Should you see The Prince of Egypt?
The animated movie is a work of art, visually captivating and up to the
cinematic standards we have come to expect from Spielberg et al.
It is awe-inspiring. Moses' encounter with God at the burning bush, Moses'
obedience to His loving and detailed instructions, God's many miracles in
dealing with the unyielding pharaoh (especially parting the Red Sea) are
handled with appropriate reverence and good taste. The animated genre lends
itself well to depicting God's holiness and power.
In fact, one can't help but wonder what the actors might have felt as they
spoke their lines (Val Kilmer as Moses; Michelle Pfeiffer as his wife,
Zipporah; Ralph Fiennes as the pharaoh, Rameses; Danny Glover as Moses'
father-in-law, Jethro; Jeff Goldblum as Moses' brother, Aaron; Sandra Bullock
as Moses' sister, Miriam). Did they understand the Prince of Egypt's link to
the Prince of Peace?
The movie is fun. Covering Moses' life from birth to receiving the Ten
Commandments, the scenes of him as a youth growing up in the palace of Egypt
are lively and entertaining. A chariot race between the adolescent boys, Moses
and Rameses, is a certain crowd-pleaser. It also lays the groundwork for
understanding how, as grown men, the adversarial relationship that developed as
Moses begged pharaoh to "let my people go" was gut-wrenching emotionally for
both of them.
But the movie is not without faults -- especially for viewers who expect a
precise depiction of the account in Exodus. Because it's a dramatization, the
producers took creative license by adding details not mentioned in the Bible
and eliminating others, mostly because of time limitations. One of the most
jarring changes for me: the movie shows Pharoah's wife, rather than daughter,
finding Moses in a basket among the reeds of the Nile.
Also, Aaron is depicted a bit more as a mouthpiece of the Israelite slaves
than a mouthpiece for his tongue-tied brother.
It's possible that the scene where Aaron's staff turns into a snake, gobbles
up the magicians' staff and then becomes a staff again will be vague to viewers
who aren't familiar with this crucial scene in the story; these events flash
past in a blaze of color and action that I found difficult to understand. In
addition, biblically illiterate viewers might not discern that the palace
magicians were using sorcery to match Moses' demonstration of God's power
And don't forget that parts of the story are not so pretty, no matter how
artistically they are treated by arguably the best in the business.
For example, Moses was placed in a basket by a mother anxious to save his
life from a tyrant pharaoh, the Hebrew slaves were brutally beaten (and, in
fact, Moses himself murdered an Egyptian), and the angel of death sent by the
Lord killed many children.
So, back to the question, should you go? The decision is entirely yours, of
course, but we hope the information provided here is helpful in making it.
On Mission magazine is not in the business of recommending or
panning movies--or, for that matter, any genre of the entertainment or media
industry depicted in this issue.
Our cover states that On Mission is dedicated to "helping you share
Christ in the real world." Movies--and other entertainment or media --provide
real world opportunities to connect with people in a way that can lead to
conversations about Christ. Yet much of what's "out there" is (frankly)
garbage, will pollute your heart, isn't worth your time or money and probably
should be avoided to keep your eyes firmly focused on Jesus. However, keep in
mind that He walked among sinners, associated with some of the lowest people in
His society and related His message wherever He went.
Therefore, if your method of evangelism includes participation in any of the
numerous offerings of popular culture, we urge you to make your choices with
prayerful discernment. And, if you choose to see this film either for personal
entertainment or as an activity with friends who may not yet know the Lord,
please remember that the best source for learning about God is always His
-- Carolyn Curtis
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC