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Prince of Egypt

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Prince of Egypt

Starring: Val Kilmer, Sandra Bullock
Director: Brenda Chapman
Rated: PG
RunTime: 99 Minutes
Release Date: December 1998
Genres: Animation, Kids, Music

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Review by Susan Granger
4 stars out of 4

Set in ancient Egypt, this animated tale follows the Biblical story of Exodus in which Moses grew from slave to prince and led his people to the promised land, progressing from hedonistic unawareness to an acceptance of faith and responsibility as God's chosen leader of the Jewish people. It's a loose adaptation, capturing the "essence and values" of the Bible story. Scholars may quibble with the fact that Moses is rescued by Pharaoh's wife (Helen Mirren), not daughter but, despite details which have been changed, the epic holds true as the baby is set adrift on the Nile by his mother to escape the wrath of Pharaoh (Patrick Stewart) against the Hebrews. Miraculously, he is found and raised as a member of the Royal Family. Ignorant of his heritage, he forms a close bond with Pharaoh's son Ramses (Ralph Fiennes) yet, the step-brothers are torn apart by fate (think Cain and Abel) as Moses (Val Kilmer) meets his sister (Sandra Bullock) who reveals who he is and where he came from. The brothers' teenage relationship is a DreamWorks invention that works dramatically since, eventually, Moses must appeal to Ramses to let his oppressed people go, amidst plague-and-pestilence. DreamWorks' animation is stunning, never surrendering to "cute" touches that would make it into a whimsical cartoon for moppets. It's a risky, PG-rated choice that may lose the pre-school "Antz" audience but should pay off in the long run, combining "Raiders of the Lost Ark" with "The Ten Commandments." And the music is magnificent with a score that should dominate Oscar night. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Prince of Egypt" is a fanciful yet reverent 10, an instant classic that redefines the animation genre with a new sophistication. One of the best pictures of the year!

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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