The Prince of Egypt

 
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Release date: December 16, 1998

Based on: Book of Exodus (ancient text traditionally believed to have been written by Moses)

Directed by: Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner and Simon Wells

Starring: Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Steve Martin, Martin Short

Budget: $70 million

Box office: $218.6 million
 

An Egyptian prince learns of his identity as a Hebrew and embarks on his destiny to deliver his people from bondage.

Retelling the Book of Exodus as an animated musical, The Prince of Egypt is one of those films where the concept sounds almost impossible to execute. Nevertheless, it delivers an enjoyable cinematic experience. Though the story takes creative liberties, filling in the holes not present in the original story found in the Bible, they are done so respectfully. They do well in providing more characterization to Moses, Rameses and their father Seti, giving the latter half of the film a greater sense of emotional weight. Similarly, when it can, the rest of the film stays true to the Biblical tale even going so far as to use the actual text in its dialogue.

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Additionally, the film is a good blend of traditional and computer-generated animation. Every moment in its hour and 38 minute runtime is enjoyable to look at, whether it’s the banks of the Nile River or a thunderstorm of hail and fire raining down on Egypt. This is combined with fantastic cinematography. Every shot in the film looks as if careful thought went into every detail of every frame. These visuals along with how good the story is make for a film where not one scene feels as if its a chore to get through. Rather, they suck the viewer in and never let go until the very last scene.

All the actors give noteworthy performances too. In fact, it would be fair to say there isn’t any lackluster acting to be found in this film. Kilmer and Fiennes are incredibly believable as two brothers who used to be close and now find themselves at odds with each other and the latter is great in portraying someone trying desperately to live up to the task before him. At the same time, Martin and Short employ wonderful comedic timing while also conveying a convincing air of malevolency.

The music is what drives it all home. In and of themselves, the songs are entertaining. However, their placement in the film only add to how well-crafted of a product it is. None of them feel out of place nor do they feel manipulative in any way. Instead, they succeed as an extension of the the film’s mood and the characters’ feelings.

As the second animated film by DreamWorks, this film set a high bar for subsequent works. It never disappoints and is always worth watching.

Awards

Won

Academy Awards

  • Best Music, Original Song (For the song “When You Believe”)

ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards

  • Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures (For the song “When You Believe”)

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Animated Film

  • Best Song (For the song “When You Believe”)

Dallas-Fort  Worth Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Animated Film

Florida Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Special Notice

Online Film & Television Association Awards

  • Best Family Picture

  • Best Music, Original Family Movie

Young Artist Awards

  • Best Performance in a Voice Over in a Feature Film or TV-Best Young Actress (Aria Noelle Curzon)

  • Best Family Feature - Animated

Nominated

Academy Awards

  • Best Music, Original Music or Comedy Score

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA - Saturn Awards

  • Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film

  • Best Music

ALMA AWards

  • Outstanding Performance of a Song for a Feature Film (For the song “When You Believe”)

Annie Awards

  • Outstanding Individual Achievement in Effects Animation

  • Outstanding Individual Achievement for Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production

  • Outstanding Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production

  • Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production (Ralph Fiennes for playing “Rameses”)

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards

  • Favorite Song from a Movie (Internet Only) (For the song “When You Believe”)

Golden Globe Awards

  • Best Original Score - Motion Picture

  • Best Original Song - Motion Picture (Song: “When You Believe”)

Grammy Awards

  • Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media (For the song “The Prince of Egypt (When You Believe.”)

  • Best Soundtrack Album

International Film Music Critics Awards

  • Best Original Score for an Adventure Film

Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA Awards - Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing - Animated Feature

  • Best Sound Editing - Music - Animated Feature

Online Film & Television Association Awards

  • Best Voice-Over Performance (Ralph Fiennes for playing “Rameses II”)

  • Best Family Actor (Ralph Fiennes)

  • Best Family Ensemble

  • Best Music, Original Song (For the song “Deliver Us”)

  • Best Music, Original Song (For the song “When You Believe”)

  • Best Cinematic Moment (For the Parting of the Red Sea sequence)

Online Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Original Score

Satellite Awards

  • Golden Satellite Award - Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media

  • Best Original Song (Song: “When You Believe”)

The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards

  • Worst Song in a Motion Picture (“When You Believe”)