The Amarna Period: La reine soleil (2007)

Here’s something I can’t review, because I can’t get ahold of it in English. But isn’t it beautiful?

The use of electric blue eyes against dark red skin immediately reminded me of the hero of my favorite cartoon as a child, Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea. That was also a French cartoon (Les mondes engloutis) with a great deal of eclectic history, including obvious influence from Amarna-period Egyptian design. I was desperately obsessed with it as a girl, and although it wasn’t of course nearly as good as I remembered, it was certainly good enough to have an impact on another generation of animators. The Youtube comments are full of vicious arguments about whether the blue eyes are evidence of whitewashing by the animators. For now, I will try to believe the animators were thinking of Spartakus.

Although the plot of this one is supposed to be based on a Christian Jacq novel, I have a hard time imagining how faithful it could be. The one Jacq novel that I have tried was dense and chewy, hardly a thing of animated splendor, but I haven’t been able to read La reine soleil in English. The few reviews I find in English suggest it’s more effervescent.

This movie features Ankhesenamun (called Akhesa) as an off-brand Disney princess of the Spunky variety. Tutankhamun is the foil/love interest. There’s magic and moonlight chases and it all looks like good fun. It would not be good fun in the least if a swaybacked young Tutankhamun was hobbling around on a walking stick, as we know he did, instead of climbing into hollow statues and running across rooftops and similar. I’m also interested to see how exactly the movie handles a romance between half-siblings, which the two of them most likely were – but my guess is, it doesn’t.

In any case, it looks lovely, and I would probably even sit through it in French (which I do not speak) if I could get a legal copy. That’s what I did when I bought a bunch of DVDs of Les mondes engloutis. I told you – obsessed.