A Tale of Two Brothers -- Wonderful Bible Story
Scotman | Mt. Shasta, CA | 04/22/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was interesting picking up an early DreamWorks animated feature and to have it surprise and delight in their take on the story of Moses from the Old Testament. In 1998 they decided to put together an animated feature that would combine a majority of animators and a minimum of CGI. The result was quite good.
We are all familiar with the story of Moses but the way these creators wrote the tale was different than I'd seen say on The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston. No, we have two brothers who grow up and love each other. Moses is the practical joker and Ramses, destined for greatness as the Pharaoh, is teased and can't seem to take a joke. The story depicted here does make changes from the Bible, as the film itself states at the beginning. The story as given is a more human approach that I think children and families would better understand. This is not your daddy's Bible class!
In the background are the Hebrew slaves. When Hebrew children are being slaughtered, or the Hebrews are being squashed down, the usual Egyptian response was "They're just slaves." This nonchalant, superior attitude was throughout the film.
Moses' doubt that he would even be chosen as a prophet was interesting. His anguish that the first born sons of Egypt would be slain and his lament that no matter what, he still considered Ramses his brother was touching.
The movie was not heavy-handed in a religious way. You could see the DreamWorks guys having fun with the parting of the Red Sea, the mysterious force that represented the Angel of Death and the sweeping desert vistas. Great artwork!
Voice actors included Sandra Bullock, Patrick Stewart, Steve Martin, Val Kilmer and Jeff Goldblum among many others. They did a great job here in vocal expression and tone that was believable and at times dark.
The "Making Of" feature on the DVD was fun to watch. The artwork including sketches and production stills was bold and beautiful. The art direction and discussion of computer techniques which may have been cool in 1998 are pretty much routine in today's CGI world. However, to listen to them you get excited about the animation yourself.
Finally, The Prince of Egypt is a musical. Lots of songs and music that give an overall theme of redemption and freedom. Does the bright thread know that it is part of a tapestry? No, it cannot see the tapestry but should take on its view. Heavy stuff, man!
Music composed by Hans Zimmer and friends and songs and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz really made the movie what it was. Quite a miracle of animation, a serious story, and if there was a fault, some of the characters were a bit too "Disney-esque" but that makes it a family film so it's all good. Academy Award winner for Best Original Song 1998 "When You Believe."
Favorite scenes for me were the pillar of fire and the Red Sea split, the chariot race, knocking off the nose of the Sphinx, and moving heiroglyphs on the walls during the "dream sequence." Excellent animation.
What's the DVD made of?:
Anamorphic Widescreen - 1.85
Letterbox - 1.85
Dolby Digital 5.1 - English
Additional Release Material:
Making Of Music Video: "When You Believe"
Audio Commentary: Brenda Chapman - Director, Steve Hickner - Director, Simon Wells - Director
Documentary: Chariot Race - Basics of Animation
1. Original Theatrical Trailer
2. TV Spots/Previews
Biographies: Cast & Crew
Stills/Photos: PRINCE OF EGYPT Art Gallery
Other DreamWorks fun:
Prince of Egypt: Dreamworks Classics Collection
Miriam's Gift: The Prince of Egypt Book and Keepsake