Making the Grades
If George Lucas can tell a story backwards, why not do the same with the Bible? Dreamworks' The Prince Of Egypt brilliantly brought to life the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Using the same art style (although not quite as polished) to create a direct-to-video animated prequel called Joseph: King Of Dreams, Speilberg's crew tells us how the children of Israel got to Egypt in the first place.
Beginning with the birth of Joseph (voiced by Ben Affleck)--a miraculous event considering his mother was unable to have children--the young lad grows, particularly in favoritism from his father. His parents' special gift of a coat of many colors only increases the envy and resentment felt by his ten stepbrothers. So when Joseph has a dream that infers he will one day rule over their family, the boys decide to take matters into their own hands and sell Joseph off as a slave for some pocket change.
Taken to Egypt, Joseph begins a hard new life but manages to work himself into favor with his master until false accusations from his master's wife send him to jail. The only bright spot in his long dark imprisonment is when he interprets the dreams of two fellow captives--both previously servants of Pharaoh. One of these men is released, and returns to the king's household. Much later, when Pharaoh becomes bothered by nightmares, the servant remembers Joseph's gift and recommends him to his master.
Giving the credit to God, Joseph explains the meaning of the Pharaoh's vision and finds himself second in command of the most powerful kingdom on earth. But the responsibility of helping this great nation through a severe famine will also bring him face to face with his past, and force him to come to terms with his brothers' betrayal.
While some artistic license has been applied to the Old Testament account, the script emphasizes the importance of forgiveness. John Bucchino's musical score explores such themes as having faith in God even when things are difficult, trusting He knows "Better Than I," and learning to give a little "More Than You Take." Presented in a way that viewers of all religions will appreciate, Joseph puts faith first and is a worthy son (although really a very great-grandfather) to The Prince Of Egypt.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Joseph King Of Dreams.
Although Joseph went through some very painful experiences, they enabled him to be in the right place to help his family, as well as the Egyptians. In your life, have good things ever resulted from difficult experiences?
What does this story of the ten brothers teach about the consequences of living with a lie? What does Joseph learn about forgiveness?
The story of Joseph and his family can be found in the Bible near the beginning of the Old Testament, in the book of Genesis, chapters 37 to 50.
Please note the DVD contains bonus materials including: Sing-along songs, a storybook read-along, a trivia game, production notes, and cast and crew biographies. Our children really enjoyed the commentary explaining the storyboard sketches and some of the creative decisions made in the production process.