Anyone who knows me knows I love the animated classic The Prince of Egypt. With its star-studded cast, amazing music, and stunning visuals, I think about it at least once a day.
For those who haven’t seen it yet (you need to stat), the 1998 movie tells the story of Moses and the delivery of the Jewish people out of Egypt, AKA the Passover story. I can’t even remember the first time I saw this film, but my mom and I have it on VHS, so it’s long been a Passover tradition.
Here are 10 reasons why you should make watching The Prince of Egypt a Passover tradition of your own:
1. Ofra Haza (aka the “Madonna of the East” and my personal queen) brings Yocheved to life and straight into your heart with one of the most iconic vocalizations to ever be heard. Ofra used her Yemeni heritage to enrich her pop career in Israel and uses those breathtaking trills in the film as well. Hooray for Mizrahim!
2. The integration of several different animation styles make this not only a beautifully animated movie, but unique and ahead of its time. Syfy.com calls it “the greatest animated movie of all time,” claiming:
The entire movie is a rich tapestry of bold lines, bright colors, panoramic landscapes, mind-bending dichotomies, and cutting-edge graphics. Calling it simply an “animated” film is like calling Beyonce “just a singer” or Serena Williams “just a tennis player.” Technically you’re right but you’re also wrong, so so wrong.
I mean, just look…
3. The soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and Stephen Schwartz, which was nominated for Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and Grammys, is an absolute banger. Where else will you find such a prolific combination of artists? My personal favorite is “The Plagues.” Can’t choose your own? Alma conveniently ranked all the songs for you.
4. Moses is HOT, like damn.
5. It has realistic skin tones for all of the characters, unlike other adaptations of Exodus (cough cough Exodus Gods and Kings). There’s not a ton of diversity among the voice actors, but seeing the range on screen means a lot for representation.
6. It is being revamped as a staged musical, and it’s about damn time. (And it seems like it will be diverse, but it’s too soon to tell.) The original production in Silicon Valley was sold out in 2017 and there was a staged reading of it in London in February 2019. I have my fingers crossed that everything went well and that the show will eventually make its way to the east coast.
7. It makes larger than life characters we’ve seen a million times actually relatable… and sometimes just plain fun. Moses and Ramses are literally and figuratively broing it out. They’re a mischievous and competitive pair of pranksters.
Tzipporah is a genuine badass who makes it clear that she doesn’t need a man and gets back at her (spoilers!!) future husband for being a misogynist.
And when the two get together their relationship is so freakin’ sweet and genuine. I LOVE LOVE, OKAY?
Meanwhile, Moses isn’t written as an infallible biblical character. He is characterized in the film as going through an actual identity crisis, and he is forced to mature and develop into a kind of man who could face his fears and the Pharaoh himself.
Speaking of Ramses, the audience is given the opportunity to see him grieve his lost son, something that we don’t get in the original book of Exodus.
8. It has the BEST 10 plagues reenactment by FAR. (Your Hebrew school could NEVER.)
9. This fun fact: DreamWorks made artists who weren’t doing well on The Prince of Egypt project work on Shrek. As the Telegraph writes, “to animators who had been hopelessly toiling on the project for years, Shrek was ‘the Gulag’. It was where artists were sentenced to work after they’d been fired from [The Prince of Egypt]. Why? The movie, which was based on William Steig’s children’s book, had no ostensible plot.” Major yikes.
10. THE DRINKING GAME THAT I MADE UP (I’m drinking water since I’m underage).
Drink when: Ofra is singing in the background; there’s a close-up of a character (double if a single tear falls down their face); whenever there is a direct biblical quote/reference; every time there’s a breathtaking snapshot; every time CGI is seemlessly integrated into 2d animation.
Yeah, you’re gonna get drunk.
Happy Passover, and happy excuse to watch The Prince of Egypt!!!