Two brothers united
by friendship divided by destiny.
The Prince of Egypt is the best Judeo/Christian film ever made. I don't consider anything else even close. It's also the best animated musical since Disney's Beauty and the Beast. The Prince of Egypt has four memorable songs (none of which you'll hear on the radio in their original form), and a background score from Hans Zimmer (Crimson Tide, Gladiator, Pearl Harbor) that is absolutely first rate.
The Prince of Egypt is a great film for Jews and Christians because of its unabashed sincerity. The movie opens with a wonderfully written disclaimer that, quite frankly, shocked me as much as anything in a Quentin Tarantino film:
"The motion picture you are about to see is an adaptation of the Exodus story.
While artistic and historical license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide.
The biblical story of Moses can be found in the book of Exodus."
If I were to paraphrase this extraordinary disclaimer, I would say:
"We're making a movie about Moses. We believe the film has spiritual value. If you don't like our version, read Exodus."
My Mom is a Christian. She is also a good painter. She enjoyed DreamWorks's animation, but found little of "spiritual value" in The Prince of Egypt. As we discussed the film afterwards, I began to wail and gnash my teeth. What was her problem? As a non-Christian, even I was inspired by the movie. Mom cited insignificant details. Rameses and Moses weren't contemporaries. They didn't grow up as brothers. I say big fucking deal.
To her credit, she also had a problem with the chariot race, which is the only bad scene in the movie. The race between Rameses and Moses is silly and doesn't fit the tone of the rest of the film. The Prince of Egypt is an honest account of a vengeful Pharaoh and a vengeful God. It is not a movie for children, but the death of children is it's emotional core. I felt bad for the mothers in the theater who were trying to explain the Passover scene to their kids. I didn't feel sorry for the children. If they're like me they'll get over it in twenty years or so.
Pharaoh killed the first born children of the Jews. God killed the first born children of the Egyptians. I think this was Mom's real problem with the movie. By pinning God to the book of Exodus, one doesn't grasp the overall concept of God's love through Christ in the New Testament. People like Mom are afraid that movies like The Prince of Egypt only show the darker side of God. Yet clearly that side of God is seen throughout the Old Testament. I say deal with it.
The Prince of Egypt is the crowning touch for the man who was a (Disney) mouse: Jeffrey Katzenberg. As executive producer, Katzenberg was clearly the force behind this extraordinary production. The acting ensemble is prodigious: Val Kilmer (Moses), Ralph Fiennes (Rameses), Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Steve Martin and Martin Short.
Until recently, Steven Spielberg has been the "man" behind DreamWorks. Here, Katzenberg is like an elephant that wishes upon a star to pulverize a rodent. This movie shits on Disney.
As for the DVD, I can't say enough. The panoramic menu's are equal to the work that went into the exceptional animation of The Prince of Egypt. However, the biggest pleasure is watching the still gallery sketches (wildly imaginative) accompanied by the Hans Zimmer soundtrack. It's like walking into your favorite museum.