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|This animation feature is spectacular. The story is superb. It is a perfect family movie. It is the number one non-Disney animated feature of all time.
The Prince of Egypt
By David Bruce
Son Jonathan says: I really liked this picture, it was cool. My favorite part was when Moses led his people to the promised land. I liked it because it showed Moses' faith in God that he could cross the Red Sea.
Moses: Val Kilmer,
|DreamWorks' debut animated musical film, Prince of Egypt, tells the story of Moses,
from his birth to Mount Sinai.
YOU MAY WANT TO VIEW THE MOVIE FIRST.
|I just saw the completed film. It is more than I expected! The art is amazing. It is DreamWorks SKG's first animated musical. Jeffrey Katzenberg, formerly with Disney and DreamWorks co-founder, headed the production of this $70 million epic.
Katzenberg helped rebuild Disney's animation kingdom, including its crowning achievement, the 1994 "The Lion King." Some people with wit have already dubbed this film "The Zion King." Also, one of the 3 directors, Brenda Chapman, was the story supervisor for Lion King. Several of the animators have worked on Disney features.
"Prince of Egypt" is also directed by two others who have worked on various Steven Spielberg feature animated films in the past. Simon Wells worked on "Balto" 1995, "We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story" 1993, and "An American Tail: Fievel Goes West" 1991. Steve Hickner worked on "Balto" and "We're Back!"
The film is based on the Bible book of Exodus, which contains the story of Moses. It is also shares the title of a book by Dorothy Clarke Wilson, "Prince of Egypt," which Cecil B. DeMille used for story material in his "Ten Commandments" movie starring Charlton Heston as Moses.
The story in this film is original. There are moments, however, when one feels the influence of "The Ten Commandments" and "Ben Hur." A staff of 380 artists took their inspiration from several sources including director David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (which also helped inspire DreamWorks' Saving Private Ryan), 19th century illustrator Gustave Dore's Bible wood cuts (also featured in DreamWorks' Amistad) and Claude Monet's The Delicate Lighting. DreamWorks says it's the most technologically advanced animated film yet. It incorporates traditional hand-drawn images with computer graphics.
|The film begins with scenes of cruel slavery just as the Bible story does. The Hebrew people are being used to build a monument to Seti, the pharaoh of Egypt.
||The scenes featuring Moses' mother impressed me. She sings in Hebrew, she is very Jewish, impressive. The slaughter of the innocents is tastefully done. It gets the point across without any bloody scenes.
||For those who may not know, the placing of Moses in the water is filled with meaning that has profoundly affected the world. Jesus walking on water reflects this event, as does Christian baptism. The symbol of water as both burial (death) and new life and deliverance can be traced to this very event. Even the movie Superman made such use of water.
||Certain liberties were taken with the Bible. For instance, the wife of the Pharaoh, not the daughter, finds baby Moses among the rushes. There is a comical camel, Habibi (whose name means "my sweetheart"), but he doesn't talk. Generally though, the film is right on in terms of the spirit and meaning of the original text.
||The plot involves the two young sons of Pharaoh Seti, Moses and Rameses. They have grown up to be very competitive. There are similarities here to the two sons in Gattaca and in French Kiss. This Moses is the Hebrew leader for the '90s, says co-producer Penney Finkelman Cox: "We wanted a more dynamic hero rather than a focus on the sidekicks or a villain." The Bible has little to say about the life of Moses in Pharaoh's court. The film's writer has fleshed this out in a very interesting way. One can sense the oft-repeated brother theme of several Bible stories here.
||Reference: Several sources including Susan Wloszczyna, "Sneak peek at an epic from DreamWorks," USA Today, 1/9/98.
Images © DreamWorks. All rights reserved. Dreamworks SKG, is the intellectual property holder of 'Prince of Egypt', & hold copyright over the movie, characters, merchandise & storyline.
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