Deep Focus: “The Prince of Egypt”

Story posted March 27, 2021 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by David Myers

In an effort to expose a larger population of readers to “classic” films, CommRadio’s arts & entertainment department is providing a weekly retrospective of notable motion pictures. These movies are selected individually for their cultural and cinematic achievements. For this submission to the Deep Focus catalogue, our department has chosen the 1998 animated film “The Prince of Egypt”

Companies in the entertainment business and in general want to create a specific identity.  Something that the public immediately thinks of when the specific firm comes to mind.

When people hear the name, “DreamWorks,” movies in 3D animation are the first association.  Many of its well-known works have been produced in this style.  However, the company mingled with 2D animated films from 1998 to 2003.

  This period was started with one of the best films ever produced by DreamWorks, “ The Prince of Egypt.”

“The Prince of Egypt” is a dramatic film with the major songs serving to progress the story or to provide insight to what the character is feeling. 

In short, it was based on the biblical story of the Exodus.  However, the main story focuses on a tale of two brothers who go on to lead drastically different lives.

  There is Moses, the adopted son, and Rameses, the heir to the throne.  Moses discovers the truth about who he is and finds a new purpose in his life.

  This unfortunately puts him at ends with his brother.

Those who practice western religions may recognize specific events in the film that also occur in their texts such as the burning bush and the parting of the Red Sea.  These occurrences are present because they are part of the story.  Other than moving the plot forward, there is no deeper meaning to the instances like those already mentioned in the movie.

After watching “Prince of Egypt,” those who know the whole story will most likely agree that it ends at the best possible moment.  Since the Exodus is part of several religious writings, there is more to what happens after where the movie tapers off. 

This film is full of star power.  Val Kilmer portrays Moses and the actual voice of God.

  Before he became a well-known dark lord in a Warner Brothers franchise, Ralph Fiennes lent his voice to Rameses.  Other notable names include Patrick Stewart, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Michelle Pfeiffer and Steve Martin just to name a few.

The film garnered $218 million worldwide and received critical acclaim for its animation and music. At the Oscars, “Prince of Egypt” earned the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “When You Believe” written by Stephan Schwartz, and a nomination for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score.

Unfortunately, the success of this movie was overshadowed by later additions to DreamWorks’ repertoire.  A few examples were “Chicken Run” in 2000 and the smash hit, “Shrek” in 2001.

  With the biggest money-makers being animated in 3D, films like “Prince of Egypt” faded out of the limelight.  Most people today probably do not even know that it exists.

This did not affect DreamWorks only.  The early 2000s was when the shift to “3D” became popular.

  Pixar had pioneered this new method of storytelling with “Toy Story” in 1995 and more movies came in the years to follow. 

A prime example of what DreamWorks is capable of creating.  More impressively, “Prince of Egypt” was only the second film made by the company.

Even though it was forgotten, people were able to rediscover this masterpiece and enjoy it time after time. 


David Myers is a junior majoring in telecommunications.  To contact him, email at