Holy Moses, A Biblical Cartoon!

  Imagine that Hollywood made a film about a biblical figure that was actually true to Scripture--and most Christians didn't even go see it. Well, Hollywood did make such a movie. I'm talking about The Prince of Egypt, the first animated feature from a company called Dreamworks. The good news is that the film has just come out on video. The bad news is when the film was in the theaters Christians did not respond to it as enthusiastically as the filmmakers had hoped. And that means we may not be seeing many films like it in the future. Dreamworks is a film studio formed a few years ago by director Steven Spielberg and former Disney executive Jeff Katzenberg, who is credited with the success of such Disney blockbusters as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. Dreamworks did everything right in making and marketing The Prince of Egypt, consulting with scores of religious leaders to get feedback on early drafts of the story. The company deserves credit showing genuine respect to people of faith--unusual for Hollywood studios. Dreamworks even planned to begin production on a film about another biblical character: Joseph. But because response to the Prince of Egypt was disappointing, Dreamworks put this project on hold. What a shame! Christians ought to be the first to show their support when talented people produce biblical epics instead of the kind of politically correct fairytales Disney typically churns out. New York Post film critic Rod Dreher called the animation in The Prince of Egypt "extraordinarily rich and detailed, even awe- inspiring." And indeed it is. The film contains a surprisingly accurate portrayal of the life of Moses, from his basket journey down the Nile, to his youth in Pharaoh's palace, to his emergence as the deliverer of his people. In fact, it's the sort of entertainment believers have prayed for for years. Is it possible Hollywood was just too late? Have we Christians become so cynical about Tinsel Town that we've turned our backs on it--even when it comes out with a marvelous family film? Let's hope not--not only for the sake of our kids, who need wholesome entertainment, but also for the sake of nonbelievers, who need to see films that communicate the hope that can only be found in God. A dear friend of mine who is a religious skeptic saw The Prince of Egypt with his kids and soon afterward began reading the Book of Exodus for the first time. When it comes to great stories and great dramas, nothing beats the real life drama we find in the pages of Scripture. But if we want filmmakers to take us seriously when we complain about depraved films, we had better applaud them when they make movies we can take the whole family to see. If your kids haven't seen The Prince of Egypt, why not consider renting or even buying the video? Good sales of the film just might lead Dreamworks to go ahead with its plans to bring out another film based on the scriptures. And it, too, just might point moviegoers toward the ultimate Bible story--the greatest story ever told.


Chuck Colson


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