Film Favourites: The Prince of Egypt
This past year I experienced a sudden, burning desire to see one of Dreamworks' overlooked masterpieces- a 1998 animated film titled, The Prince of Egypt. In all honesty I have no idea where this craving came from, but I wasted little time in hunting it down at a used movie store for a grand total of $3.99. So worth it.
Despite being twenty years old, the movie sky-rocketed to my list of favourites almost instantaneously. Why, you ask? Well, allow me to explain why The Prince of Egypt is a must-see classic, an awesome interpretation of the Moses account, and inspiration for me in my own Moses project.
1. The plot is golden. How can you go wrong? One of the most epic biblical accounts of all time, complete with one of history's most inspiring protagonists, in the form of an animated musical? It's cinematic gold!
2. The score is AMAZING. With a soundtrack written by none other than Hans Zimmer (The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sherlock Holmes, Madagascar- need I go on?) and the incredibly talented Stephen Schwartz (Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Enchanted, to name a few), this soundtrack is easily among my top five faves for musical brilliance. The music is powerful, dynamic, emotional, and generally EPIC in every sense of the word. The one downside- I can't find it on Canadian iTunes. But don't get me started on that.
3. Endearing/inspiring Moses interpretation. One of my favourite parts of reading the Bible is pondering the character, the real person, between the lines of a biblical account. Through Kyrian and The Heir of Ariad, with God's help, I've found my own interpretation, and I think what I love about the Moses in this movie is how much he reminds me of Kyrian. Flawed but good-hearted. Driven by emotion. Slightly impulsive, self-deprecating, charismatic and complete with a strong moral compass that shows through when it really counts. The film captures his journey from immaturity to responsibility, as well as the weight of the burden on his shoulders and his love for the people in bondage. I fell in love with him instantly, and gained an even better appreciation for the real Moses and who he might have been as a person.
4. Solid story interpretation. Naturally, when converting a true account into a film, you know there are going to be some details that fall through the cracks. In The Prince of Egypt, certain creative liberties are taken to ensure a smooth transition into cinematic form, but all in all, the heart of the story is retained. The message still shines brightly as ever that God is bigger than every fear, He is in control, and He can use even the weakest of servants for His greatest purpose.
5. Cool animation. Sure, it may be twenty years old, but the colours and shapes, combined with a realistic-artistic cartoon style, made for an aesthetic cinematic experience. Sometimes the oldest is the best.
6. Star-studded cast. Moses is played by Val Kilmer, Zipporah by Michelle Pfeiffer, Miriam by Sandra Bullock, and Jethro by Danny Glover. But that's not all. The cast also includes Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Steve Martin and Martin Short, and none other than Jeff Goldblum as Moses' brother Aaron. I mean, come on! Is anyone else pumped by the fact that Hollywood's superstars came together in a blatantly biblical film with a blatantly biblical plot-line? Awesome!
All in all, those were four dollars well spent. This film points to God, inspires me in my own interpretation of Moses and his story, and comes with a golden soundtrack on top of it all. In my eyes, that's a recipe for a cinematic masterpiece, worth way more than $3.99. But this is a Moses fan talking, after all, so don't just take my word for it. See for yourself!