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Angel's Movie Review - The Prince of Egypt
(Dec 18, 1998)
Director: Simon Wells, Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner Producers: Penny Finkelman Cox, Sandra Rabins, Jeffrey Katzenberg
Action, American Movie,
Key Words: Biblical, Historical,
Licensed American Publisher: DreamWorks Animation
Time: 99 minutes
My Thoughts: It’s interesting when people try to create biblical stories into films, even more so when they are made for children. The bible wasn’t really meant for children in the sense of most of the stories have to be altered to fit our societies ideas of what our children should know. Things like death and blood never make it into the shows and sort of make it feel unrealistic then. When I hear there is a cartoon coming out that is supposed to be biblical, I really take it with a grain of salt. I was partly right in doing so though it was still rather enjoyable to watch anyway.
I love how they humanized the story of Moses and didn’t just try to play if off the book of Exodus. In the book (if I remember right) we only see how Egyptians took Moses and yet we always see that the Hebrews look to him lovingly. This feels a bit unrealistic. How would you feel if one of your people treated you like a slave, left after killing someone, then came back and said that he was chosen by god to save them. You would probably be skeptical about what he was talking about. That’s how they first play it off in the show and It works rather well. Another thing is that they show a deep connection with Moses and Rameses that feels perfectly like how two brothers would act.
Although there are some wonderful things they have done in the story, they have somehow missed a couple things from the story that I feel make it lose in a way. I care a lot about being true to the source if you actually want to create a story so it bothers me the inaccurate parts from both the bible and history. First off is the problems with the bible, According to what I have read and what I remember, it was not the Pharaoh’s wife that found Moses but the Pharaoh’s daughter. Also, unlike the show, it is said that Moses was given back to his mother to nurse him for the Daughter even though she was never able to say he was hers. Moses knew all the time that he was a Hebrew, not an Egyptian though the film has a nice dream piece to have him figure out who he really was. When he does see the burning bush, unlike the film where he seems intrigued or sticks his hand in, he is supposed to be afraid until god speaks to him and tells him that he is to do things for him. When he does return to Egypt, he was not greeted with open arms by the Egyptians because he really did kill someone. He was exiled instead of left on his own.
Now when we get into history part, there is at least one thing I picked up on. During the dream vision he has, they show a sun with hands. This was the Egyptian God Aten, and was supposed to be during the time of Pharaoh Akhenaten a few hundred years after the time of Moses. Aten was the only time that Egyptians believed in one God. It would not be during this time and so he would not be dreaming of it or have it drawn on the walls.
The Artwork is beautifully done. The textures stand out wonderfully and the backgrounds look like nicely detailed watercolors where the CG that is put in once in a while works perfectly, adding to the show instead of taking away from it. The characters look mostly like Egyptian drawings brought to life and even some of the poses can be seen from the artwork in Egyptian walls. Unfortunately, sometimes, the characters start to lack a bit when they move around. They are wonderful when they just stand or look like they mean business, but when they do fast passed action scenes, the characters feel a bit stretched out. One or two of the characters feel like they have to small of heads and the details just seems to be copied from Disney.
The music is perfect and wonderfully done, bringing the show to life though when they start singing, once in a while, sounds odd. I really don’t like how Patrick Stewart does the Pharaoh’s voice. Something makes me feel a little unwell when a rather British sounding man tries to play the Egyptian old man. Aaron’s voice, Moses older brother, just feels rather comical as well as the strange priests Hotep and Huy. I could never take any of them seriously.
Link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prince_of_Egypt
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At some point, I am hoping to create a podcast with a friend and will keep you up to date on that.