Don't get too far ahead of me now. The Prince of Egypt is a solid and consistent movie. The animation is first rate, the storyline is strong, and at first glance it is missing nothing from the formula of winning animation. Nonetheless, it rises more to the level of recent mid-range Disney successes like Hercules and Hunchback, than the pantheon of Belle and Simba. And its fundamental shortcoming is really no different than that of these two recent Disney releases, which is a basic disregard for the animation formula. In short, these movies seem to ignore the fact that they are first and foremost musicals. And the most important element of a musical is, or course, the music.
Maybe its a bigger problem than that. Maybe society as a whole doesn't want to accept that the musical could still survive in today's cynical age. And if accepting that means I might have to witness the second coming of Madonna in Evita, then I sure as hell don't want anything to do with a musical revival. But the fact of the matter is that animation is the lone remaining bastion of the musical genre in film, and for some reason or another, the combination works. So Dreamworks can steal all of Disney's animators, their animation directors (and by the way, where did these guys come from anyway?), and even the production cheif. But in the end, it's the music guys. Don't forget the music.
The Prince of Egypt has a slightly bigger problem in that on top of this, the Dreamworks guys decided to go highbrow on Disney and make theirs a mature animated film. Unlike any of the G-rated Disney classics aforementioned, Prince is almost unmentionably PG. Alright, so they wanted to hit it big, grab the Oscar noms, but at the end of the day, it's still a musical. If you wanted to make the greatest story ever told an action-adventure-drama, too late, we saw that one 40 years ago. So guys, I'm not really trying to nag too much. It was actually a pretty good showing, but next time: pick a genre and go with it.
Go down, Moses.
Run time: 99 mins
In Theaters: Friday 18th December 1998
Box Office Worldwide: $218.6M
Distributed by: Dreamworks
Production compaines: DreamWorks SKG
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Fresh: 66 Rotten: 18
IMDB: 6.9 / 10
Starring: Val Kilmer as Moses/God, Ralph Fiennes as Ramesses II, Patrick Stewart as Pharaoh Seti I, Michelle Pfeiffer as Zipporah, Sandra Bullock as Miriam, Jeff Goldblum as Aaron, Danny Glover as Jethro, Helen Mirren as The Queen, Steve Martin as Hotep, Martin Short as Huy, James Avery as Additional Voices, Amick Byram as Moses (singing voice), Aria Curzon as Additional Voices, Sally Dworsky as Miriam (singing voice), Ofra Haza as Yocheved, Brian Stokes Mitchell as Jethro (singing voice), Bobby Motown as Rameses Son, Eden Riegel as Young Miriam, Shira Roth as Hebrew Child (singing voice), Stephanie Sawyer as Additional Voices, Linda Shayne as The Queen (singing voice), Francesca Smith as Additional Voices