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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
The Prince of Egypt
Directed by Steve Hickner
DreamWorks 12/98 DVD/VHS Animated Film
In this disappointing and uninspiring animated feature, Val Kilmer voices Moses, who as a baby was abandoned by his Hebrew mother and adopted by the royal Egyptian family. He grows up with Prince Ramses (Ralph Fiennes) racing chariots through the streets and relishing pranks at the expense of Hotep (Steve Martin) and Huy (Martin Short), the Pharaoh's court magicians. When Moses learns his true identity from his slave sister Miriam (Sandra Bullock) and brother Aaron (Jeff Goldblum), he flees to the desert and finds sanctuary at an oasis. There he meets and marries Tzipporah (Michele Pfeiffer). Yahweh speaks to Moses through a burning bush and sends him on a mission to free the Hebrews from their slavery in Egypt.
Instead of imaginatively conveying this theme of liberation, directors Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner, and Simon Wells put the accent on the love/hate relationship between Moses and Ramses, who succeeds his father as Pharaoh. Oscar winner Stephen Schwartz (Pocahontas) fails to come up with any soul-stirring songs to make up for the emotionally flat story on the screen. One piece that ridicules the ancient Egyptians' religion is downright inappropriate. Most amazing of all, once the Hebrews are delivered from the pursuing Pharoah's armies by the miraculous parting of the Red Sea, not one knee is bowed in thanksgiving or in awe of the mighty work of Yahweh.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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