Approaching its 22 year anniversary, “The Prince of Egypt” remains one of the greatest animated movies of all time. The movie recounts the book of Exodus and how Moses lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Every aspect of this film is fantastic. The performances, the animation and the music all contribute to one of the most underrated movies ever made.
Something I’ve always found difficult while reading any historical text is seeing the historical figures as real people and not just characters in a book. “The Prince of Egypt” is able to break down that barrier with its writing. A perfect example is exploring how Moses felt watching God rain the plagues down on Egypt. Yes, the Israelites are his chosen people, but Moses didn’t grow up an Israelite. He grew up an Egyptian; he was The Prince of Egypt. He states multiple times that he wishes God chose someone else, but that was not in God’s plan. Moses had to watch as his home and the people he once loved died because of Pharaoh’s arrogance.
Another amazing decision was to make the main focus of the plot the human conflict between Moses and Ramses. The movie begins with them as best friends and the closest of brothers, but as Ramses acquires the throne and Moses becomes God’s chosen speaker, they are forced into becoming unwilling enemies. While both wish their relationship could go back to the way it once was, they know it is impossible.
This is all punctuated by the amazing performances from one of the most star-studded casts ever. Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum and other A-list actors don’t just phone in their performances but clearly put forward their best effort to make the characters feel real.
On top of all this is the unique animation style. The sharp edges and lanky designs make the characters look like hieroglyphs. The use of this animation also creates such an enormous sense of scale. It showcases towering monuments to the pharaohs of the past and the parting of the Red Sea. It brilliantly combines CGI with hand-drawn animation. Together, these details simulate what it would be like to live in a time of plagues and pharaohs.
Lastly, every single song is a work of art. The movie opens with the simultaneously epic and horrifying first track, “Deliver Us,” in which the Israelites call out to God as their children are slaughtered. Every single song from that point on is able to contribute to the story, while maintaining a grandiose feeling. “Through Heaven’s Eyes” details Moses’ time in the land of Midian, while the Oscar winning song “When You Believe” shows the Israelites finally being freed from the hundreds of years of oppression they’ve suffered. However, my personal favorite is “The Plagues,” which truly shows the dichotomy between Moses and Ramses, all while Egypt is being destroyed.
This movie is able to capture the innate sense of quality, so many other faith-based movies have failed to deliver. Not only is it the greatest faith based movie, it is in the running for the title of best animated movie ever.