The Prince of Egypt
The Prince of Egypt is a 1998 American animated epic musical film and the first traditional animated film produced and released by DreamWorks. The film is an adaptation of the Book of Exodus and follows the life of Moses from being a prince of Egypt to his ultimate destiny to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.
In Ancient Egypt, Yocheved and her two young children, Miriam and Aaron, watch as the newborn Hebrew boys are taken and ruthlessly killed as ordered by Pharaoh Seti, who fears that an alarming increase of Hebrew slaves could lead to rebellion. Fearing for her own newborn son's safety, Yocheved places him in a basket afloat on the Nile River, not before bidding him farewell with a final but powerful lullaby. Miriam follows the basket as it sails to the Pharaoh's palace and witnesses her baby brother safely adopted by Seti's wife Queen Tuya, who names him Moses.
Years later, Moses and his adoptive brother Rameses are scolded by their father for accidentally destroying a temple during one of their youthful misadventures. At Moses' suggestion, Seti, seeking to give Rameses the opportunity to prove that he is a responsible young man, names him Prince Regent and gives him authority over Egypt's temples. As a tribute, the high priests Hotep and Huy offer him a beautiful young Midianite woman, Tzipporah, whom Rameses gives to Moses, appointing him Royal Chief Architect.
Later that night, Moses follows Tzipporah as she escapes from the palace, and runs into the now-adult Miriam and Aaron, but he does not recognize them. Miriam then sings her mother's lullaby, which Moses remembers; however, he returns to the palace, eager to go back to familiar surroundings. The truth about his past is later confirmed by a nightmare, and finally by Seti himself, who disturbs Moses by claiming the Hebrews were "only slaves". The next day, Moses accidentally pushes an Egyptian guard to his death while trying to stop him from whipping an elderly Hebrew slave. Horrified and ashamed, Moses flees into the desert in exile, despite Rameses' pleas that he stay.
While in the desert Moses defends three young girls from brigands, only to find out their older sister is Tzipporah herself. Moses is welcomed by Tzipporah's father and the high priest of Midian, Jethro. After assimilating into this new culture, Moses becomes a shepherd and marries Tzipporah. One day, while chasing a stray lamb, Moses discovers a burning bush through which God tells him to go back to Egypt and guide the Hebrew slaves to freedom. God bestows Moses' shepherding staff with his power and promises that he will tell Moses what to say. Moses and Tzipporah return to Egypt, where Moses is happily greeted by Rameses, who is now Pharaoh.
When Moses requests the Hebrews release and changes his staff into an Egyptian cobra to demonstrate his alliance with God, Hotep and Huy boastfully recreate this transformation, only to have their snakes eaten by Moses' snake. Rather than be persuaded, Rameses hardens and doubles the Hebrews workload. Moses inflicts nine of the Plagues of Egypt, but still Rameses refuses to relent and, against Moses' warning (foreshadowing the final plague), vows never to release the Hebrews slaves. Disheartened, Moses prepares the Hebrews for the tenth and final plague, instructing them to sacrifice a lamb and mark the doorposts with the lamb's blood. That night, the final plague kills all the firstborn children of Egypt, including Rameses' son, while sparing those of the Hebrews. A grief-stricken Rameses finally gives Moses permission to free the Hebrews. After leaving the palace, Moses collapses weeping with grief, heartbroken at the pain he has caused his brother and Egypt.
The following morning, the Hebrews leave Egypt, led by Moses, Miriam, Aaron, and Tzipporah. At the Red Sea, they discover that a vengeful Rameses is pursuing them with his army, intent on killing them. However, a writhing pillar of fire blocks the army's way, while Moses uses his staff to part the sea. The Hebrews cross the open sea bottom; after that, the fire vanishes and the army gives chase, but the water closes over and drowns the Egyptian soldiers, sparing Rameses alone. Moses sadly bids farewell to his brother and leads the Hebrews to Mount Sinai, where he receives the Ten Commandments.
Why it Rocks
- For Dreamworks' second feature film after Antz, they managed to make lightning strike twice.
- The film sports a down-right gorgeous soundtrack.
- The film's perfect pacing, everything flows freely and naturally.
- The film's beautiful animation with a blend of traditional animation, computer-generated imagery, created using software from Toon Boom Animation and Silicon Graphics.
- An all-star cast, mainly consisting of actors with Jewish heritage.
- Decent songs like Deliver Us, The Plagues, and When You Believe.
- The film can go into some dark themes like genocide.
- The film was banned in many Muslim communities including Egypt.
- The film was created on Jeffrey Katzenberg wanting to make an animated adaptation of the 1956 film The Ten Commandments while working at Disney.