Volume 92, Issue 60

Thursday, January 14, 1999



Prince walks like an Egyptian

The punk rock funDementals

Traditional folklore legends gone awry

London band puts feather in their cap

Prince walks like an Egyptian

©Gazette file photo

SWEETHEART, WHY DON'T YOU WANT HIM? HE'S NICELY DRAWN. An all-star cast rounds out Dreamworks animated production of The Prince of Egypt.

By Efe Saydam

Gazette Writer

"My son, I have nothing I can give, but this chance that you may live."

With these words, Moses' mother released him to be carried by the stream of the River Nile and escape persecution from the oppressive Egyptians in Dreamworks' first feature-length animation, The Prince of Egypt.

This story faithfully recounts the Book of Exodus, where Moses delivers his message from God to free his Hebrew people from the cruel clutches of his alleged brother, Pharaoh Ramses. The Prince of Egypt is a skillfully crafted movie, with a credible plot and very impressive artwork.

This film establishes Dreamworks as a serious rival to Disney's calibre of feature-length animated films with its exceptional, vivid animation and its convincing characters. Voices are provided by an all-star cast, including Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum and Patrick Stewart.

The story is a concise insight into this enigmatic tale and attempts to explain the events of Moses and Ramses with utmost clarity. The plot is quite straightforward, yet rich enough for any adult to enjoy.

The animation is remarkable, particularly during the scenes supported by Egyptian architecture. The wondrous grandeur of the Sphinx and the towering monuments of Egyptian deities are reproduced in vivid detail and are almost frightening in their realism. The landscape of the ancient city is in some parts breathtaking, changing caricature vision of Egypt into one of reality.

The most artistically creative scene is the parting of the Red Sea, where the movement of the waves and the pillar of fire is convincing enough to create difficulty in discerning between animation and real life.

The label on this film's poster warned viewers they should beware of "frightening scenes." Rather, the content of the story is somewhat layered and moves along at only a moderate pace, therefore an additional label should have professed "your kids might get bored."

The Bible isn't exactly children's fare either and some of the biblical references in the movie are pretty gruesome. Would you want to show your children how the plague only kills those who don't paint their front door with sheep's blood? The Prince of Egypt did not feature any quirky, bungling sidekick characters either, in an attempt to regard the religious subject matter with respect.

There exists, though, one awkward moment in the film. The musical forays which the characters go into during the more emotionally climactic scenes are irritating and sometimes even distracting. This is because there are not enough of these musical sequences to call the film a musical in its own right.

The Prince of Egypt is, however, the best animated film since The Lion King. Moses himself would say, "Jesus, this ain't no cartoon."

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Copyright © The Gazette 1999