The biblical story of Moses, the 10 plagues and God freeing the Jewish slaves from Egypt, as seen in the book of Exodus, has been adapted for the screen several times. And why shouldn’t he be? Religious or not, anyone can learn a thing or two about faith, hope, and the human spirit from the timeless tale. And all due respect to Charlton Heston’s seminal and award-winning 1956 epic “The Ten Commandments,” but the nod for the best movie version ever goes to “The Prince of Egypt” from 1998.
He features one of the most impressive ensemble voices of all time, including Steve Martin, Martin Short, Patrick Stewart, Jeff Goldblum, Sandra Bullock, Ralph Fiennes and Val Kilmer. It’s also an appealing example of the kind of fascinating half-computerized style characteristic of the late 1990s (where computer animation is set against more traditional matte backgrounds). The film is an absolute visual marvel to behold even two and a half decades after its release. The scene where Moses separates the Red Sea is particularly memorable. Then there is the music. “All I Ever Wanted” and “The 10 Plagues” are simply breathtaking, and “When You Believe” by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston is always a heartbreaking banger.
The story is also faithful to the biblical account. He underlines the brotherly bond shared by Moses and Ramses, whose confrontation around the slavery of the Hebrews is the central fight of the film, more than the Bible. But other departures are minimal in this epic and breathtaking animated masterpiece. While he was a critical darling when released, he isn’t celebrated or remembered as often as he should be.