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For sheer spectacle, it's tough to beat the Bible. With "The Prince of Egypt," DreamWorks makes good on its promise to deliver a state-of-the-art animated film that will compete favorably with the best Disney has to offer. As with "Antz," released earlier this year, DreamWorks has successfully resisted the temptation to populate this film with characters that can be turned into further revenue through toy sales. (I do wonder, though, if three soundtrack albums--the film's soundtrack, an "inspirational" album, and a "country" album--were really necessary.) The animation team has accomplished something truly spectacular; watching "The Prince of Egypt" is like seeing life breathed into a rich, luxurious tapestry. The Biblical story told in the books of Genesis and Exodus is followed very faithfully, with only minor changes made for dramatic reasons. The action sequences are truly exciting, overall pacing is excellent, and the miracles wrought by God are depicted with awed and respectful wonder. One truly astonishing, harrowing sequence recounts the slaughter of firstborn Hebrew children by bringing hieroglyphic drawings to life on the walls of an Egyptian temple. The voice work is especially good--Val Kilmer is fine as Moses, and Pharoah, voiced by Ralph Fiennes, positively seethes with arrogance and hubris. The storytellers wisely chose to end their tale at the climactic crossing of the Red Sea; even the delivery of the Ten Commandments is portrayed only in an epilogue vignette. (After all, the Israelites wander in the wilderness for forty years after that, and Moses ultimately is not allowed to enter the Promised Land--perhaps not the uplifting ending the filmmakers had in mind.) Some of the subject matter is dark and disturbing, and there is no shying away from the harsh realities of the original texts. By all means, see it with the children in your life--and be prepared to discuss it with them afterward.
I saw Mulan, Anastasia and Prince of Egypt in a row. I loved Mulan, I loved
Anastasia even more, and now... Well, I must say that Prince of Egypt is
probably the best of all. I'd even say, the best animation feature ever
produced in the USA (aside from Batman : Mask of the Phantasm).
It is a real piece of art, aiming to entertain everybody, not only act as a baby-sitter movie for kids. There aren't even any pets here. Only a great story, moving scenes, credible characters and fantastic music and storyboard. You will love this one.
Quite possibly the most astonishing achievement in animation since Beauty and the Beast (and surpassing same), The Prince of Egypt is a lovingly crafted, engaging piece of cinema. The main characters are well-realized, three-dimensional characters. The focus of the film is the conflict between Ramses and his adopted brother, Moses, set against the backdrop of the epic events in the book of Exodus. The result is a religious tale that treats the oft-ignored human element. Instead of merely relating the tale as it is, the story asks "how would a person *feel* if God appeared to them and told them to do this? How would others react?" The script is light-years beyond any past biblical epic. The animation style owes a small debt to Disney's house style, but goes above and beyond in the details in character design (the Hebrews and Egyptians and Midians are clearly of different ethnic backgrounds, and no character suffers from the doe-eyed Disney Belle syndrome). Computer Generated Imagery blends -- for the first time in an animated film -- seamlessly with traditional cel animation. The film also takes some fairly audacious risks; Moses has a dream sequence in stiffly animated hieroglyphics, completely switching animation styles for about five minutes, which I believe is completely unprecedented in animation. There are moments when the visual effects made me forget to breathe. If you blink during the parting of the red sea, you'll regret it. There is, I believe I can safely say, not a second of the film that does not offer some sort of visual delight -- from the deep symbolism of the hieroglyphics to the dizzying chariot race in the opening sequence. The music has been touted by some critics as the film's weak link; such is definitely not the case. Stephen Schwartz' songs combine elements of Broadway-esque show tunes with native Hebrew and Egyptian music. The songs are powerful and moving, sometimes no more than one verse in length, sometimes full-blown seven-minute extravaganzas like "Let My People Go." The one weaker song, surprisingly, is the theme "When You Believe." Even freed from Mariah Carey/Whitney Houston R&B cheese as it is in the movie, it's a watery definition of faith at best. Still, the scene in which it takes place is powerful and the song is beautifully performed. If the film has a weak link, it might be the voice casting,Val Kilmer and Patrick Stewart in particular. The two voices are distinctive of the gentleman who possess them, and thus are distracting in this format. But such is a minor quibble, and should not dissuade anyone from seeing the greatest animated story ever told.
For years, I have searched for a truly epic film. I have witnessed the
genius of Lawrence of Arabia, the majesty of Star Wars, the pupil-dilating
battles of Braveheart, but after all that war, I realize that The Prince of
Egypt is a little more special than all of them.
If not the best film of the year, then the best animated film ever. Its visuals simply can't be described, for its images will stay in your mind forever. They will not be seared, like the brutal images of Saving Private Ryan, but instead, simply stay with you. When you remember them, you will smile, for they are the true meaning of epic.
If you don't like the film's story, or even if you don't like the film in general, you will still stare in awe at its visual images. They are the best ever. The parting of the Red Sea is just one of the best. The closing shot is about 10 seconds long and is truly mind-boggling.
Animation just hit puberty, and I can't wait to see it become an adult. Go see it. You won't be disappointed, I guarantee you.
The story of Moses is done here and, although not totally Biblically
accurate, this is about as close as it gets in Hollywood. The
inaccuracies are minor.
The artwork was fabulous when it came out in 1999. It's still very good, but animation has improved so fast in so short a time period that this is nothing special, art-wise, these day. However, it sure was when it was released just seven years ago. It's just beautiful in parts. Some of the prettiest colors I've seen on film have been in animated movies the last decade, and this is a prime example. The parting of the Red Sea in here is awesomely-done by the artists. That scene also sported the best sound in the 99-minute film.
The songs in here were nothing special but they didn't detract from the story because they were all short. Regarding the story, I only wish they had gone into detail on the plagues instead of just lumping them all together. They could have had some jaw-dropping scenes with the locusts, etc.
All-in-all a fine film and a rarity: a Biblical film that doesn't offend anyone.
As the author of THE WORLD OF ANIMATION, an Eastman Kodak
book which won three international book festival awards
and as an animation writer-director, I have for many years longed for the
U.S. animation industry to remember that Walt Disney, nor any of the
pioneers of animation limited their art to children's audiences.
With THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, the DreamWorks animation team has finally taken us full circle and helped the United States join the rest of the world in offering us the first U.S. animated feature since, perhaps, FANTASIA, created for mature audiences while remaining child-friendly. If you aspire to art in any form, and/or specifically love line art and graphics as I do, you must not miss seeing this film on the big screen. I applaud DreamWorks for this triumph in graphic excellence.
Two brief critiques: First, the choice of story. The story is based on Exodus from the Old Testament (and other Scripture) which is scanty, to say the least. Although the studio made an effort to flesh out the story with the Ramses/Moses relationship there is simply not enough meat to go around. This opinion is debatable, a very minor aspect and only my view as a story teller. At the bottom line the overall work is so extraordinary any possible lack in literacy is more than made up for in the visual mounting and production of the film, something which is nothing less than inspiring.
The other criticism is in the highly questionable use of "name" voices for casting, a puzzling development since there is no meaningful box office data supporting it. This practice is known to conflict the viewer psychologically as the drawn images begin to do battle with the ones in the audience memory with the cerebral bridge of highly recognizable photo images of known voices. Walt Disney knew this quite well and avoided it. Indeed, he used the voice of a complete unknown for Snow White, Adriana Caselotti, (who passed away in 1997). Disney was careful to avoid the existing Hollywood queens of song of the period, Judy Garland and Deanna Durbin, the latter, whose prodigious vocal talent actually saved Universal Pictures from going belly up a short time later.
However, at the bottom line, THE PRINCE OF EGYPT will become a true classic and has taken the art of animation up to a new threshold, a model to which future animators will aspire.
Raul daSilva, New Haven, CT, USA
"The Prince of Egypt" is a surprisingly near perfect movie. The
beautifully animated has a great story and storytelling, beautiful
songs and a great voice cast.
Animated movies has been taken to a new level with this movie. This is one of the very first animated movies made for an adult mainstream audience. Still the movie has some misplaced humor and 'Disney' like characters, to make this movie appealing for children as well but really this is more a movie for adults than for children. The movie has a serious undertone and some powerful moments, with the burning bush and the splitting of the red sea as the ultimate highlights of the movie.
The characters in the movie are well developed, which is perhaps also thanks to the impressive voice cast that consists out of; Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Steve Martin, Martin Short, Ofra Haza. voices that stood out to me were Val Kilmer, Jeff Goldblum and Patrick Stewart. But it of course is also due to the nicely done character animation and storytelling that the characters work out really well and are highly realistic and humane. The character's movement and interacting is done really good and with eye for detail.
Another wonderful about his movie is the music composed by Hans Zimmer and friends and songs and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. It sounds weird, songs for a serious movie but it works extremely well for the movie and the storytelling and on top of that the songs are all from a very high level of prestige.
With this movie DreamWorks showed for the first time that they are a worthy competitor for Disney.
The movie and its storytelling are really powerful and impressive and help to make this movie an unforgettable watching experience.
It's a great movie for all ages but mainly adults.
This is one of the best animated movie of all time. It's not every day that they make a animated movie about a story of the bible. The writers, and animators were very accurate about telling the story. As a Christian I like it when they make movies about the bible. The animation, and music was truly awesome. I like everything about this movie. I recommend this movie to anyone and everyone. Children will love this movie. I'll tell you now you wont be disappointed. I really wasn't.
This is very possibly the finest animation I've seen. Before commenting on
the film as a whole, I want to make that clear, because in the inevitable
rush to pick this film apart (the plot, the voices, the religious
significance, the literary accuracy, the moral issues, the music, the
comparisons with Disney and de Mille, etc...) one might easily become
distracted from the aesthetic and technical triumphs of The Prince of Egypt,
and that would be unfortunate. As someone who has an interest and
appreciation of animation, I can say that this is the first film I've seen
that successfully integrates computer-generated animation and traditional
animation (and I've seen many attempts). More importantly, as someone who
has eyes, I can say that the result is a visual experience of intense style
and beauty. In fact, the initial depiction of Egypt is so breathtaking,
that it seriously hinders the film's later efforts to vilify
Comparisons with Disney are inevitable, especially because Prince of Egypt employs tired Disney formula in an attempt, I assume, to remain economically viable. What a shame, since Disney hasn't made a decent film since Aladdin. I am referring, of course, to the unnecessary musical numbers and the two high priests, the film's comic relief, who are drawn grossly out of proportion to the other characters. Even worse than their unoriginality, however, is the open mockery of ancient Egyption religion and culture, which these two characters embody. I found their musical number especially appalling. On the other hand, it's a story in which the protagonists succeed only through a greater capacity for cruelty and destruction and the slaughter of innocent children, so it's kind of hard to nail down any concrete moral standard here.
In general, I thought the story was well told, with solid direction and a good script. The only complaint I have about the voice acting is that Jeff Goldblum's unmistakable mannerisms seriously distract from his character. I suspect that I wasn't really bothered by the others only because I hadn't seen a cast list before seeing the film. I wish they would stop relying on celebrity voices for animated features. No character can be effective if the viewer can't separate the voice from the actor supplying it.
The bottom line is, despite any objections, complaints, or concerns I might have about this film, despite the moral, religious, or idealogical issues it brings up, and despite the $8 and two hours you'll spend, this film is worth seeing. It's worth seeing because of the animation. I hope it sets a new standard for feature-length animated films. At the very least, I think it will show the movie-going public what the medium is capable of.
I adore the Prince of Egypt. Such a stellar cast of voices, and the names don't outweigh the movie. The music is fantastic. It has such a diverse audience, you cannot go wrong with this film. We are all familiar with the base story and we are provided a mild, interpretive, inoffensive version to intrigue and open the mind. If not, it can be enjoyed simply for the color, sound, and simple human emotions and actions that glide over right and wrong. I'm in college, and I listen to this movie while studying. I can't escape, humming in the shower, and learning calculus to the goose-bump inducing tones. The sounds of God capture all emotion and awe.
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