The Prince of Egypt Review

Colin Polonowski has reviewed the Region 1 DVD release of The Prince of Egypt

Whether or not you are a religious person, there is little doubt that you know of the story of Moses and the Exodus. It is a wonderful story and many a Hollywood director has had had a go at bringing it to the big screen in one form or another. The most obvious example is of course The Ten Commandments – an all time classic.
The Prince of Egypt is yet another retelling of the story – this time in animation – and it does an excellent job of both giving a fairly accurate representation whilst still adding some creative flair to bring the tale into the nineties. Set in Egypt two thousand years ago, it tells the story of two brothers – Moses and Rameses.

This is no cartoon

The first impression you get when you see this film is that it is a cartoon. In fact, this could not be further from the truth – this is a full scale movie which just happens to have animated characters instead of live action footage. Other than the initial outward appearance this is no less an experience than The Ten Commandments and it could even be said that in this case the use of animation makes the story more lifelike.

There are numerous stunning large-scale effects sequences which captivate the viewer. The parting of the Red Sea towards the end of the movie is quite simply the most amazing thing you’ll ever see in an animated movie – the blend between traditional animation techniques and computer generated sequences is seamless and the different elements interact throughout to create an experience which envelopes you in a totally believable world from start to finish.

The DVD itself

The transfer to DVD has resulted in one of the best looking releases to grace any region so far. With this disc and Antz, Dreamworks looks set to become one of the leading lights in the DVD marketplace, I have great expectations from them when they finally make the move into Region 2.

The picture is framed at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is anamorphically enhanced. There are no artifacts or anomalies and the picture is as near to perfect as is possible. The stunning landscapes and special effects undoubtedly look stunning and I personally believe that it is impossible to find fault with the transfer.

The Dolby Digital soundtrack is also outstanding. There are a few moments when the sound doesn’t quite sound perfect but they are so few and far between that it’s not really worth mentioning. Once again I I find myself mentioning the parting of the Red Sea, this is for a very good reason – it is both visually and sonically stunning and manages to almost blow the viewer away.

Finally, what about the Extras? Once again we’re not left wanting. From the excellent animated menu to the “Making of documentary” and “Basics of animation” feature the quality of the Extras competes easily with the best out there. The disc also includes an insightful and interesting audio commentary by the films three directors and a number of features including the “When You Believe” presentation and the “Focus on Technical Effects” along with two trailers and numerous text screens. All of this mounts up to create a disc which should be near the top of any best-of list!


There is not one area where this disc falls down. The story is both compelling and brilliantly executed and is brought to a whole new level. The transfer to DVD is nothing short of excellent – from the vibrant picture to the involving soundtrack and the truck-load of Extras, this disc is reeks of quality.

I have no hesitation in recommending it as a disc you should add to your collection at the first opportunity.

Colin Polonowski

Updated: Feb 27, 1999

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