gives the audience intimate views of the pharaohs' treasures.
The IMAX audience also goes on a thrilling flight rushing over the Nile, the world's longest river. Soaring over the great pyramids of Giza, viewers cross the deathly quiet Valley of the Kings and descend into the shadowy chambers of the sacred tomb of Tutankhamun.
The film transports the viewer to the time when the great pyramids were built, recreating the scenes as archaeologists now believe they occurred.
"We found the ramp that the workers used to move the blocks," said Zahi Hawass, director general of the Giza Pyramids and Saqqara, the film consultant. "We believe the people who built these monuments were very proud and committed to this national project."
"Mysteries of Egypt" also depicts the process involved in preparing a pharaoh's body for eternal life. Re-enacting the ritual, Egyptians ready the body of the teen-age pharaoh, King Tut, ceremoniously carrying him deep into his dark tomb.
The tale of ancient Egypt is told by Sharif, native of that land who appeared in such films as "Doctor Zhivago" and "Lawrence of Arabia."
Sharif plays a grandfather enchanting his granddaughter, played by Kate Maberly, who has appeared on screen in "The Secret Garden" and "Gulliver's Travels."
Based on an ancient Egyptian belief that death was not an end, but the beginning of a great journey, the Egyptians carved out a kingdom of limestone monuments, enormous pyramids and spectacular golden treasures, creating mysteries that continue to fascinate the world.
Last weekend's reception included a welcome by IMAX's Glenn Austin. Before and after, guests enjoyed desserts and beverages. Sandra and Bernie Schnerr hosted the event and were excited about the turnout and response.
IMAX Theater will continue to show the popular "Grand Canyon — The Hidden Secrets," winner of the prestigious 2000 IMAX Hall of Fame Award. Those shows are presented hourly from 8:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. daily.
IMAX Theater is located on the west side of State Route 64 in Tusayan.
For those who enjoy cruising the Internet, National Geographic's Web site features photography from "Mysteries of Egypt." Go online to: www.nationalgeographic.com.
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