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Click above to purchase "The Prince Of Egypt (Dolby Digital)" at amazon.com

 

The Prince Of Egypt
Signature Selection
(Dolby Digital)

review by Zach B.

Rated PG

Studio: Dreamworks

Running Time: 99 minutes

With the Voices of Val Kilmer, Ralph Finnes, Danny Glover, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Michelle Pfeiffer, Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Steve Martin, Martin Short

Directed by Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner, Simon Wells

Retail Price: $34.99

Features: Commentary With Directors Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner and Simon Wells, The Making Of "The Prince Of Egypt", "When You Believe" Multi-Language Presentation, The Basics Of Animation: The Chariot Race, Focus On Technical Effects, The Prince Of Egypt Art Gallery, Theatrical Trailers, Sneak Previews, Cast and Crew Bios, Production Notes

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, Chapter Search (28 Chapters)

After Dreamworks formed way back in 1994, many people were wondering about their animation department. With mastermind Jeffery Katzenberg on board, it was no doubt that Dreamworks would be the first true challange to the Disney empire. Considering Katzenberg brought out such animated Disney hits, why not do the same for Dreamworks?

Their first foray into animation was "The Prince Of Egypt". While it didn't break box office records, it did very well worldwide and made over 100 million dollars domestically. The film was well liked by audiences and critics. While "Prince Of Egypt" was not perfect, I really did enjoy it, and it really did show that Dreamworks had what it takes to go against Disney.

For those unfamiliar with the story of Exodus, the film follows Moses, who is sent away by his mother in a basket in hopes he doesn't have to experience a hard life. He is found by the Pharaoh's wife (though many believe she actually didn't find him), and Moses is brought up into royality. However, after years and years, Moses is unaware of his past and where he came from. Soon enough, Moses is exposed to his past and realizes that he has a mission, to let the Hebrews go. This of course comes with conflict against his brother, Ramses, who won't let them. Now here's a spoiler you should all know: they are freed in the end.

I'll first start off by saying the animation is Disney-quality, if not, better. It's detailed, it's very fluid and it looks very pretty. The film has some excellent character designs as well as scene designs, with some bold colors. It also belnds CGI in quite well. Dreamworks has a lot of talented artists, and for a first film, it's quite impressive.

In similar style to Disney films, the movie has an all star cast. You got your Val Kilmer, your Ralph Finnes, your Jeff Goldblum... a really nice cast with strong voice performances. I enjoyed all of them. Patrict Stewart has a smaller role but he's very strong as Ramses' father, and there are pretty nice performances Sandra Bullock and Danny Glover. An overall strong cast who brings the timeless story to life.

The music in this film is phenomenal. Many people I know loved it, many I know hated it. I really enjoyed the music personally. Hans Zimmer score is really, really beautiful and fits so well during the scenes. The score is rich and full of life. There's also a variety of songs from Stephen Schwartz, who's won Academy Awards® for Disney songs, and won an Oscar® for this movie for the song "When You Believe". Schwartz wrote all the music and lyrics, and he has a wide variety of songs with catchy tunes and lovely words. If you like movie music at all, you'll definently love the stuff that's in the movie.

The movie itself is very well paced and has some fantastic dialogue. It follows the story very well and with much accuracy, and no one should be disappointed. There are a lot of intense scenes and a lot of good lines, and it should be noted that they're are no cute Disney sidekicks or even any funny lines (I only thought there was one thing funny in the movie that you may laugh at - a camel drooling toward the end). It's a pretty serious movie, but it's very entertaining and does it all right. Still, I wish there was more conflict between Moses and Ramses.

"The Prince Of Egypt" is a fantastic animated film and will go down as one of the best and most historical as time goes on. Not only because this is Dreamworks' first movie and it took A TON to make it, but this is a story that will last and be remembered forever. If you like the Bible or animation in general, don't miss this movie or this spectacular DVD release from Dreamworks.

"The Prince Of Egypt" is in its original theatrical exhibition, 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen (and no full frame transfer for families). The image is incredible, it's very crisp and really, really sharp. This film has some tremendous visual beauty and this transfer really shows off the deep, illustrious colors and wonderful designs. Detail is excellent and so are black levels, it's pretty much a flawless transfer except for the bits and grains here and there.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 is fabulous. Hans Zimmer's haunting but triumphant score is marvelous, and there is some deep bass extension. The audio shines in the chariot race, the red sea sequence and also the songs in the movie. There's a great amount of surrounds. This is a great track to show off your system with. Also included is Dolby Digital 2.0 track and English subtitles.

This Signature Selection release from Dreamworks features a load of features, starting with a great Commentary With Directors Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner and Simon Wells. This is a very informative track, though it is pretty dry. They share some laughs here and there, but the movie is such a beautiful film visually and I'm sure like many of you, I was curious how certain things were done. This is a constant track with no gaps, and what impressed me is that how the directors remembered the names of so many people. If you liked the movie and you want to know more about the technical side of film, give this a spin.

The Making Of The Prince Of Egypt lasts 26 minutes, and is pretty interesting, though pretty fluffy. I believe this aired on HBO. It's a good watch, though you won't gain too much out of it. It features interviews, clips from the film, some behind the scenes stories and more.

An amazing tidbit about "The Prince Of Egypt" was that Dreamworks wanted to really make this movie global. When the website launched it was in several languages, and the Multi-Lanuage Presentation has the song "When You Believe" in a whole lot more. It's really interesting and I found myself watching it a few times.

The Basics Of Animation: Chariot Race showcases one of the most breathtaking scenes in the movie and how it was exactly accomplished. It has interviews at the start and basically shows the progress from the story reel to final animation. It is narrated by two of the directors, Simon Wells and Steve Hickner. It lasts nine minutes and thirty seconds exactly.

Focus On Technical Effects has behind the scenes footage and clips from the film, and shows various scenes with different techincal effects. Animation can be very complex, all from CGI to regular animation. If you're interested at all at some of the amazing animation, watch this. Sadly, it only lasts six minutes.

The Prince Of Egypt Art Gallery shows off art from the movie with Hans Zimmer's beautiful score behind it. You can't control the slides, but there's a good amount of them to enjoy.

Two Theatrical Trailers for the film are showcased, each in non-anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital. Round the disc off are Cast and Crew Bios, Production Notes (also in the keep case insert) and Sneak Preview Trailer, showcasing Dreamworks' animation line-up for the year 2000. "The Road To El Dorado" and the claymation farce "Chicken Run" (by Aardman, one of my favorite animation studios around, they did "Wallace and Gromit"). Both look fantastic, and show that Dreamworks is going to be a very strong contender against Disney.

 

Dreamworks delivers an amazing achievment in animation and an amazing DVD. A fine show-off piece with great features, if you like epics or animation in general, don't hesitate to add "The Prince Of Egypt" to your collection.

(4/5 - NOT included in final score)

(4.5/5)

(4.5/5)

(4/5)

(4/5, NOT an average)

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