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• English • Hebrew Budget $70 million Box office $218.6 million The Prince of Egypt is a 1998 American and the first traditional animated film produced and released. The film is an of the and follows the life of from being a prince of to his ultimate destiny to lead the out of Egypt.
Directed by,, and, the film features songs written by and a composed. The voice cast consists of in a dual role,,,,,,,,, and. Had frequently suggested an animated adaptation of the 1956 film while working for, and he decided to put the idea into production after founding DreamWorks in 1995. To make this inaugural project, DreamWorks employed artists who had worked for and the recently disbanded, totaling a crew of 350 people from 34 different nations. The film has a blend of and, created using software from and. Theatrically released on December 18, 1998, and on home video on September 14, 1999, reviews were generally positive, with critics praising the animation, music, and voice work. The film went on to gross over $218 million worldwide in theaters, which made it the most successful non-Disney animated feature at the time.
The film's success led to the (2000) and the development of a stage adaptation. The song ' became a commercially successful single in a pop version performed by and, and went on to win at the. Contents • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Plot [ ] In,, and her two children, and, watch as the newborn Hebrew boys are taken and ruthlessly killed as ordered by, who fears that an alarming increase in Hebrew slaves could lead to.
Fearing for her own newborn son's safety, Yocheved places him in a basket afloat on the River, not before bidding him farewell with a final but powerful lullaby. Miriam follows the basket as it sails to the 's and witnesses her baby brother safely adopted by, who names him. Years later, Moses and his brother are scolded by their father for accidentally destroying a during one of their youthful misadventures. At Moses' suggestion, Seti, seeking to give Rameses the opportunity to prove that he is responsible, names him and gives him authority over Egypt's temples.
As a tribute, the high priests and offer him a beautiful young woman,, whom Rameses gives to Moses, appointing him Royal Chief. Later that night, Moses follows Tzipporah as she escapes from the palace, and runs into the now-adult Miriam and Aaron, but he does not recognize them. Miriam then sings her mother's, which Moses remembers; he returns to the palace, eager to return to familiar surroundings. The truth about his past is later confirmed by a, and finally by Seti himself, who disturbs Moses by claiming the Hebrews are 'only slaves'.
The next day, Moses accidentally pushes an Egyptian guard to his death while trying to stop him from whipping an elderly Hebrew slave. Horrified and ashamed, Moses flees into the desert in, despite Rameses' pleas to stay. While in the desert Moses defends three young girls from, only to find out their older sister is Tzipporah.
Moses is welcomed by Tzipporah's father and the high priest of Midian,. After assimilating this new culture, Moses becomes a and marries Tzipporah. One day, while chasing a stray lamb, Moses discovers a through which God tells him to go back to Egypt and guide the Hebrew slaves to freedom. God bestows Moses' shepherding staff with his power and promises that he will tell Moses what to say. Moses and Tzipporah return to Egypt, where Moses is happily greeted by Rameses, who is now Pharaoh. When Moses requests the Hebrews' release and changes his staff into an to demonstrate his alliance with God, Hotep and Huy boastfully recreate this transformation, only to have their snakes eaten by Moses' snake.
Rather than be persuaded, Rameses hardens and doubles the Hebrews' workload. Moses inflicts nine of the, but Rameses refuses to relent and, against Moses' warning (foreshadowing the final plague), vows to never release the Hebrew slaves. Disheartened, Moses prepares the Hebrews for the tenth and final plague, instructing them to sacrifice a lamb and mark the doorposts with the lamb's blood. That night, the final plague kills all the firstborn children of Egypt, including Rameses' son, while sparing those of the Hebrews. A grief-stricken Rameses finally gives Moses permission to free the Hebrews. Moses leaves and weeps in the streets, heartbroken at the pain he has caused his brother and Egypt.
The following morning, the Hebrews leave Egypt, led by Moses, Miriam, Aaron, and Tzipporah. At the, they discover that a vengeful Rameses is pursuing them with his army, intent on killing them. However, a writhing pillar of blocks the army's way, while Moses uses his staff to.
The Hebrews cross the open sea bottom; the fire vanishes and the army gives chase, but the closes over and drowns the Egyptian soldiers, sparing Rameses alone. Moses sadly bids farewell to his brother and leads the Hebrews to, where he receives the. • as, a Hebrew who was adopted by Pharaoh Seti. • Val Kilmer also provides the uncredited voice of • provides Moses' singing voice. • as, Moses' adoptive brother and eventual successor to his father Seti. • as, Jethro's oldest daughter and Moses' wife.
• as, Moses and Aaron's biological sister. • provides Miriam's singing voice. • provides the voice of a younger Miriam. • as, Moses and Miriam's biological brother. • as, Tzipporah's father and Midian's high priest. • provides Jethro's singing voice. • as, Rameses' father, Moses' adoptive father and the first in the film.
• as, Seti's consort, Rameses' mother, and Moses' adoptive mother. • Linda Dee Shayne provides Tuya's singing voice. • as, one of the who serves as advisor to Seti, and later Rameses. • as, Hotep's fellow high priest. • as, the biological mother of Miriam, Aaron, and Moses. She also sang her character's number, ', in seventeen other languages for the film's dubbing ) • Bobby Motown as Ramses' son Director briefly voiced Miriam when she sings the lullaby to Moses. The vocals had been recorded for a scratch audio track, which was intended to be replaced later by Sally Dworsky.
The track turned out so well that it remained in the film. Production [ ] Development [ ] Former Disney chairman had always wanted to do an animated adaptation of. While working for, Katzenberg suggested this idea to, but he refused. The idea for the film was brought back at the formation of in 1994, when Katzenberg's partners, Amblin Entertainment founder, and music producer, were meeting in Spielberg's living room. Katzenberg recalls that Spielberg looked at him during the meeting and said, 'You ought to do.' The Prince of Egypt was 'written' throughout the story process. Beginning with a starting outline, Story Supervisors Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook led a team of fourteen storyboard artists and writers as they sketched out the entire film — sequence by sequence.
Once the storyboards were approved, they were put into the digital editing system by editor Nick Fletcher to create a 'story reel'. The story reel allowed the filmmakers to view and edit the entire film in continuity before production began, and also helped the layout and animation departments understand what is happening in each sequence of the film. After casting of the voice talent concluded, dialogue recording sessions began. For the film, the actors record individually in a studio under guidance by one of the three directors. The voice tracks were to become the primary aspect as to which the animators built their performances. Because DreamWorks was concerned about theological accuracy, Jeffrey Katzenberg decided to call in,, and, and leaders to help his film be more accurate and faithful to the original.
After previewing the developing film, all these leaders noted that the studio executives listened and responded to their ideas, and praised the studio for reaching out for comment from outside sources. Design and animation [ ] Art directors Kathy Altieri and Richard Chavez and Production Designer Darek Gogol led a team of nine visual development artists in setting a visual style for the film that was representative of the time, the scale and the architectural style of. Part of the process also included the research and collection of artwork from various artists, as well as taking part in trips such as a two-week travel across Egypt by the filmmakers before the film's production began.
Character Designers Carter Goodrich, Carlos Grangel and Nicolas Marlet worked on setting the design and overall look of the characters. Drawing on various inspirations for the widely known characters, the team of character designers worked on designs that had a more realistic feel than the usual animated characters up to that time. Both character design and art direction worked to set a definite distinction between the symmetrical, more angular look of the Egyptians versus the more organic, natural look of the Hebrews and their related environments. The Backgrounds department, headed by supervisors Paul Lasaine and Ron Lukas, oversaw a team of artists who were responsible for painting the sets/backdrops from the layouts. Within the film, approximately 934 hand-painted backgrounds were created. The animation team for The Prince of Egypt, including 350 artists from 34 different nations, was primarily recruited both from, which had fallen under Katzenberg's auspices while at, and from, a defunct division of Steven Spielberg's. As at Disney's, character animators were grouped into teams by character: for example, Kristof Serrand, as the supervising animator of Older Moses, set the acting style of the character and assigned scenes to his team.
Consideration was given to properly depicting the ethnicities of the ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, and seen in the film. There are 1,192 scenes in the film, and 1,180 contain work done by the special effects department, which animates everything in an animated scene which is not a character: blowing wind, dust, rainwater, shadows, etc. A blend of traditional animation and was used in the depictions of the ten and the parting of the. The animated characters were digitally inked and painted using (now merged with ), and the compositing of the 2D and 3D elements was done using the 'Exposure Tool', a digital solution developed for DreamWorks. Creating the voice of God [ ] The task of creating God's voice was given to and the team working with the film's music composer,. 'The challenge with that voice was to try to evolve it into something that had not been heard before,' says Bender. 'We did a lot of research into the voices that had been used for past Hollywood movies as well as for radio shows, and we were trying to create something that had never been previously heard not only from a casting standpoint but from a voice manipulation standpoint as well.
The solution was to use the voice of actor to suggest the kind of voice we hear inside our own heads in our everyday lives, as opposed to the larger than life tones with which God has been endowed in prior cinematic incarnations.' See also: Composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz began working on writing songs for the film from the beginning of the film's production. As the story evolved, he continued to write songs that would serve both to entertain and help move the story along. Composer Hans Zimmer arranged and produced the songs and then eventually wrote the film's score. The film's score was recorded entirely in,. Three soundtrack albums were released simultaneously for The Prince of Egypt, each of them aimed towards a different target audience.
While the other two accompanying records, the -themed soundtrack and the -based soundtrack, functioned as film tributes, the contained the actual songs from the film. This album combines elements from the score composed by Hans Zimmer and film songs by Stephen Schwartz. The songs were either voiced over by professional singers (such as Salisbury Cathedral Choir), or sung by the film's voice actors, such as Michelle Pfeiffer and Ofra Haza. Various tracks by contemporary artists such as and were added, including the and duet 'When You Believe', a rewrite of the original Schwartz composition, sung by Michelle Pfeiffer and in the film. Musical numbers [ ] • ' – Ofra Haza, Eden Riegel, and Chorus • 'River Lullaby' - Brenda Chapman • ' – Amick Byram • 'All I Ever Wanted (Queen's Reprise)' – Linda Dee Shayne • ' – Brian Stokes Mitchell • 'Playing with the Big Boys' – Steve Martin and Martin Short • 'The Plagues' – Byram, Ralph Fiennes, and Chorus • ' – Sally Dworsky, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Chorus Release [ ] The Prince of Egypt had its premiere at the 's on December 16, 1998, with its occurring two days later. Despite being the inaugural production by DreamWorks Animation, it wound up the second to get a theatrical release, as was rushed to reach theatres in September.
The international release occurred simultaneously to the United States, as according to DreamWorks' distribution chief Jim Tharp, opening one week prior to the 'global holiday' of, audiences all over the world would be available at the same time. The accompanying marketing campaign aimed to bring more adults, usually averse to animated films. Merchandising was limited to a line of collectible figures and books. Served as a promotional partner and offered in stores a package featuring two tickets to The Prince of Egypt, a storybook and the film's soundtrack.
Home media [ ] The Prince of Egypt was released on DVD and VHS on September 14, 1999. The ownership of the film was assumed by when that company split from in 2004; (As of 2017, the rights to the film are now owned by via its acquisition of DWA.) as with the rest of the DreamWorks Animation catalog, it is available for streaming on in HD. However, both the DVD release and the streaming versions used a 35mm print of the film, rather than using the original files to encode the movie directly to digital.
Reception [ ] Box office performance [ ] On its opening weekend, the film grossed $14.5 million for a $4,658 average from 3,118 theaters, earning second place at the box office, behind. Due to the holiday season, the film, earning $15.1 million and finishing in fourth place.
It had a $4,698 average from 3,218 theaters. It would hold well in its third weekend, with only a 25% drop to $11,244,612 for a $3,511 average from 3,202 theaters and once again finishing in fourth place. The film closed on May 27, 1999 after earning $101.4 million in the United States and Canada with an additional $117.2 million overseas for a worldwide total of $218.6 million.
The Prince of Egypt was the second non-Disney animated feature to gross over $100 million in the U.S. It remained the top-grossing non-Disney animated film until being surpassed by the 2000 film, also distributed by DreamWorks, and remained the highest-grossing non-Disney film until 2007, when it was out-grossed by 's. The Prince of Egypt box office revenue Source Gross ()% Total All Time Rank (Unadjusted) United States & Canada $101.4 million 46.4% 398 Foreign $117.2 million 53.6% – Worldwide $218.6 million 100.0% 319 Critical reception [ ] The film has a rating of 79% on based on 84 reviews, with a score of 7/10. The site's consensus reads, ' The Prince of Egypt's stunning visuals and first-rate voice cast more than compensate for the fact that it's better crafted than it is emotionally involving.'
, which assigns a 0–100 rating to reviews from mainstream critics, calculated an average score of 64 from the 26 reviews it collected. Of the praised the film in his review saying, ' The Prince of Egypt is one of the best-looking animated films ever made. It employs computer-generated animation as an aid to traditional techniques, rather than as a substitute for them, and we sense the touch of human artists in the vision behind the Egyptian monuments, the lonely desert vistas, the thrill of the chariot race, the personalities of the characters. This is a film that shows animation growing up and embracing more complex themes, instead of chaining itself in the category of children's entertainment.' Of magazine gave a negative review of the film saying, 'The film lacks creative exuberance, any side pockets of joy.' From praised the film saying, 'The movie's proudest accomplishment is that it revises our version of Moses toward something more immediate and believable, more humanly knowable.'
Lisa Alspector from the praised the film and wrote, 'The blend of animation techniques somehow demonstrates mastery modestly, while the special effects are nothing short of magnificent.' 's Jeff Millar reviewed by saying, 'The handsomely animated Prince of Egypt is an amalgam of Hollywood biblical epic, Broadway supermusical and nice Sunday school lesson.' From Reelviews highly praised the film saying, 'The animation in The Prince of Egypt is truly top-notch, and is easily a match for anything Disney has turned out in the last decade', and also wrote 'this impressive achievement uncovers yet another chink in Disney's once-impregnable animation armor.'
Liam Lacey of gave a somewhat negative review and wrote, ' Prince of Egypt is spectacular but takes itself too seriously.' Also reviewed the film favorably, saying that ' The Prince of Egypt takes animated movies to a new level of entertainment. Network Topology Mapper Activation Key. Magnificent art, music, story, and realization combine to make The Prince of Egypt one of the most entertaining masterpieces of all time.'
Censorship [ ] The Prince of Egypt was banned in two countries where the population is predominantly Muslim: the and, on the grounds that the depiction in the media of Islamic prophets (which includes ) is forbidden in Islam. The in the Maldives stated: 'All and of God are revered in Islam, and therefore cannot be portrayed'. Following this ruling, the censor board banned the film in January 1999.
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