The Prince of Egypt (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

In this animated retelling of the Book of Exodus, upon discovering his roots as a Jewish slave and upon promptings from God. Egyptian Prince Moses embarks on a quest to free his people from bondage. When his plea is denied by his brother Ramses, the new pharaoh, a series of horrific plagues strike Egypt. However, upon following Gods instructions, Moses finally leads the Israelite’s to freedom by parting the Red Sea and drowning the Egyptian army. God then gives Moses the Ten Commandments, a list of rules for his people to live by.

Production Quality (3 points)

The Prince of Egypt is still today the best animated christian film to date. Dreamworks surprised everyone back in the late 90’s with the idea of making a musical/biblical rendition of the story of Moses (The Prince of Egypt), in his early life. The production quality of this movie is superb especially considering the age. Not only is it a well done Biblical epic it is also a wonderfully orchestrated musical. It is very rare to have not only a well done animated christian production but also one that manages to add an original soundtrack on top of it all. The music as mentioned already, is excellent one main reason for this is that it really adds to and tells the story very effectively. It’s not like other animated productions where there are mindless sing along sessions where the characters randomly burst out into shallow (not to mention really annoying) singing for a “montage” or a “funny moment”. This brings us to the other main point for why the music is top notch. The characters can actually sing! Not to forget of course that the music is composed by Hans Zimmer and Stephen Schwartz, so you know you can’t get much better than that. Anyway to sum it up you won’t be able to find a much better quality production in an animated christian film than this one.

Plot and Storyline Quality (2 points)

The plot of The Prince of Egypt is overall excellent like the rest of the movie, they slightly altered and added to the original Bible story only slightly. Although we are not sure what actually occurred in the real story as far as moments with Ramses and Moses or the scenes with Egyptian Priest’s Hotep and Huy (which are not their real names by the way). Another aspect of the plot versus the events in the Bible, is that of Moses’s age when he confronted Pharaoh. As stated in Exodus 7, Moses was eighty years old as well as was Aaron when confronting Pharaoh. Which we are not clear of in the movie as far as how old Moses is, however, it is pretty obvious he is not eighty years old in said moments. This is not to even mention the total absence of Aaron alongside Moses in the movie. Compared to what the Bible says concerning that God sent Aaron alongside Moses to confront Pharaoh because Moses was worried about having to speak. Nevertheless this is not the case in the film, they basically combined Moses and Aaron into one character and the Aaron in the movie is for the most part absent from the film. In the end these are just nit picky complaints, however, just so it’s made known that it is not entirely accurate to what the Bible states. For the most part though the plot is very well done and authentic in that they tried to stick to the true story for the most part. Nonetheless, we cannot overlook inaccuracies of the Bible that is why it has received a lower rating in this area.

Acting Quality (3 points)

The cast of The Prince of Egypt is also of course excellent. All the characters are very well cast and their quality of acting is superb. It certainly makes a massive difference in the quality of a film especially an animated film to have a capable cast. It would be very easy to say that The Prince of Egypt also steals the prize for the best acting quality for a Bible based animated film. There are really no complaints here at all for acting quality, characters do not put on an overbearing or glass half empty performance.

Conclusion

This film is one of the best ideas Dreamworks has ever had, what better way to make a movie than one based off of a Bible story. Even better still one that manages to pull of a wonderful musical (yes I’ve mentioned this a lot already:) that manages to add to the plot of the film. In conclusion this film is a must see for all ages and all demographics.

Final Rating 8 out of 10 points

Son of God [2014] (Movie Review)

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Plot Summary

The life of Jesus Christ is timeless.  This rendition is centered around the unity of the Bible, the role of John son of Zebedee, and the political power struggles that existed during Jesus’ three year earthly ministry.  Son of God seeks to concisely portray this three year ministry from start to finish in a way that brings emotional connection from the audience.

 

Production Quality (2 points)

For starters, Son of God looks professional on the surface.  The video quality is good and the camera work is above average.  Action scenes are filmed fairly well.  Sets, locations, costumes, and props are pretty authentic, which is something many Bible movies bungle.  The musical score is commendable, but there is also an overuse of loud sound effects.  Sometimes the first century surroundings seem authentic, but other times, they do not.  For instance, too many locations exist in CGI format, including Herod’s Temple.  Some characters are able to get dirty, but others remain untouched by grime no matter what.  Another big issue here is the severely choppy editing.  The story does not flow well at all and there are too many location and sky footage scenes.  It is too obvious that this film was cut from a television miniseries.  In short, the production is above average, but not good enough.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

As previously mentioned, the storyline is hard to follow.  It seems like this film is a collection of Jesus highlights, with no real common thread or day to day life elements, just hopping from one familiar story to the next.  The characters cannot be connected with—they are just random people saying rehearsed lines.  The Jesus character is very inaccessible and seems lofty and aloof.  What is more disturbing is that, at times, Jesus seems obviously surprised that certain things are occurring.  There are multiple glaring Biblical inaccuracies that are more obvious than the usual Bible entertainment blunders.  Scriptural narratives are chopped up, edited, rushed, and forced together in order to suit this movie’s runtime.  On the bright side, there are some very engaging scenes that do bring the Bible to life, but it seems like the entire movie\miniseries was written for these few scenes.  In summary, it is a great idea to make a movie about the life of Jesus, but this is not how to do it.

Acting Quality (.5 point)

Son of God is very poorly cast.  Why do Bible characters have to always be played by British actors and actresses?  A majority of the characters in the Gospels were Middle Eastern and\or perhaps African.  Each actor and actress has been forced into a role that does not work for them and their culturally incorrect accents are distracting.  On the surface, they seem professional, but a lot of their lines are very forced.  No emotion is present.  Therefore, a low score is awarded.

Conclusion

In the beginning, The Bible miniseries and Son of God seemed to have good ideas and good intentions.  But the longer they went on, the more confusing and muddled they became.  In trying to play off of sensationalism and emotion, Son of God loses the original message and forgets what the Bible and what Jesus’ first coming was all about.  You will not find theological truths or realism in this film.  As Roma Downey once put it, they were not going for Biblical accuracy, but for emotional connection.  It looks like they succeeded, but at what cost?

 

Final Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points