|Video Release:||13 Sep 1999|
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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."
Prince Of Egypt is rated PG:
Cast: Val Kilmer, Ralph Finnes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock
Studio: 1998 Dreamworks SKG