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The Prince of Egypt Rules
A review of The Prince of Egypt
by J. D. Rummel

In all honesty I didn't care whether or not I saw The Prince of Egypt. Although I love cartoons, and have never seen the Ten Commandments, I knew the Exodus story from Sunday school and church and wasn't jazzed about its reiteration in any format. My MMMR mate, Bob, had raved about the flick, but even as the lights began to dim in the theater, I was there mainly because my gal and future brother and sister-in-law wanted to see it. Maybe some of you have been there—you go because the boat is floating nicely without waves.

Director: Simon Wells

Stars: Sandra Bullock, Val Kilmer, Steve Martin, Danny Glover, Jeff Goldblum, Helen Mirren, Michelle Pfeiffer, Martin Short, Ralph Fiennes, Ofra Haza

Rating: PG

Release: 12-18-1998

Time: 97 minutes

Buy Movie at A very pleasant surprise awaited me, indeed I enjoyed myself thoroughly, and it's easy to see why. First of all, the story is an absolute classic, overflowing with dramatic juice: baby facing death is sent away into the dangerous void only to be recovered by a couple that raises the alien baby on their own. The child grows to manhood and must confront his true birthright. The shock is too much and man flees the life he has known. Instead of dying, the man finds a new life, but eventually he comes face to face with his destiny (and in the case of Moses, destiny comes calling as the All-Powerful, Prime Mover). The man returns to the place he fled so long ago and must essentially ruin the man he has called brother for all his life. This is great stuff!

The animation is thoughtful and imaginative, the music powerful and evocative. To the credit of the creators, these are both used to build that classic narrative outlined above. They step carefully around the story so as not to offend any of the world's major religions, many of whom use this story as part of their canon. Although the details change a little from my King James version, nothing was lost for me. For my money, the most moving aspect of the film is the destruction of the brotherhood between the two principals, Moses and Ramses, voiced by Val Kilmer and Ralph Fiennes, respectively. The filmmakers have highlighted aspects of this tale that for years were only noted in sermons from a Sunday pulpit.

I admire the folks at Dreamworks for succeeding as wildly as they have. The film gives life to a story I frankly never cared if I saw because I thought I knew it. Sure, they took some liberties, and they admit this in an opening disclaimer, but they preserve the incredible power of this story without stooping to pander to demographics. The creators could have made a movie where they generated lots of noise by "updating" the story or some other foolishness. Instead, they knew what they had and trusted in its power to be enough.

Maybe I need to watch the Ten Commandments next.