REVIEW: The Prince Of Egypt

The Prince Of Egypt was released during the time where DreamWorks Animation were slowly up and running, and even though that this is one of their first films and is perhaps their most underrated film, it truly is one of the best films that they have done! Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite reach the public critical acclaim like Disney animated films do, but in many ways, this film is a lot better than some of the ones we see nowadays. This is quite rare for an animated film, but The Prince Of Egypt didn’t only have the touching and quite horrific story but it tells the audience a very strong message of courage, bravery and what is truly important in life. Therefore, it is one of those rare epic animated films. I’d like to call it the DreamWorks Animation version of The Lion King because in many ways, both films have identical positives.

Another reason why The Prince Of Egypt is just so brilliant is that despite it is from the Good Book (and could have been history) and making only a few slight adjustments within the story from it, the film’s target audience is still aimed towards both kids and adults! Plus, the fact that it’s a musical perhaps makes it slightly easier for children’s eyes, although some of the songs are pretty depressing to watch. There were some Hebrew words and sentences used in the lyrics throughout some of the songs to mixing the legend of the Bible with the modern world and to win the appreciation of both kids and adults.

Set in Ancient Egypt, Pharaoh Seti commands all male hebrew babies to be drowned. A desperate mother places her son in a basket and lets the Hebrew God guide it along its way on the River Nile. The basket is found by the Queen, and Moses is brought up as a brother to the heir of the throne, Ramses. Years later, the brothers, who grew up happily and wealthy, are split by Moses’ recognition of his true heritage and the suppressing system his brother is about to inherit, willing to carry it on. Fleeing from the city in despair, Moses finds himself being called by God. He is given the task of being the messenger in order to free the Hebrews and to lead them into a country where milk and honey flow.

The Prince Of Egypt has one of the most impressive ensemble casts in cinema history that combine great actors together to send a message. First of all, Val Kilmer is the protagonist in the film providing the voice of Moses. The Moses in The Prince Of Egypt is slightly different Moses that is in the Bible and in previous film adaptations that tell his story. It is good that Moses is the adopted son of Pharoah Seti I himself instead of being the adopted son of the daughter of Pharoah Seti I like in the Bible, because it makes it a slightly different film and avoids some similarities with the Moses character in The Ten Commandments portrayed by Charlton Heston in 1956. Plus, it will catch the audience’s attention more and they will take the journey with him. Kilmer not only portrays Moses, but he also plays God. Kilmer’s God voice was pretty impressive and I think showed God’s nature: being both a good being wanting peace but also bad for hating humanity for what they’ve been doing to the world. Having never been a deep admirer of Val Kilmer, he deserves critical acclaim for his roles in The Prince Of Egypt.

Ralph Fiennes provides the voice of Rameses, the adopted brother of Moses and heir to the throne as Pharoah. Fiennes already has a trademark voice and has been in quite a few animated films over the years, and by him playing Rameses shows that Fiennes is a fantastic antagonist as well as protagonist! What was surprising was that he is actually a very good singer (sings The Plagues song) and it would be good to perhaps see him star in a dark musical in the future. The rest of the cast consists of Michelle Pfeiffer as Tzipporah – wife of Moses, Sandra Bullock as Miriam (Moses’ biological older sister), Jeff Goldblum as Aaron (Moses’ biological older brother), Patrick Stewart as Pharoah Seti I, Helen Mirren as Queen of Egypt (mother of Rameses and wife of Seti), Danny Glover as Jethro (High Priest of Midian). So, it is still a very impressive ensemble cast and they all did an incredible job in their selected roles.

It took three directors to craft together a film that has captured many hearts over the past decade and still continues on to do so. Due to the many similarities as far as the epic feeling, a dialogue for kids and adults added with both delightful and depressing songs, The Lion Kingmust have been some kind of influence seeing as the music scores are very similar, both films open and end almost identically and the singers during some of the songs and foreign language keywords in lyrics. Two of the directors of The Prince Of Egypt made their directorial debut but havenít really been noticed ever since, apart from Brenda Chapman being involved in upcoming Pixar film Brave. Despite the slight adjustments to the story in this film as told in the Bible, the screenplay was fantastic! Like a lot of films set in an older generation or an Ancient era, The Prince Of Egypt manages to persuade the viewers that although it clearly is a modern day film, it can lead them to believe that the story of Moses could be history, not just legend from the Bible. The film won the Academy Award for Best Original Song (”When You Believe”) and should have won for Best Original Score also.

Overall, The Prince Of Egypt is in my honest opinion, one of the greatest animated films of all time! Even after growing up with this one, it still has a rightful place as one of the most entertaining, epic and gripping films that I have watched! It doesn’t deserve to be as underrated as it is (perhaps the most underrated film of the 1990s), but does deserve a lot more credit than other animated films that we have seen in the past. It both sticks true to the Bible, and it is a great achievement for DreamWorks Animation and for the animation genre itself!

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~ by SJMJ91 on 16/05/2012.

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