The Prince of Egypt: A “Passed Over” Classic (Dan Segall)

As most everyone no doubt knows, this weekend marks the passage of a number of important holidays. The most widely-celebrated of these will be Easter, celebrating the crucifixion, death and rebirth of Christ. What may be equally well-known, but less widely-celebrated (though this does not diminish its importance) is the celebration of the Jewish Holiday of Passover, which tells the story of Exodus when the Jews escaped over four hundred years of slavery in Egypt to freedom in Israel, thanks to the leadership and courage of the Prophet Moses.

Many films have been made about the Passover story (often referred to simply as the “Miracle”), but in my opinion none has been more well-done and re-watchable in so many aspects than the 1998 Dreamworks Animated production The Prince of Egypt.

Apart from being the most commercially-successful non-Disney animated movie of all time ($218 million global box office over a $70 million budget) until 2007’s The Simpsons Movie, it is also perhaps one of the few of its kind that can truly be called an “epic” film. The animation style and dark, bold coloring compliments the realistic, almost gritty tone of the story’s framing; though it is certainly a movie children can watch, it is not a “kids” animated film. The soundtrack is also one that is on par with any live-action blockbuster; even if some of the instrumentation feels dated in terms of the late 90s/early 2000s, the music is incredibly inspiring and uplifting, and should be considered an incredible accomplishment in its own right.

What helps distinguish the film from other traditional biblical epics apart from its animated style, is that at a mere 98 minutes it is not absurdly long like most of the others tend to be; this was done in part again to make it accessible to kids. Yet they manage to keep the essence of the story, giving this version a considerable force in its relative narrative succinctness. Re-watching any of the other traditional retellings seems even more interminable in comparison after watching The Prince of Egypt.

Whether you celebrate Passover or not, the story of Moses and the Exodus is still a critical narrative to be aware of for a number of other belief systems, as well as literature and history in general. So if you have some free time this weekend, I’d highly recommend checking out The Prince of Egypt if you haven’t already. It may in fact “Deliver You” from boredom.

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One Response to The Prince of Egypt: A “Passed Over” Classic (Dan Segall)

  1. I agree Dan. It is such a fantastic film. Definitely one of the more underrated animated films out there (Doug Walker put it on his top 10 most underrated gems list, or something to that effect). Thankfully, it seems to be gaining popularity among the public consciousness. You are right in that its dark tone, epic scope, brilliant music, and stellar animation really make it stand out from the rest of the pack. I only wish there were more animated movies out there like it. — Zachary Sanfilippo

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