The Prince of Egypt
Simon Wells, Brenda Chapman and Steve Hickner
- Val Kilmer as Moses
- Ralph Fiennes as Rameses
- Michelle Pfeiffer as Tzipporah
- Sandra Bullock as Miriam
- Jeff Goldblum as Aaron
- Danny Glover as Jethro
- Patrick Stewart as Pharaoh Seti
- Helen Mirren as Queen Tuya
- Steve Martin as Hotep
- Martin Short as Huy
DreamWorks take on the biblical story of Moses is a stunningly animated and powerfully constructed film. From the stirring music to the talented voice cast, The Prince of Egypt is a powerful achievement in animation as Moses discovers his destiny to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
In Ancient Egypt, a female slave, in order to save her baby son from a cull of Hebrew children, sends him down the river in a basket in the hopes that he will be able to live free. The baby is discovered by the Queen, who adopts him and gives him the name Moses. Years later, Moses is grown up and has a friendly rivalry with his older brother Rameses, who will one day become Pharaoh. Moses is unaware of his mother’s sacrifice all those years ago or the fact that he is a Hebrew by birth. That is until he meets Miriam, his biological sister and a slave who informs him of the truth. Confused and shocked by this, he begins to see that everything he’s ever known has been a lie. Now aware of his past, he can’t just stand and watch as the Hebrews are enslaved by the Egyptians. Fleeing into the desert after accidentally killing a slave driver beating an elderly slave, Moses is visited by God in the form of a burning bush. Moses now begins to understand his destiny but his views are at odds with the newly crowned Rameses. Their differing beliefs will forever change the close relationship of the two. Evocative, well executed and filled with images of great wonder and beauty, The Prince of Egypt is a staggeringly staged marvel of animation that will engage you regardless of whether you’re religious or not.
The first thing to praise is the grand and beautiful animation that captures the interest from the first frame. Scenes live long in the memory from the slaves praying through their arduous work to Moses being sent down the river, visual splendour abounds. Special attention must go to the sequences of the Plagues of Egypt; as frogs emerge from the river, livestock perishes and the last plague of the death of the first-born occur. These scenes are carefully constructed and detailed to the highest degree as well as dealing with some deep themes such as faith and religion. The music of the film is stirring and very memorable. The two songs that stand out the most are ‘Deliver Us’, sung by the slaves as they ask God for mercy and the Oscar-winning ‘When You Believe’, a stunning song about the eventual reward of patience and the joy that comes from undying faith.
The voice cast assembled are an exceptionally talented bunch that invest their characters with both heart and emotion. Val Kilmer strongly voices Moses and shows us the gradual bravery after initial uncertainty that Moses gets as he realises his destiny. The commanding voice of Ralph Fiennes portrays Rameses who struggles with his brother’s calling and won’t back down as he sees it as a sign of weakness. Michelle Pfeiffer combines feisty determination with loving warmth as Tzipporah, the eventual wife of Moses who he helped escape from Egypt after being kidnapped. Sandra Bullock is earnest and passionate as Miriam, the sister of Moses who is the first person to show him the truth about his destiny. Fleshing out the other skilled voices are Jeff Goldblum, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart and Helen Mirren, who all contribute emotional depth to this tale. Steve Martin and Martin Short voice the court magicians who add the comic relief.
Stunningly animated and sonically beautiful, The Prince of Egypt is a marvellous film. Some may say it is religious propaganda, but one can’t deny the amount of talented work at play here in bringing this story to the screen.