79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2000
This is a beautiful movie and a great DVD. The animation is some of the best ever done. Notice, in particular, the life-like Nile River and Red Sea at the beginning and end of the picture. The chariot race that opens the movie is thrilling and the parting of the Red Sea is breath taking. Frankly, I hesitated to see this because I believed that it would just be "The Ten Commandments" re-visited. However, the creators decided to focus on how the God's edict to "Let my people go" would effect the relationship of the two brothers--Rameses and Moses. This point of view permits the audience to have a strong attachment to both characters and the things that happen to them. Another surprise is that the creators did not tone down or "Hollywoodize" the religious aspects of the story. They realized that the great power of this story is its spiritual element. The DVD "extras" make it well worth the price. In particular, I found the comparison drawings showing the creation of the chariot race to be particularly compelling. The music and songs perfectly compliment the action and are never distracting. Clearly, Disney is not the only studio that can create a great animated film.
70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2000
How exactly do you translate the story of Exodus...the story of freedom...into an Animated film...? How did they do it? Rarely have I felt tears at the BEGINNING of a movie...when Y'sheved(Moses' Mother) started to sing her lullaby IN HEBREW, I almost started crying. Since I always prefer animated films to the "real thing", I felt "finally, a perfect film..." Being Jewish and seeing this movie during the month of Pesach(Passover) was literally a religious experience. I was touched. Seeing the people sing Mi'Chamocha as the left Egypt pulled tears from my heart. I was so happy to see the way the film was executed. Don't get me wrong, this is a film for all peoples. But it seems to almost be aimed at the Jewish Community. And I think this movie is better than ANY live action film to date. I could literally hear the Words from the Torah in my mind as I watched. The music was too incredible to describe, the voices a special treat, especially Jeff Goldblum as Aaron. This movie may not be historically acccurate, but it is a well rounded account that has achieved an incredible thing. The Hebrew singing was too much for me, again, I wanted to cry because it was so amazing to see it on the screen, and feel like you are there. L'Chiam, Katzenberg, Dreamworks SKG. Thank you for adding something to the list with The Ten Commandments and Schindler's List and La Vita E Bella (Life is Beautiful). If you have to buy any movie for you or your children, please buy this one. It may be a little violent, but the sheer fact that Dreamworks is not afraid to show what it might have been like is something to applaud. The movie is a masterpiece. Watch it, it is a NEW experience...
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2004
I am pleased to offer this review for what I consider to be one of the finest animated films of all time. The review is partially in response to a rather malicious one offered by a reviewer known as trezku13. I felt it necessary to rebut some of this person's inaccurate comments.
The movie puts a disclaimer at the beginning to inform the viewer that there are artistic and dramatic licenses taken with the story (a.k.a. whales in the Sea of Reeds). You should be prepared for this when you watch it. If you're watching this with the book of Exodus in your lap, you will see some differences in the two accounts. These changes don't adulterate the message of the story and should not detract from the viewing experience. Some differences to note are:
1) Seti's wife finding Moses rather than his daughter (Exodus 2:5),
2) The idea that Moses didn't know he was Hebrew and had no contact with his family (Exodus 2:7-11),
3) Moses' "accidentally killing the Egyptian rather than deliberately killing him (Exodus 2:12),
4) Rameses pleading with Moses to stay in Egypt as opposed to Pharaoh seeking to kill him (Exodus 2:15),
5) Any idea of personal rivalry between Pharaoh and Moses,
6) Moses speaking by himself before Pharaoh instead of Aaron speaking for him (Exodus 4:14-16),
7) An exaggerated role for Zipporah when she is actually hardly mentioned.
These changes may seem unnecessary, however they do add intrigue to the narrative and, as before mentioned, do not in any way seriously alter the story.
The quality of the music does fall firmly into the realm of opinion. However, as a person who holds a degree in music, and has performed and taught professionally for many years, my professional and personal opinion is that the music is quite wonderful. The comments made by another reviewer make me wonder if this person actually watched this movie. A comment about Steve Martin and Martin Short sounding least like their singing voices is the most absurd because they actually sang their own song. The singing voices are very closely matched to the point that I didn't know until watching the credits that Danny Glover had not sung his own song. A comment was also made about the firstborn sequence. The plague of the firstborn sequence is why this movie gets a PG rating. Focusing on the children dying rather than everyone involved makes sense, because that's the most shocking aspect of the final plague. It is also noteworthy that this tragedy is brought upon Egypt because of Pharaoh's stubbornness, not God's lack of compassion. A comment was also made about the two Egyptian soldiers dropping their staves and joining the Israelites. I found this to be a subtle nuance that demonstrates the serious research that went into the making of this movie. Exodus 9:20 makes it clear that there were Egyptians who feared the Hebrew God; and Exodus 12:38 records that many other people besides Hebrews participated in the exodus. There is no inaccuracy in the movie's depiction.
The wonderful music, superb performances by the actors, and breath-taking visual presentation make this a landmark event in animated movies. It has set a standard that all animated movies since have had to live up to.
A final note is in regard to the PG rating. This movie is rated PG so as to encourage parents to watch this with their children and guide them through the movie's more mature themes. Please consider this as I highly recommend this movie people of all ages.
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
The story of Moses is a compelling one. "The Prince of Egypt" manages to meld that story into a very easily digested tale for the whole family. Though some liberties are taken, "Prince" keeps the basic elements of this wonderful tale intact. The only truly noteworthy changes are that Moses confronts Pharoah instead of his biological brother, Aaron, doing most of the talking and Moses and Ramses are raised as brothers by the Pharoah. In the Bible, Moses is raised by Pharoah's daughter, and Aaron plays a larger role in the overall story, doing most of the speaking to Pharoh as a representative of Moses.
With those minor details out of the way, "Prince of Egypt" is one of the best films around for the entire family to watch. It begins with the finding of Moses on the Nile River by Pharoah's wife, then shows him grow up as royalty in Egypt. He and his brother, Ramses, pretty much have full run of the roost. They get into plenty of trouble with each other, and their chariot race sequence is one of the best "chase" scenes in cinematic history. When Moses finds out that he is Hebrew, and that most of his people are slaves to Pharoah, he begins to notice the horrible things happening to his people. He accidentally kills one of Pharoah's guards when he attempts to protect one of the slaves, and, upset, he leaves his home in search of himself. God reveals to him that he is to lead his people out of Egypt, and he must go and tell Pharoah (who, by now, is Ramses) to, "let my people go."
The tale then takes us through the plagues that wreak havoc on Egypt as long as Pharoah refuses to free the Hebrews. The final plague, and definitely the most chilling, is the Passover. This, for those uninformed, is the time when the Angel of Death comes down into Egypt and takes the life of the first born children in every home that is not painted by the blood of a lamb on the door. This sequence was very moving, and the worst part is when the actual Passover has been completed, and the unbelieving families realize what has happened. The finale, the epic parting of the Red Sea, is just as, if not more, moving than the same event in "The Ten Commandments." It ties the characters of Moses and Ramses together in a most painful way. Moses and Ramses share a great love for each other as brothers, but neither can deny their true calling in life. The final moments showing Ramses on the banks of the Red Sea are very moving, and almost brought me to tears.
I've rarely seen an animated feature in which the voice actors have done such a grand job. Val Kilmer is wonderful as Moses, making you feel the pain and joy in his voice. Ralph Fiennes portrays Ramses with plenty of regal flare, but there is a constant hint of grief in his voice. Danny Glover, , Sandra Bullock, Michelle Pfeiffer and Patrick Stewart are amazing in their respective roles of Jethro, Miriam, Tzipporah, and Seti. Steve Martin and Martin Short are hilariously devious as Pharoah's high priests intent on proving that their gods are much more powerful than Moses' God. The standout of this group, however, is Jeff Goldblum as Aaron. In my opinion, his performance in this limited role is one of the best voice acted roles I've ever witnessed. His character made the film for me, and, other than Ramses, had a strong effect on me as I watched the film unfurl.
The animation in this flick is on par with Disney's giant animated flicks of the last couple of decades, namely "The Lion King." The music is wonderful as well.
In all, this is simply one of the best animated stories ever. I place it well above plenty of Disney's top films, and feel that it deserves much more respect than it has ever received. Well done, SKG, this is a premier piece of animated work.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2001
In 1956, Cecil B. DeMille introduced the world to the vivid elegance and powerful epic story of the opening events of the Exodus chapter in the Bible, bringing Moses to life in the most glorious telling of his story to date. Now come "The Prince of Egypt," which tells the exact same story as "The Ten Commandments," but does so on kids' and adults' terms alike, delighting its younger audience with song and brilliantly composed animation while giving its story a universal feel that will have an effect on teens and adults who look deep into the movie. To not call this movie an epic would be shortchanging it severely.
This film opens its gates with a musical number, as slaves in Egypt regale their turmoil as well as their hope that God will bring them to deliverance from the hands of their taskmasters. The plan to kill off all the firstborn is merely implied here: there is no chamber where women and their first-born babies go to die, neither is there a conversation explaining these actions. They are presented with a single baby's mother, whose song of hope for her son's success in life wills him down the river in a basket, where he is plucked out of the river by the Pharaoh's Queen, who names him Moses and raises him as her own. This all happens within the first ten minutes of the movie, but instead of seeming rushed, it tells us everything we need to know that is vital to our understanding of future events, without melodrama or lengthy twists.
Years later, Moses (voiced nicely by Val Kilmer), along with his "brother" Rameses (given a glorious treatment under Ralph Fiennes), have a strong relationship of brotherhood and friendship, so it is extremely difficult for Moses when he is set upon by his blood brother and sister (Sandra Bullock and Jeff Goldblum), finally realizing the truth of his situation and fleeing from Egypt after taking the life of an abusive taskmaster. His wandering lead him to a small gathering in the desert, where he soon is married, meets God in the form of a vibrant bush, and is sent back to his past home in hopes that Pharaoh shall free his people from his clutches. Of course he doesn't, causing Moses to bring down on Egypt the ten plagues of God, ultimately leading to their release from captivity and their walk to freedom.
Like the 1956 classic, there are some flaws in accordance with the accounts stated in the Bible, for instance the close bonds between Rameses and Moses. The movie chooses to focus majorly on this aspect, which works extremely well for the story because when the time comes for them to pit themselves against one another, it is so much more difficult for them to do so because of the past they shared. This works for the movie, but seems a bit of a stretch in terms of accuracy. However, the movie tells us that this account is not based solely on the historical, and that dramatic license was taken during the making of this movie, so that lets us know right away we're not dealing with the exactly, fact-is-all-here story.
The story, on its own terms, is magnificent and spectacular, a marvel for the ages along the ranks of other epics and sagas that bring a true story to life with grandeur and grace. The movie oozes with ambition and no sense of fear, and we can sense this because of its boldness in how it handles the story. The most intensified of these is the brilliant animation used for the movie, whose use of colors and depth bring to life the suffocating atmosphere of the grand halls of the palace, while giving us such feelings as warmth, coldness and chills. The animation will simply take your breath away with its grand scale, leaving you awestruck and touched.
This story is a true marvel in terms of courage and emotion, and the plot brings out both of those feelings wonderfully. Moses' struggle to free his people is told with utmost perception and grace, bringing us into his own mind's emotions and feelings as we watch him do God's work. His interaction with the other characters keeps the story moving, and the relations between he and Rameses in the second half of the movie is powerful and intense. We know who is going to be the ultimate loser of their battle, but it's still interesting to watch the two of them battle things out. We pretty much know the entire story, but that doesn't stop us from taking it all in again.
The key aspect to bringing out the emotion of this movie is its music, which is composed of some of the most haunting chords and upbeat melodies of any soundtrack I've ever heard. With original songs from Stephen Schwartz, whose previous work includes many Disney classics, and score composer Hans Zimmer, every emotion of the movie has its own piece of music, while the songs sung by the characters and the theme "When You Believe" bring to life the power and the struggle of the characters as they flee from bondage. While there are too many to mention here, the voice talents used are truly wonderful, composed of big name stars and bringing their characters to life as vibrantly as the animation does the setting.
"The Prince of Egypt" is an intense and glorious movie experience for the senses and the mind, taking us on one of history's most perilous and rewarding journey into a struggle for freedom and strength. The film's integrity and masterful storytelling capability make it pleasurable for adults and children alike, while keeping itself in line with its epic scope and scale.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2000
In addition to being a beautifully made film, "The Prince of Egypt" stands as an excellent example of how to make religious subject matter entertaining without being preachy. It's also very much an adult film, and that's OK by me; it's about time us adults had a animated film we didn't have to suffer through.
This film bucks the trend of frankly religious films ("The Omega Code," "Left Behind," etc.) that are little more than shills for a narrow religious viewpoint; indeed, "The Prince of Egypt" should be quite an experience for a viewer of ANY faith, even if it interprets the Old Testament a little loosely (which, to the producers' credit, is explained before the opening credits).
The main strength of "The Prince of Egypt" should be evident to anyone who watches the first two minutes of it: the animation is absolutely exquisite, and has marvelous depth. The film stands right up in this respect with any of Disney's best, which is no surprise; the film's producer, Jeffrey Katzenberg, is credited with prodding Disney to make classics like "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Little Mermaid."
"The Prince of Egypt" also scores with a nuanced, beautifully layered plot that goes way beyond the typical kiddie-animation level (and makes it an iffy kiddie film - a tradeoff I support), excellent songs from Stephen Schwartz, and some of the strongest voicing I've ever seen in an animated film.
One of the great delights of this film is the relationship between Moses (Val Kilmer) and his would-be brother Ramsses (Ralph Fiennes). It would have been easy to make both characters little more than caricatures of good and evil, but instead we get inside their close, loving relationship and see each man's motivations; for Moses, it's guilt over his adopted family's treatment of Jews, while Ramsses acts out of a strong, if misguided, sense of duty to his country. Each man does what he must, even if it means breaking each other's heart, and in the end, that's exactly what happens.
That the inevitable climax is played more for tragedy than an easy "I'm right, you're wrong" payoff, in my opinion, evidence of a serious dramatic intelligence and an abiding faith in the intelligence of the viewer. No animated film I've seen even begins to approach this level of nuance and complexity.
Of course, it's this complexity that makes "The Prince of Egypt" a poor entertainment for young kids; it's not overly violent, and has no inappropriate sexual content or language, but without talking animals and cutesy songs, this film simply won't appeal much to the kiddies for more than 10 minutes at a time.
Personally, I think some of these themes are a bit too heavy for a child under eight or so (try explaining why God killed Pharoah's little boy to your four-year-old, as I had to, and you'll understand); in the end, it's up to you.
Overall, though, "The Prince of Egypt" is a real treasure of a film, and for those of us who believe in its story, it's a wonderful affirmation of the cornerstone of our faith. That "The Prince of Egypt" can do that without being preachy or self-righteous makes it that much better a film.
A word about the DVD features: DreamWorks really did a nice job on the extras for this one. The navigation is exceptionally well done, the picture and sound quality are flawless, and there are plenty of extra features to justify spending more on a DVD.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2006
I am a grown man and I still get a little choked up when I watch this movie. It is animated film the way they should be done but seldom are in this digital age. It has all the necessary ingredients for an animated classic, good animation, a classic story, and beautiful, even haunting music.
The animation looks hand drawn, though at least some digital techniques were used, particularly in the very dynamic action sequences. But it works. Some scenes look almost cinematic in their detail. The filmmakers mimic live action photography very well. Look for the artificial sun glaring on the camera lens that does not exist.
As for the story, well a story that has been around for three thousand years will certainly stand the test of time. If you are familiar with the Exodus story from the Bible then you may notice that significant license was taken when translating it to film, a fact the filmmakers acknowledge from the opening. Nonetheless story is powerful and poignant. The characters are portrayed realistically, complete with inner conflict and the uncertainties that plague us all. Even the traditionally evil pharaoh is not truly evil. He has a motivation to act the way he does.
For those who may not know what type of film this is I issue a warning. This is a musical in a very traditional sense. If you don't like musicals you may not like this movie. Having said that however, I found the songs to be catchy and the lyrics to be poetic. Particularly touching was the song of Jethro, well performed by Danny Glover, and the Exodus sequence, which is the one that gets me every time.
The film does have a few sequences that may be frightening to very young children, particularly the final plague inflicted on Egypt. They are not so intense as to make one keep the kids from watching but may warrant a little parental explanation, so watch the movie with them.
The DVD also has some extras that the adults might find interesting, good commentary and some "making of" features. I found the multilanguage presentation of the song "When you believe" fascinating. In it the exodus sequence is replayed while the seamlessly dubbed voices shift between many of the languages in which the film was released.
I need not say much more. As of this time almost three hundred reviews have already been written on this film. Read them and you will get some different perspectives.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 1999
This is without a doubt one of the best movies that I've ever seen in my entire life. I left the movie with tears streaming down my face. And it is one of the best 9 movies that I have ever seen in my 29 years of life. I've seen this movie at least 18 times on the big screen and did not mind shelling out the money to see it each time. Along with my multiple viewings I even went so far as to write out the film transcript (if anyone reading this wants it feel free to contact me). As spectacular as the animation was that was not what moved me about this movie. In these days of creampuff movies it was so nice to see a film with a very good plot and character development. Rameses and Moses were so well drawn. Even though Rameses was a villain he wasn't the usual one dimensional one portrayed in films. He does a deplorable thing by keeping the Hebrews in bondage. But he does so because he is too proud to be seen as a failure and as the weak link especially considering the long and prestigious footsteps he has to follow. Many of us can relate to that. As for Moses he isn't the fearless leader that the makers could have made him out to be. He is reluctant at first to go and face Pharoah and instead adopting a Smug attitude when the Egyptians are suffering. He feels hurt and compassion because Egypt once was his home and these were his people. He even breaks down in tears after his brothers son dies. This makes him more of a human being and the type of character most of us can relate to. Normally whenever I see a Biblical adaptation for the screen it is nothing but a mockery but this time the makers of the film were respectful to the three faiths for whom this film is so dear. In a bit of politcal correctness I was finally happy to see that someone realised that Egypt is NOT in Europe and the hues of the characters reflect this. In response to the claims by some that there was nothing to learn from this movie outside of the Bible. I offer this strenuous objection. I learned A LOT from this film. I learned that having character and integrity is the most important thing of all. I could not help but admire the way that Moses not only once, but twice walked away from a comfortable life because it was the right thing to do. He could have remained in Egypt after he killed the guard. His father and brother would have forgiven him. But because he could no longer remain blind to the injustice that was going on around him he left. He also did not have to leave Midian and follow Gods urging to liberate his people. He could have stayed exactly where he was. As a Christian I was reminded of how God has delivered me from misery and despair. I was also reminded of how as a woman of African descent God has delivered my people out of bondage. I have a big apology to make, when I first saw a poster for this movie I assumed that POE was simply a thinly veiled attempt of two "groups" to go at each others throats in a film. But after I saw the film my opinion immediately changed. This is a universal story which can be applied to people all over the globe in any time the present, the past and the future. This is because human nature does not change, we will always have a need to feel superior to some other group and feel that it is our "right" to put them down and mistreat them. Look around the world and we still see one ethnic group acting cruelly towards another because they think that it is their right to do so. One does not even have to look around the globe just look around you and see how we treat each other. Rudeness and un-civilty may not be the same as keeping people in bondage, but like slavery it too helps to crush the human spirit. This is so wrong. This is one of the (many) lessons I learned from seeing the Prince of Egypt. We must view and treat others with respect and dignity no matter how better we feel we are than they are. This is a terrific movie! Which I believe Believer and Non-believer will enjoy tremendously. I am on my knees as a Christian, an artist and a patron of films to Dreamworks for putting out such a high quality film (for those who moan about techniqualities in animation should get a grip 99% of the viewing public would not know the difference). Though I seriously think that it really is not suitable for Children under 12 years old. Much of the significance is very heavy and may fly over the heads young ones (which is why I think that the movie did not make as much money as it should have. My only fault---it's too short!!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2005
First of all this movie is great.The animation is amazing , the voice actors , the music , and the story itself is great.
It's from the book of Exodus.It begins with Yocheved , the mother of Moses , after that the river flows Moses to the palace of the pharaoh , Seti. There the mother of Rameses finds Moses and takes him as her own child. Then he becomes the prince of egypt. And I won't say anything else , you should watch the movie. About the title of my review the movie it's so breathtaking I couldn't breathe when I first saw it , it was amazing,stunning!! The good thing about this movie is that it happenned in real life , from the book of Exodus , and when Moses freed the Hebrews. Luckily I THINK there are no fictional characters in this movie , that's wnat I think. This movie is my inspiration to become an artist , it's amazing what a group of people can do together , and the whole world can enjoy it.
Although , it took 4 years to make this film , and it was worth it. I love the music by Hanz Zimmer.Now the voice actors , first Val Kilmer as Moses his voice is perfect it suits Moses very well.
26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2007
The animation in this is beautiful and the music is very good - it reminds me of a Broadway musical in style. What bothers me about it is how it deviates from the Bible account of God's deliverance of his people from Egypt. It also adds much to the Bible account that is not there. For example, Moses is a young man in this whereas he should haave been 80. Aaron did not go with him to Pharoah as the Bible tells us; instead they send zipporah with Moses. The boyhood friendship between Ramses and Moses is completely fabricated - it's not in the Bible at all. I think it would have been so wonderful if they had stuck to the facts. The truth of what really happened is so much more exciting. By the way, my 3-year old will not watch it - she is too upset by the babies being thrown in the river. May be more appropriate for older children!