The Prince of Egypt (1998)

The Prince of Egypt is a wonderful animated film it was the first traditionally animated film produced by DreamWorks. It is by far my favorite animated film from DreamWorks. Prince of Egypt tells the story of Moses and has an all star cast as well as phenomenal music from Stephen Schwartz, which won an Oscar for Best Song, and a score by Hans Zimmer. If you haven’t heard the music find the soundtrack and listen to it. It was directed by Brenda Chapman, Simon Wells and Steve Hickner.

The film begins with a unique message “While artistic and historic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is the cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. ” I don’t think I’ve seen this anywhere before or since for religious films.  The story itself begin with the mother of Moses, Aaron and Miriam putting Moses into the Nile in a basket with the hope that he will be found and brought into a safe place. Miriam follows it and Moses is found by Queen Tuya (Helen Mirren), wife of Seti (Patrick Stewart), and adopted as her own child. Years pass and we met up with Moses (Val Kilmer) and Ramses (Ralph Finnes) doing what brother might have done racing chariots. That evening Seti names Ramses Prince Regent and the high priests Hotep (Steve Martin) and Hoy (Martin Short) honor Ramses by presenting Zipporah (Michelle Pfeiffer) to him. She refuses and Ramses passes her to Moses. Zipporah then escapes and Moses follows where he runs into Miriam (Sandra Bullock) and Aaron (Jeff Goldblum). This leads to a cool nightmare flashback scene where Moses learns about the slaughter of the children.

Moses then saves a Hebrew and causes a guard to fall from the scaffolding. Moses runs off to Midian where he becomes a shepherd living with Jethro (Danny Glover) and eventually marrying Zipporah. While tending his sheep one day Moses sees a burning bush and goes to see what it is. Here we are offered a unique version of I AM THAT I AM as Val Kilmer suggested that the voice be something like that which we hear in our heads everyday as opposed to a big booming voice from the heavens. Val Kilmer provides this voice as well and it is in like a whisper. So following this logic it would seem that the voice of God would be unique to everyone. What follows is Moses going back to Egypt and asking Ramses to let his people go and eventually after 10 plagues Ramses relents only to take it back and goes chasing after the departing Hebrews they catch up as Moses is leading the Hebrew people over the Red Sea. Then after the credits we are treated to this quotes from Sacred Scripture praising Moses from the Hebrew Bible “Never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord singled out face to face…” (Deuteronomy 34:10) Christian New Testament “[Moses] was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself…” (Acts 7:35) as well as the Qur’an “And call to mind, through his divine writ, Moses. Behold he was a chosen one, and was an apostle [of God], a prophet.” (Surah 19:51). This isn’t something that you see anywhere.

This is a definite must see on my list of movies as it rivals some of the Disney Films from the late 90s. It’s a simple story that we’ve all heard many times but I think this tells the story a whole lot better than the likes of The Ten Commandments although that could just be that Prince of Egypt does it in like half the time.  If you haven’t seen this film take a gander at it this upcoming liturgical season of Lent.

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