Take a Drink: for each musical number
Take a Drink: for brotherly competition
Take a Drink: whenever Moses is an irresponsible ass
Take a Drink: for each miracle or plague
Take a Drink: whenever the magicians “match it”
Do a Shot: for the parting of the Red Sea
By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
My wife and I just watched our first movie in theaters since we were on vacation in October… Exodus: Gods and Kings. Exhibit A in Ridley Scott vs. Has Lost It, the film clearly wanted to take a “realistic”, agnostheist approach, but didn’t have the balls or the brains, leaving us two interpretations: God is real and hates us or BatMoses was a crazy person who just happened to be the beneficiary of the greatest series of coinkydinks in the history of history.
That all of Egypt’s crocodiles got the bloodlust on Fisherman Appreciation Day might be the biggest
Anyway, we went straight home and threw on The Prince of Egypt. Dreamworks’ animated version of the story of Exodus focuses on two brothers- Moses (voiced by Val Kilmer) and Ramses (Ralph Fiennes), fated to clash over the fate of Moses’s true people, and centuries-long slaves of Ramses’s Kingdom- the Hebrews.
This film was a direct challenge for Disney’s animation crown by former Disney protege Jeffrey Katzenberg, and clearly some of that Mouse House Magic stuck with him, because The Prince of Egypt is easily the equal of anything Disney put out at the time, but more ambitious in many ways.
Triple directors Brenda Chapman, Simon Wells, and Steve Hickner employ predominantly traditional animation with CGI used as an enhancement instead of a crutch, which helps them masterfully balance epic scale (Memphis! The parting of the Red Sea!) with human emotion.
Lightning tornado tsunamis were cool and all, Ridley, but you’ve got nothing on this.
They couch the film believably in brotherly love and strife, humanizing these Biblical figures in a way seldom done before. This is a dark story, and they’re not afraid to go dark, trusting their audience of all ages. The result is an adaptation that feels both true to its source and engaging for the broadest audience possible.
Val Kilmer and Sandra Bullock (as his sister, Miriam) do great voicework, but Ralph Fiennes is the highlight- he even sings! Speaking of that, the music here is rightly lauded, with big, booming Broadway-type numbers from Steven Schwartz and Hans Zimmer (who really can do anything). Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey’s credits version of “When You Believe” may have nabbed the Oscar, but for my money “Deliver Us” is best in show. Singer/voice actress Ofra Haza even recorded it in 17 languages (!) for different dubs of the film.
How ’bout young Moses’s douche beard?
What’d I tell you about the Men’s Rights spiels, Moses?
Admittedly The Prince of Egypt attempts at levity don’t always work. One silly camel face is probably enough. Also, the opening chariot race setpiece is fun enough, but its Roadrunner cartoon physics are a weird match with the more realistic tone of the rest of the film.
It’s a bit strange to say, but The Prince of Egypt may be the very best, and certainly the most personal, version of one of Western Civilization’s foundational stories.