Making the Grades
Cecil B. de Mille's The Ten Commandments was a cinematic achievement that etched the Exodus story in stone. If any of us were to ever have the opportunity to meet Moses and he didn't resemble Charlton Heston, we'd probably ask for identification.
But now there's a whole new Moses on the screen in the Prince Of Egypt, the first animated creation from Spielberg's DreamWorks Studios. It tells a familiar story of Moses's rise to power from a slavery heritage and his choice of God over riches and power in a surprisingly new way that pales any other attempt previous to it.
Any screenwriter working with a biblical text cannot resist adding some dramatic spice, and this movie is no exception. In the plot, Moses has a close brotherly bond with Rameses, which often evolves into friendly competitions, such as a chariot race down the scaffolding of the newly constructed Sphinx. While this provides some new clues regarding the monument's broken nose, we know that the fun will end once Moses discovers his true past and the responsibility he has to his people and his God.
The story is artistically presented in stunning animation that is so real, in some places I suspect the artists may have used photographic images that were modified to resemble the animation style. Either way, sequences like the chariot race, the artistic interpretation of Moses's lineage, the plagues that Egypt suffered through, and the climactic parting of the Red Sea, bring this story vividly to life. Computer generated art complements the traditional animation, resulting in a hybrid film that combines the best of both techniques.
Woven throughout all this is a beautiful soundtrack that convincingly conveys the emotion of the story. The words of the closing song have duel meaning in context with the screenplay and also to what the creators of this movie have accomplished -- "Who knows what miracles you can achieve, if you believe."
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Prince Of Egypt.
Many of us know the story of Moses from movies like The Ten Commandments and The Prince of Egypt. Movies based on books almost always alter or embellish the original text on which the film is based. If you have a copy of the Bible in your home, find Exodus near the beginning of the Old Testament, and read the account of Moses (chapters 2 to 15 cover the same time period as The Prince of Egypt). While reading, ask your children to look for items that have been added or altered in the movie.