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Prince of Egypt
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Dec 1, 2000, 12:57

The name of the movie is the Prince of Egypt, and it will be arriving in theatres everywhere on December 18th. You may or may not be aware of the fact that this animated feature will tell the story of Moses. This project is the greatly anticipated release of DreamWorks SKG, the studio created by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen.

It is the norm for the Christian community to condemn many of the offerings that are given to the world by Hollywood, but if the pre-release information on this cartoon is correct it will not only be a hit, but a film that Hollywood did a good job with. I think it is so important to applaud when good things do happen in the entertainment world. I grow weary of hearing and reading the warnings and analysis of the watchdog groups that abound. And I would imagine that many of them will dissect and try to pick apart the Prince of Egypt as well. So even before most get a chance to view it, let me tell you why I like it already.

DreamWorks made a strong attempt to ensure that their version of the story of Moses did not insult those in the religious community. So in addition to working with archaeologists and Egyptologists, DreamWorks also consulted with religious leaders from various faith communities. Some names that might be familiar to you include Billy Graham, James Dobson, and James Kennedy to name a few. DreamWorks is also quick to stress that participating in providing suggestions does not imply endorsement of the movie.

Jeffrey Katzenberg says, “This was not our story to tell in one of eight ways like a fairy tale. Our choices of how to make it could not diminish the message or values of the story as it is in the Bible.”

Among some of the changes that DreamWorks made to accommodate religious beliefs were...

In the original script, when God tells Moses of the final plague in which the firstborn in all of Egypt are killed, He says, “When I see the mark upon the door frame...” Based on recommendations from both Jewish and Christian leaders, the script was changed to read, “When I see the blood...” to be faithful to the biblical account and for Christians to maintain the messianic foreshadowing of the Passover.

One of the song sequences originally said, “You can do miracles if you believe.” To avoid any New Age implication that you are the source of the miracle, not God, the line was change to, “There can be miracles when you believe.”

Now remember this is a production that is produced by a secular company, as secular entertainment, that is aimed at a secular audience to make a boatload of cash (a secular motive). I remind you of that because I don’t want to confuse you into thinking that DreamWorks is a new missionary film division of the Southern Baptist Convention. So there will be a number of things that are not Biblically accurate. For example in the beginning of the movie, it will be Pharaoh’s wife, not daughter, as is in the Bible. This change allows the filmmakers to create a dramatic tension to Moses and Ramose growing up as brothers. Yet there is a disclaimer that explicitly steers viewers back to the Bible. It says on the screen, “The biblical story of Moses can be found in the book of Exodus.”

The movie will carry a PG rating, one that the producers pushed for. Katzenberg stated that the intent is not to have parents drop the kids off at theatres, this should

be a family event. (also adult ticket prices are a bit higher than children’s tickets as well). The producers also recommend that parents talk though the story with their children before taking them to see the movie so some of the dramatic scenes, including the death of the firstborn and the destruction of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea do not confuse or scare children.

Hooray for Hollywood...a movie that actually makes an attempt to steer viewers to the Bible and at least is willing to make some effort to stay on track is one that I can applaud. Hopefully it will be good, enjoyable, and fun. Perhaps it might introduce millions to the story of Moses and God’s faithfulness in a way that hasn’t happened since the Ten Commandments. A movie you may have heard of featuring an actor by the name of Heston as Moses. As 1999 begins here at Covenant we will be doing a series entitled the Prince of Egypt, where we will look at the life of Moses and discover how God used his life to make an impact.

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