Printer Friendly

VIDEO : ALL HAIL `THE PRINCE OF EGYPT'.

Byline: Rob Lowman Entertainment Editor

While other studios have made forays into the field, Disney remains the undisputed animation champ. Offerings from Warner Bros. (``Quest for Camelot'') and Fox (``Anastasia'') have some merit but don't have the Mouse's flair or animation techniques, while Sony is banking on the upcoming ``Stuart Little.'' Only DreamWorks has turned out animated features visually exciting enough to challenge Disney's dominance.

First it was the lively and comic ``Antz'' and then ``The Prince of Egypt,'' a retelling of the story of Exodus that hits stores Tuesday on DVD ($34.99) and video ($26.99).

Right from the opening scene of ``The Prince of Egypt,'' which shows Hebrew slaves struggling to construct the pyramids under the whips of the Egyptian pharaoh's taskmasters, we get the sense of the film's epic proportions. Combining computer-generated animation with traditional techniques, there is a sweep to the film that reminds you of the best of those biblical Hollywood films, such as ``The Ten Commandments.''

Only ``Prince of Egypt'' does it better. With the freedom of animation, the film creates breathtaking scenes that Cecil B. de Mille would have died for.

It also has a cast that any Hollywood producer would die for: Val Kilmer (Moses), Sandra Bullock (Miriam), Ralph Fiennes (Ramses), Danny Glover (Jethro), Jeff Goldblum (Aaron), Steve Martin (Hotep), Helen Mirren (the Queen), Michelle Pfeiffer (Tzipporah) and Patrick Stewart (the Pharaoh). OK, so they're only voices, but it's still impressive anyway. And ``The Prince of Egypt'' boasts a wonderful score from Hans Zimmer, including the Oscar-winning song, ``When You Believe,'' from Zimmer and Stephen Schwartz.

The DVD release will have a number of bonus items, including a full-length commentary from the directors - Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner and Simon Wells, a multilanguage presentation of ``When You Believe'' and a behind-the scene look at the making of the film.

All of this makes for an attractive package, but in some ways ``The Prince of Egypt'' is as enigmatic as the Sphinx. While the film contains beautiful and exciting visuals and some memorable music, it is also a curious retelling of the story of Exodus, which has its parallels in many religions. Indeed, DreamWorks did consult with numerous theologians of various religions before and during the making of the film. The result is that, in some ways, ``The Prince of Egypt curiously lacks a religious edge while retaining all the supernatural events - the burning bush, fire raining from the sky, locusts descending in clouds, the killing of the Egyptian first-born and the spectacular parting of the Red Sea.

Perhaps it was DreamWorks' fear of offending any one religion that caused it to blunt the story somewhat. Nevertheless, ``The Prince of Egypt'' is wonderful and entertaining family fare for all ages, and it's likely to provoke discussion - even if it's of the film's shortcomings.

Bullock's `Nature': Casting Sandra Bullock in a romantic comedy is like casting John Wayne in a western - for the Duke, only the horse changes; in Bullock's case, it's the leading man. In ``Forces of Nature,'' another DreamWorks release that arrives in stores next week (VHS is priced for rental only; the DVD is $29.99), Bullock is paired up with hunk Ben Affleck.

There is a difference, though. Bullock plays against her usual type as a sweet, vulnerable thing. ``Forces of Nature'' is the story of a man on his way to get married who finds himself - because of a series of disasters - traveling with a go-with-the-moment woman of many charms (Bullock). As Affleck's character tries to keep to the straight and narrow, he is constantly fighting his natural impulses.

``Forces of Nature'' is sort of like a trip - long periods of pleasant scenery punctuated by something interesting once in a while. If you're a fan of Bullock and Affleck, it's an agreeable journey.

CAPTION(S):

Photo

Photo: DreamWorks teams an all-star voice cast with breathtaking animation in ``The Prince of Egypt,'' set for release Tuesday on VHS and DVD.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:L.A. Life
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Video Recording Review
Date:Sep 10, 1999
Words:660
Previous Article:SOUND CHECK.
Next Article:KIDS/SNEAK PEEK : GRANDPARENTS DAY CONCERT FEATURES `PETER & THE WOLF'.
Topics:


Related Articles
Are you ready for the plagues?
SAUDI ARABIA - The Oil Price Perspective of Prince Abdullah.
SAUDI ARABIA - Profile - Abdullah Ibn Abdel Aziz Al Saud.
`PRINCE OF EGYPT' KEPT UNDER WRAPS; DREAMWORKS MARKETS BIBLE-BASED STORY AS ENTERTAINMENT, NOT RELIGION.
TERRORISM CONDEMNED\Summit leaders unite to support Mideast peace.
The tale of the rose: the love story behind The Little Prince. (Biography & Personal Narratives).
HEAR TODAY NEW RELEASES AND NEWS FROM THE MUSIC WORLD.
The Complete Royal Families of Egypt.
ARAB-US RELATIONS - Jun 21 - 'Democracy Won't Be Imposed'.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters