I just finished watching Prince of Egypt. IT WAS AMAZING!!! I ask you one simple question that doesn't require a complex answer: what was your favorite aspect of the movie that made it unique?
Oh my goodness, I’m so glad you had the chance to watch it and enjoyed it so much!
There are so many things I adore about The Prince of Egypt. There are so many things the movie does well. When considering the specifically unique aspects of the film I find creative, I want to actually list two as my favorites:
The Human Rawness of the Movie
The Ten Commandments was big and dramatic, and I think that the stories within the Bible have been intriguing for millennia in part because of their emotionality. But I feel like there is a very special, unique rawness to The Prince of Egypt which I’ve never encountered in another biblical retelling, be it movie or book. In truth, it’s hard to find this level of evocative, heart-searing emotionality in any media for any type of story.
We didn’t just get a story of Moses whereby he was this incredible hero who stood up to the Pharaoh and freed his people. We didn’t even get a story that was exactly like the Bible’s characterizations of Moses’ strengths and weaknesses (ex: he was not a good public speaker at all biblically). But what we did get was something raw, powerful, REAL. It created Moses as a three-dimensional person. A downright mischievous, carefree RASCAL when he was young. A shocked, traumatized, off-balance young man who just committed murder and was questioning his very identity. A man who raced away from everything he called home, who rejected everything he called his heritage and family. A man who fell in love, who matured, who grew, who found a PURPOSE. A man whose love for his brother never, ever, ever died, and how he felt conflicted even as he told Rameses to “Let my people go.” A man who fell down to his knees and sobbed because of the impact of the Plagues.
Wow. Wow wow wow. The emotionality in this movie is so REAL. It’s incredible to see Moses so three-dimensional, so real, so personable, so dynamic, so tangible, so understandable. It’s hard to create characters that well, and I feel like biblical characters especially often end up too flat in retellings. But this… this movie is the core of human emotion.
And it’s not just Moses. We get just as deep with other characters, too. My favorite dynamics to the movie are those between Moses and Rameses, and between Moses and his two biological siblings. It’s so incredibly complex, sometimes subtle, but always with intention and depth and reason.
So this is all just incredible and unique.
I rant a lot about how music isn’t up to my standards. I’m, unfortunately, someone who isn’t impressed by most musicals and most soundtracks. Disney’s music is often catchy, but many movies have poor accompaniments. Instrumental soundtracks at the back of most movies have a bunch of stock sounds and lack of ingenuity, uniqueness, and/or complexity.
But The Prince of Egypt’s music BLOWS ME OUT OF THE WATER (didn’t mean to make a Parting of the Red Sea pun whoops).
Every single aspect of the music is incredible. First of all, the songs are all very well-written, from the lyrics to the orchestration to the vocalists to the internal structure and music theory of the piece. The accompaniment isn’t some boring, simple, basic stuff, but very intelligently crafted orchestration for a huge ensemble. Furthermore, the musical melodies all contain important symbolism throughout the film. Quite a few different melodies appear not only in the sung numbers, but also during the instrumentation at critical moments. Some of the themes are very apparent, like the God Theme, but others are more subtle. The musical insertions help build understanding and interpretation to the story. For instance, the “All I Ever Wanted” theme - in particular the melody of the line “This is my home,” shows up throughout the movie and helps indicate how/where Moses feels comfortable. It’s very thoughtfully done.
The music makes you want to crap your pants in “The Plagues”. It makes you want to dance in “Through Heaven’s Eyes”. And it will always make me cry in “When You Believe.”