“The Prince of Egypt” is a movie that came during a time where every movie studio was trying to be like Disney’s latest successes. This led to some movies that would become franchises, like “The Swan Princess;” others would just be huge successes, like “Anastasia;” and others were entries just best left to the sands of time.
It makes sense that what was the first announced Dreamworks Animation project would be a movie that steals so much from Disney’s latest hit formula, it has original songs from the guy who had just been Gothing it up with Alan Menken. But it tinkers just enough with that formula to make it even more enjoyable than the average Disney movie.
The Hebrews have been enslaved under Pharaoh Seti (Patrick Stewart) and face frequent oppression, including an infanticide killing all newborn Hebrews. Yocheved (Ofra Haza) places her newborn child in a basket and floats him down the river in hopes of him finding safety. He goes to the palace, where he is named Moses and adopted by the royal family. Years later, Moses (Val Kilmer) is enjoy the comforts of palace life and often getting his brother, Rameses (Ralph Fiennes), in trouble. He discovers one night after running into his siblings, Miriam (Sandra Bullock) and Aaron (Jeff Goldblum), he is not the child of the rulers of Egypt and is horrified to discover Seti’s orders to kill all Hebrew infants. After accidentally killing a man, Moses runs away and is found by a Midian clan, led by Jethro (Danny Glover), who welcomes him into their tribe. While out tending sheep, he is called to deliver the Hebrews from slavery, which means having to antagonize his beloved adoptive brother.
Dreamworks managed to make a near-flawless second film and a huge part of it is that you can tell they took their time with this film. While my biggest complaint with “Antz” is it have a rushed quality, you can see the effort put into making this a good movie. There are so many d