Western Animation: The Prince of Egypt
"Deliver us, hear our call,The Prince of Egypt is a 1998 animated film based on the biblical book of Exodus, as well as the very first 2D animated film made by DreamWorks Animation. Until The Simpsons Movie came out in 2007, it was the highest-grossing traditionally animated non-Disney film of all time.The film covers part of the life of Moses, from his being found and adopted by Pharaoh's family to his young adulthood, where he discovers his Hebrew heritage, to his adult life, when God tells Moses to confront the current Pharaoh and persuade him to free the Hebrew slaves in Egypt.The Prince of Egypt admits up front in a disclaimer that it takes liberties with the original story, but is nonetheless one of the more accurate retellings in cinema. The film has an All-Star Cast to voice its characters, including several of the smaller roles, and featured numerous musical numbers throughout. The film won considerable acclaim in its time, and even got an Oscar for one of those songs.Has a character sheet currently in progress.Compare with The Ten Commandments and Exodus: Gods and Kings, two live-action retellings of the story.
Deliver us, Lord of all,
Remember us, here in this burning sand.
Deliver us, there's a land you promised us.
Deliver us to the promised land..."
Deliver us, Lord of all,
Remember us, here in this burning sand.
Deliver us, there's a land you promised us.
Deliver us to the promised land..."
Provides Examples Of:
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: For Moses. As he was happily raised as a member of Pharaoh's household in this version, the plagues see him destroy the home and family he loved. He also never knew his real family, which adds to the angst.
- Adaptation Distillation: Of the first half of the Book of Exodus.
- Adaptation Expansion: In the Book of Exodus, everything from Moses' birth to his exile and marriage is covered in a single chapter, which in a printed book would take up less than two pages. These two pages are expanded into the entire first half of the movie.
- Adult Fear: The murder of the newborns in the prologue, which is the entire reason why Yocheved sends baby Moses away in the river. Also, the final plague.
- Age Cut: Whilst Moses is in the desert several years are implied to have gone by, shown by his beard growth between shots.
- Probably more than a few, as Tzipporah's youngest sister looks to be in her early teens, if not older, after the age cut.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Ramses' downfall is portrayed with all the pathos of a family member suffering hardship.
- Ancient Egypt: The basic setting and circumstance. The film features references to the Egyptian pantheon and culture, and illustrates several of its buildings and landmarks.
- Animated Musical: The film won an Oscar for its songs.
- Animation Bump: The scenes which use CGI for the backgrounds.
- Antagonist in Mourning: Inverted. Moses, the protagonist, breaks down in tears after the final plague. He is crying not only for the loss of his nephew, and by extension all the first born of Egypt, but the loss of his relationship with Rameses.
- Anti-Villain: Rameses, to the point where the creators had to rewrite some scenes between him and Moses because he came off as too sympathetic and Moses as too cruel. He is forcing the Hebrews to work as slaves and refuses to let them go, just cracking down harder on them when Moses returns and demands their freedom. However, we are shown that he has been raised on the beliefs of his father, that a single weak king could cause the collapse of a long and proud dynasty, and Rameses refuses to let that be him.
- Artistic License:
- The disclaimer at the opening of the film is open and straightforward about this. Some changes are made from the original Exodus story for the sake of drama (making this film fanfiction based off the bible).
- Moses probably always knew that he was a Hebrew in the original story, whereas in this film he does not figure it out until around his adult life.
- In Exodus, Moses and Aaron are 80 and 83 years old, respectively, at the time of the plagues. While Moses is shown to have spent at least several years as a shepherd, he is still very much a young man when he confronts Ramses here.note
- Moses had Aaron actually deal with Pharaoh in the original story and also perform most of the miracles, in this version he does it all himself.
- Art Shift: The wall-painting dream sequence, which is stylized as Egyptian hieroglyphs and wall paintings.
- Automaton Horses:
- In Moses' and Ramses' chariot race none of their horses panic or run out of control, despite their race leading atop construction scaffolding and collapsing buildings.
- Averted during the cavalry charge of the Egyptian army at the end of the film. Horses are seen panicking, throwing off their riders and running wild after they are startled.
- Award Bait Song: "When You Believe", which won the Best Song Oscar. Also qualifies as a Breakout Pop Hit, as there are many fans of the song who only know it as "that Whitney/Mariah song". Especially combined with the "multi-lingual version". Interestingly, the version within the film has aged much better, as it lacks the "here's the obligatory Disney-style pop ballad" qualities of the end-credits version.
- Badass Beard: Jethro wins the prize for the movie's biggest, most awesome beard.
- Barefoot Poverty: Several characters.
- Bathe Her And Bring Her To My Brother: Ramses finds Tzipporah to be too feisty for his taste and dumps her on Moses. Ironically, he has her dried instead of bathed before being brought to his brother, as she had already fallen in a pool of water.
- Bear Hug:
- Jethro, the largest character in the film, pulls both Moses and Tzipporah into a giant hug after they decide to get married.
- When Moses returns to Egypt, he and Rameses eye each other in surprise. Rameses, however, quickly gets over the shock and grabs Moses in a giant hug, lifting him off the floor and apparently even squeezing the air out of Moses.
- Bible Times
- Big Brother Instinct:
- Rameses' first reaction to his little brother killing a man in front of multiple witnesses is to declare him innocent. When Moses returns after years of being gone, he is ready to give his brother a high position and wipe away the crime.
- Aaron is frequently seen trying to protect Miriam from the consequences of her actions, as her forwardness places her in trouble with the Egyptian authorities.
- Big Fun: Jethro.
- Big Little Brother: Despite being the oldest of the three, Miriam is the shortest of her siblings.
- Big "NO!": Rameses, when God makes the Red Sea sweep him backwards.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Almost everyone. Jethro is the most prominent though.
- Big Word Shout: Rameses, when we see him after the Red Sea returns to normal, alone and defeated:
- Bittersweet Ending: Moses successfully leads the Hebrews out of their lives as slaves, but his brotherly relationship with Rameses is destroyed forever.
- Blessed with Suck: Moses comes to view being chosen by God as this, as he is forced to be the instrument of destruction, pain and death.
- Blue and Orange Morality: God. A point made at several times in the Old Testament, and referenced when Moses is speaking to the Burning Bush, is that God is so far above humanity that we can not comprehend His actions. When Moses questions why he is being selected, God explicitly states that He has done so much more than Moses will ever even be able to conceive."WHO MADE MAN'S MOUTH? WHO MADE THE DEAF, THE MUTE, THE SEEING OR THE BLIND? DID NOT I? NOW GO."
- Book Ends: The movie begins with Jocheved singing "Deliver Us", and ends with her singing the single line "Deliver Us" as Moses comes down from Mt Sinai.
- Boomerang Bigot: Moses does not give much thought to the Hebrews or even notice their suffering until he then finds out he is one. Over time he comes to accepts the fact and (with God's order) helps free them.
- Break the Haughty: What God does to Rameses for repeatedly refusing to let the Hebrews go. The final straw was the death of Rameses's son.
- Bring It: "Playing With The Big Boys Now" is the priests giving one of these to Moses, and God by extension.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: The Pharoah to Moses: "They were only slaves."
- Cain and Abel: Moses and Rameses are a deconstruction of this trope, as their history and affection lead to great turmoil and angst as they conflict with one another. Neither wants to kill the other (and it takes a spectacular Villainous Breakdown on Rameses' part before it gets to that point), but are thrust into their roles by a higher power.
- Call-and-Response Song: The Plagues.
- Catapult Nightmare: After the wall-painting sequence.
- Changeling Fantasy: Inverted — Moses does not take the news of his real heritage too well.
- Character Exaggeration: Averted in most respects (especially the Pharaohs), which is one of the reasons the film is praised.
- Chekhov's Gag:
- When Tzipporah is offered to Rameses by the priests she tries to bite his hand and Moses teases him: "Not much of a snake charmer, are you?" When Moses shows up at the palace for the first time and tells Rameses to "let his people go" and then transforms his staff into a snake, Rameses smirks and says "Hotep, Huy, show this snake charmer our answer". Moses had brought Tzipporah to the palace as his wife.
- When Moses and Tzipporah first meet, he humiliates her by letting go of the rope she's pulling on, causing her to fall backwards into a pool of water. When Moses is trapped in the well in Midian, Tzipporah lets go of the rope she was using to pull him out as soon as she realizes who he is.
- Cherubic Choir: When the Israelites are finally leaving Egypt, a song of praise to God is being sung by children in the background. In Hebrew, no less. The song in question, Mi Chamocha, was supposedly composed by Miriam during the Exodus itself.
- Children Are Innocent: Played straight in this film, as both the Hebrew and Egyptian children killed are viewed as victims of situations outside of their control. There is also a scene when the Angel of Death arrives and a curious Hebrew child looks out the window at it until his mother pulls him away.
- Contrived Coincidence: Moses just so happens to stumble upon, and help, Tzipporah's sisters after he gets lost in the desert.
- Cool Big Sis: Tzipporah may be this for her younger sisters.
- Counterpoint Duet: The "The Plagues" song includes one of these, culminating in Moses and Rameses simultaneously singing "Let my people go" and "(I will never) let your people go".
- Conspicuous CG: Moses's basket and the plague of frogs, among other things, have much more dimension than the rest of the animation. According to the commentary, this was intentional.
- Damsel in Distress: Tzipporah is introduced this way, captured by Hotep and Huy and intended as a concubine of sorts for Rameses. She later escapes by herself. Later in the film this is also how Moses meets her three sisters, as they are being harassed by bandits trying to make off with their sheep.
- Damsel out of Distress: Though Tzipporah is introduced as a prisoner in Egypt being offered as a gift to Rameses and Moses, Moses discovers that she had made her escape on her own when he thought that she was tied up in his room.
- Dark Reprise:
Moses: This was my home.
- During the "The Plagues" sequence, we get a more bitter, anger-filled version of "All I Ever Wanted" from both Moses and Rameses.
Rameses: Is this what you wanted?!
- Immediately following "The Plagues," the score mournfully reprises "All I Ever Wanted" as Moses walks through the now-damaged palace to once more attempt to reason with Ramses.
- Deadpan Snarker: Hotep and Huy, the Egyptian high priests, have their moments – often mumbled in the background:Seti (to Moses and Rameses): Have I taught you nothing?Huy: Your Majesty, You mustn’t be so hard on yourself. You’re an excellent teacher.Hotep: It’s not your fault they learned nothing.Huy: Well, they learned blasphemy.Hotep: True.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Some of the Egyptians guards are seen joining and aiding the Hebrews on their journey to the Promise Land.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Moses confronting Rameses after the latter's son has been killed in the final plague of Egypt.
- Demoted to Extra: Aaron, Moses's aide and spokesman in the Exodus, becomes less relevant to the story and does not personally support Moses until after the plagues have been unleashed; conversely, Tzipporah becomes an Ascended Extra. She instead of Aaron is with Moses in the staffs-to-snakes scene.
- Disappeared Dad: Or at least we never see Amram, the father of Moses and his siblings.
- Disaster Dominoes: Moses being an irresponsible chariot driver is leads to the defacement of a monument and the destruction of the surrounding structures.
- Disney Acid Sequence:
- Used at the end of "All I Ever Wanted", when there is an Art Shift to a hieroglyphics style in Moses's dream.
- Justified in "Playing With the Big Boys Now", because the effects are being created within the film by the two characters performing the song.
- Disney Villain Death: While trying to stop an Egyptian guard cruelly whipping a Hebrew slave, Moses accidentally pushes the guard off the scaffolding of the temple and the guard falls to his death. This causes Moses to exile himself out of guilt and shame. In the original, Moses' was deliberate in killing the guard to save the slave.
- Don't Make Me Destroy You: In the scene immediately preceding the plague of the firstborn, Moses practically begs Rameses not to let things continue, all the while staring at Rameses' son. Rameses refuses, which makes Moses extremely upset.
- Don't Say Such Stupid Things: Moses refuses to lead the Israelites out of slavery because they would never trust or follow him, but God loses His temper and tells him to go anyways.Moses: You've chosen the wrong messenger! How can I even speak to these people?God: WHO MADE MAN'S MOUTH!? Who made the deaf, the mute, the seeing, or the blind? Did not I? Now, GO!
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Rameses telling Moses to leave him after his son's death as a result of the final plague
- Dream Melody: Moses is seen casually whistling the lullaby his biological mother sang to him at the beginning. When he hears Miriam singing the song after she reveals his true heritage he recognizes the tune and realizes the truth.
- Dreaming The Truth: Moses realizes where he came from in a dream depicted in various Egyptian art images.
- Drives Like Crazy: If the chariot race sequence is to be believed, crazy teenage drivers have been a problem a lot longer than we currently believe.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Rameses appears to be trying to do this when Moses arrives to plead with him one last time before the final Plague.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Angel of Death.
- Epic Movie: From the point of conception, Jeffrey Katzenberg intended this to be his Big Damn Epic Movie and marketed it as such. It was his first film since The Lion King and he wanted to show his former studio what he was capable of.
- Exact Words: "And there shall be a great cry in all of Egypt, such as never has been or ever will be again."
- The Faceless: Tzipporah's youngest sister. We get a brief glimpse of her face when she excitedly asks Moses to sit with her at Jethro's banquet table, but otherwise her eyes are the only part of her face not concealed by her oversized headscarf,
- Facial Profiling: The Hebrews are depicted with curly mops of unruly dark hair and many of them have larger noses. They also have lighter skin compared to the darker Egyptians. The Egyptians themselves have round, smooth faces with high cheekbones, narrow eyes and smooth black hair. This was intentional, as explained in the promotional materials. The Egyptians in general are composed of angular, symmetric, geometric lines in contrast to the Hebrews' rounded, more natural and varied forms. Authentic Egyptian art depicts Semites as bearded and lighter skinned in contrast to the clean-shaven, darker Egyptians.
- Falling in Love Montage: "Through Heaven's Eyes" doubles somewhat as this for Moses and Tzipporah, culminating in their wedding.
- Family Values Villain: Despite ordering the mass infanticide among the Hebrew slaves, Pharaoh Seti I gives every sign of being a family man who genuinely loves his wife and sons. However, this is a rare example that serves to make him creepier rather than sympathetic due to the cognitive dissonance involved; he ignores the obvious implication that he nearly murdered the babe who later became his favorite son (Moses) because he doesn't seem to consider him a Hebrew at all instead of a Prince of Egypt.
- Fat and Skinny: Hotep and Huy, respectively.
- Fearless Infant: Moses as he is going down the river.
- Flipping the Table: Rameses does this to the priests' table right before he jumps into his half of the emotionally-charged "Plagues" duet.
- Follow the Leader: Follows quite a few plot elements originally added to the story by The Ten Commandments.
- Follow the White Rabbit: Moses finds the burning bush when searching for a lost sheep.
- Foreshadowing: Several scenes at the beginning of the film obliquely refer to later events, particularly when the Pharaoh is scolding Ramses and Moses, and the conversation Moses and Ramses have afterwards. The scenes get numerous call backs later in the film.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Ramses is the responsible older brother, while Moses is the freewheeling younger brother. Both grow out of their roles as the movie goes along, but they each remember and refer back to their roles from when they were younger.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: God as the burning bush.
- Freudian Excuse: This version of Rameses' reasoning of his obstinacy against freeing the Hebrews.
- Funny Background Event: After they are both scolded by Seti, Moses goes to comfort Rameses. During the scene he can be seen idly sewing a piece of cloth without comment or focus. At the end of the scene, having sewn it into a sack, he fills it with liquid from a present dish and drops it on the passing priests as a water balloon.
- Get Out: After Rameses flips the priests' table he orders them to get out, though it is hard to hear over the music in the scene. The priests do not appear again afterwards.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- "Ladies, please, you've cleaned every inch of me — WHOA! I was wrong."
- After Moses and Tzipporah marry, the next scene may or may not take place after their wedding day. Regardless, we see Tzipporah with her hair all over the place and she looks exhausted. An "after sex" scene.
- It's pretty blatant why Tzipporah was given to Moses and Rameses. One: The priests make sure to highlight her beauty. Two: Rameses and Moses both seem fairly, um, excited. Three: Rameses somewhat suggestively grabs her by her chin. And four, the real cinch: Rameses has her sent to Moses' bedchambers. Real subtle, there, Dreamworks.
- Gilligan Cut: After the Chariot Race:Rameses: You don't think we'll get in trouble for this, do you?
Moses: No, not a chance.
[Cue Moses and Rameses being scolded for the chaos the race caused.]
Seti: Why do the gods torment me with such reckless, destructive, blasphemous sons!?
- God: The one who commands Moses to free the Hebrews, and who uses his power to punish the Egyptians until they consent.
- A God Am I: Ramses repeatedly refers to himself as "the morning and the evening star," pointing to the fact that as Pharaoh, he is supposed to be a god incarnate.
- Good Is Not Nice: God is working to free His enslaved people as promised, but the film does not gloss over how thorough His vengeance on Egypt was, especially in the eye-for-eye smiting of the Firstborn even down to the young children.
- Happily Adopted: Moses was this until he learned the truth.
- Happily Ever Before: The film stops immediately after the Red Sea Crossing, with a brief subsequent image of Moses bringing down the Ten Commandments, leaving out all mention of the Golden Calf, the destruction of the original tablets, or subsequent hardships for the fleeing Hebrews.
- Held Gaze: Moses and Tziporrah during the last part of the "Through Heaven's Eyes" musical sequence.
- Heroic BSOD: Moses has several: the first occurs when he discovers he is an adopted Hebrew, and the second comes after the 10th Plague, as does Rameses' Villainous Breakdown.
- Humble Pie: Moses starts to lose his haughty prince attitude when he discovers his true heritage.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Subverted. Seti expresses regret in regards to ordering his soldiers to slaughter the Hebrew newborns. However, his following remark makes his real feelings about the matter even clearer.Seti: Sometimes for the greater good, sacrifices must be made...Oh my son. They were only slaves.
- Infant Immortality: Averted ''en masse' twice.
- Ironic Echo: When Moses is fleeing Egypt after killing the Egyptian who was torturing a slave, Rameses sympathetically and lovingly tries to stop him. Moses says only "Goodbye, Brother" before running away. Rameses then yells out "Moses! Moses!!" in pleading despair. At the end of the movie, when Rameses crashes onto the shore from the Red Sea closing in, he once again screams out "Moses! Moses!!", but this time it is out of fury at having lost not only his son, but his slaves and effectively his entire kingdom, all by Moses's hand. Once again, Moses only states "Goodbye, Brother."
- It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Moses touches upon this in The Plagues."And even now, I wish that God had chose another,Serving as your foe on His behalfIs the last thing that I wanted."
- "I Want" Song: Inverted with "All I Ever Wanted". Rather than singing about wanting more out of life, the song is about Moses trying to convince himself that he already has everything he could ever want and has no reason to be dissatisfied.
- Leave No Survivors: In the climax, Rameses and his army pursue the Hebrew refugees, during which he orders his men to kill all the unarmed Hebrews. Utterly ironic as well; all his life Rameses tried to be a greater Pharaoh than his imposing father Seti I ever was. Without realizing it, he tried to outshine his father's legacy even in something as extreme as mass murder.
- Manly Tears: Moses at the deaths of all the firstborn Egyptian sons. After Rameses finally grants the Hebrews permission to leave (while mourning over his own son's body), as Moses walks back to the Hebrew dwellings amid the echoing sound of bereaved mothers' cries, he is overcome with grief and collapses against a wall, sobbing.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": The Egyptian soldiers, just before the Red Sea sweeps over them.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Hotep and Huy's snake conjuration was done with such theatrics that it is hard to tell if they actually did magic or just managed some sleight of hand, although at some points in their song, the positions they're in could only be managed by Offscreen Teleportation, walking off in one direction and coming in from another, or disappearing in a puff of smoke. Their attempt at turning water to blood and other "magic", however, is demonstrably accomplished through showmanship and artificial tools.
- Meaningful Echo:
- "Look at your family/people. They are free."
- Miriam's line to Moses, when she's trying to tell him about his true heritage, is later repeated by Moses when confronts Rameses before running away from home.
Miriam: Our mother set you adrift in a basket to save your life!
Moses: Save my life? From who?
Miriam: Go ask the man you call "father"!
Moses: No! All I've ever known to be true is a lie! I'm not who you think I am!
Rameses: What are you talking about?
Moses: Go ask the man I once called "father"!
- Midword Rhyme: In "Deliver Us":Help us now,in this dark hou--r
- Minor Character, Major Song: Jethro with "Through Heaven's Eyes".
- A Minor Kidroduction: In the beginning, we see Miriam, Aaraon, Rameses, and Moses as children, the latter being a baby.
- Missing Mom: Just who is the mother of Rameses's son?
- The Mockbuster: There were not one, but two direct-to-video cash-ins that were not only released the same year as Prince Of Egypt, but made little to no attempt in changing their titles.
- Monumental Damage: The stone nose is knocked off of a giant monument to Seti I.
- Moses in the Bullrushes: But of course.
- Mood Whiplash: "When You Believe" is an inspiring song about how the strength of faith can bring about miracles. Played right after the plagues, it's either a glimmer of hope against the destruction or an iffy implication that the horrors counted as miracles.
- Named by the Adaptation: Pharaoh's magicians are not named in the Book of Exodus so the film calls them Hotep and Huy. Ancient tradition calls them Jannes and Jambres, which is reflected in the Christian scriptures.
- Nepharious Pharaoh: Like most works based off the Book of Exodus from The Bible, it has the Pharaoh Ramses as the Big Bad.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The original trailer made this look like a more action-packed, definitely more kid-friendly film.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
Rameses: "...or is it thanks to you?"
- After Moses tells Rameses that God has sent him to free the Hebrews, Rameses was angry with this and informs him that, thanks to 'his' god, he will increase the workload for the slaves.
- In the next scene, when the slaves hear of this, they were displeased with Moses and one of them threw mud at him to show their frustration.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Herod!: The film shows this scenario through an Egyptian-hieroglyphic animation dream sequence, followed by a final confrontation between the Prince Moses and Seti I, his adoptive father: "Sometimes," Seti says, with a look approaching actual regret, "sacrifices must be made...." Then he tries to comfort his son with the worst words possible: "They were only slaves..."
- Oh, Crap:
- Rameses had one when Moses tells him that they are late for the banquet.
- Aaron, in the background, when Miriam tells Moses “You’re our brother."
- Ominous Egyptian Chanting: Used to a degree in "Playing With the Big Boys", in which the names of several Egyptian gods are chanted at the beginning and later in the background.
- The Plagues includes a backing chorus of Ominous English Chanting.
- One-Woman Wail: A truly beautiful example provided by the late Israeli singer Ofra Haza.
- Our Angels Are Different: The angel of death looks like it came through a portal from outside of existance and is basically a giant glowing white cloud that pulls the breath of life from the first born children. No wings, no halo, and sword dripping with the blood of Egyptians.
- Pet the Dog: Subverted. Seti clearly cares about his sons. When he finds Moses reeling at the fate of the Hebrew children, Seti hugs him, speaks in the soothing tones of Patrick Stewart...and tells Moses it was justified because they were just slave children. The worst part of this is that Seti thought this would make Moses feel better.
- Prodigal Hero: Being an adaptation of the story of Moses the film tells this story, mixing both the accidental murder as well as disgust of the Egyptians' treatment towards the Jews.
- Protagonist Title: The Prince in question is Moses, who eventually rejects the title when he discovers his true heritage.
- The Queen's Latin: Most of the Egyptian characters (save for Hotep and Huy) speak with British accents, while the Hebrews speak with American accents.
- Reality Has No Subtitles: Many of the songs contain individual lines or entire choruses in Hebrew, sung along with the predominantly English lyrics. No translations are offered note , but the tone and context of the songs at least hint at their meanings.
- Recycled In Space: The Ten Commandments... AS AN ANIMATED MUSICAL! Note that this is NOT a bad thing.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Moses and Rameses, respectively. As young men, Moses is rambunctious and flippant while Rameses is more introspective and prone to angsting. When they grow up, they retain their oni roles, but in a different way. Moses is passionate and warm while Rameses is cold and ruthless. Even their clothing reflects this. Rameses wears blue and white while Moses wears red and earth tones. They're also represented by their respective colors in one shot during "The Plagues."
- Refusal of the Call: Questioning of the call, at any rate. Upon being told that he's been chosen to return to Egypt and free the slaves, Moses argues that he was the son of the man who slaughtered Hebrew children and that God must have picked the wrong messenger. God gets snippy, then significantly less snippy, and that settles the matter.
- The Renaissance Age of Animation
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The climax, where Rameses, despite freeing the Hebrews earlier, snaps and decides to lead his men in a chase to slaughter the Hebrews before they escape. Thanks to God's intervention, they fail miserably.
- Rule of Symbolism: In the opening sequence the Hebrew slaves look upon with awe at the statue of Ra that they just put up, which symbolized the power of the Egyptians over them. Toward the end of the plagues sequence, the statue crumbles. Some scholars believe that the plagues were meant to rebuke the various Egyptian religions and their gods (Ra, god of the Sun falls on the onset of the plague of darkness).
- Sarcasm Mode: "Moses! Let me guess. You want me to...let your people go."
- Scenery Porn: The opening sequence showing the Hebrews raising Egyptian monuments, the Plagues, and the crossing of the Red Sea.
- Scenery Gorn: After the plagues are done with Egypt.
- The Scourge of God: The PlaguesI send the locusts on a wind
Such as the world has never seen
On ev'ry leaf, on ev'ry stalk
Until there's nothing left of green
I send my scourge, I send my sword
Thus saith the Lord!
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Rameses promises to absolve Moses from the crime of murder because he is "the morning and the evening star" and can change the laws however he deems fit. He goes far enough as to say he can make it “as though it never happened.”
- Sexy Silhouette: Subverted. After Moses has Tziporrah sent to his chambers by Rameses, he sees a shadowy figure sitting on his bed behind a curtain, looking as if it is her sitting there with her arms crossed defiantly. He laughs awkwardly before pulling the curtain back to reveal that it is the servant who had escorted her there all tied up. He then realizes that his dogs are tied up as well and there is a Bedsheet Ladder going out his window.
- Shadow Discretion Shot: When Moses' snake eats the pair that Hotep and Huy conjured.
- Shoot the Dog: God sending the Ten Plagues to wreck Egypt. A horrible punishment, particularly for the suffering innocent, but necessary to free the Hebrews.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: During "The Plagues", Ramses enters a room with Hotep and Huy as they are applying ointment to their boils. Enraged at their inability to stop the plagues, Ramses orders them to "Get Out!" They are not seen again in the film. Things get very dark afterwords.
- Sidekick: Tzipporah functions as a rare wife version, as she accompanies the hero thoughout most of his epic journey.
- Shown Their Work: The silhouette of a whale shark is seen behind the watery walls of the Red Sea passage, which does connect to the habitat range of the species.
- Single Tear:
- Yocheved when she sends baby Moses away on the river.
- Miriam sheds two tears when she repeats Yocheved's lullaby to Moses. Symbolically, one tear is hers and the other is from their mother.
- Moses after seeing God's wonders.
- Silence, You Fool!
- The Stinger: The credits end with quotes from the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Qur'an stating how important Moses was as a prophet.
- The Swarm: Several of the plagues, including frogs, locusts and pestilence.
- Tearful Smile: Moses has one right after meeting with the Lord for the first time.
- Tempting Fate:
- "Playing With The Big Boys Now" can be seen as a challenge to God. As the next song ("The Plagues") shows, this was not wise.
- Rameses says that "there will be a great cry in the land of Egypt", threatening to kill off the entire Hebrew population. The "great cry" that comes about is not the one he expected.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Hotep and Huy
- Three-Month-Old Newborn: Shown with an ewe's lambing.
- Time Skip: There are two timeskips. After "Deliver Us" the film jumps forward approximately twenty years to when Moses is a young man, and during "Through Heaven's Eyes" the film quickly progresses through several more years.
- Title Drop: At several times in the movie, Moses is referred to as "a/the Prince of Egypt". The term is solely used to refer to him and not to Rameses, who is instead viewed as the future Pharaoh.
- Tomato in the Mirror: When Moses slowly realizes that he is a Hebrew, during the sequence preceding "All I Ever Wanted".
- Toppled Statue: The same statue shown being raised in the opening is destroyed during the Plagues.
- Tragic Villain: Rameses, unlike his counterparts from The Ten Commandments and The Bible.
- Underestimating Badassery: The Egyptian priests and, especially, Ramses have absolutely no idea what their dealing with in the God of the Hebrews, and at first treat this new deity with sneering contempt. Then the Plagues hit...
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: People were so distracted by the priests' theatrics that they don't seem to notice Moses' snake eating the two that they produced.
- Villainous Breakdown: In a very tragic example, Rameses snaps after the death of his son, riding after Moses and the Hebrews and, when they try to escape him through the Red Sea, he shouts to his men "Kill them! KILL THEM ALL!" The last of him seen in the film is him screaming in rage and agony, cursing Moses.
- Villain Song: Rameses' Dark Reprise of "All I Ever Wanted" might count, and while they are more inept evil sidekicks than true villains, Hotep and Huy's "Playing With The Big Boys Now" counts.
- "The Plagues" can be interpreted as God's Villain Song, if you're opting to go that route. The lines sung by the choir are quite boastful, all taking place over the suffering of Egyptian peasants and families.
- Villains Out Shopping: When Moses confronts Rameses at the Nile. Not only is Rameses just lounging in his boat, Huy and Hotep seem to be entertaining his son with magic tricks.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Moses (until he goes back to the Hebrews) and Ramses.
- Walk Like an Egyptian: Seen in a few dream sequences. Also, Hotep shortly during his song with Huy.
- Was Too Hard on Him: Moses asks Seti if he was too harsh on Rameses by calling him a weak link who will bring shame to Egypt just after Moses took the blame for goading Rameses on their wild chariot race.
- We Can Rule Together: Hotep and Huy make an offer something like to Moses during their Villain Song."Just to show we feel no spite/you can be our acolyte!"
- We Used to Be Friends: The major driving force of the movie, which sets it apart from The Ten Commandments Love Triangle.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Even after the death of his father, Rameses is still struggling with the man's immense shadow and wants to be the kind of Pharaoh his father was. This leads to tragedy for the Egyptians. Truth in Television for this one, at least for the first half of that statement. Rameses II is by all accounts one Egypt's greatest Pharaoh, and many speculate that his achievements were motivated by a desire to live up to his distant father's legacy.Moses: All he cares about is your approval. I know he will live up to your expectations. He only needs the opportunity.
- Widescreen Shot: The three scenes set in the Pharaoh's throne room are occasionally shot side-on, showing the characters in profile and looking out over the city. These shots are in a widescreen format much wider than the rest of the movie to illustrate the backdrop the characters are up against. The background is different in each scene due to the progressing time, showing the status of Egypt at that moment; Egypt during the reign of Seti I, Egypt prosperous under Rameses II before the return of Moses, and Egypt in ruins after the Plagues.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Ramses.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Jethro singing "Through Heaven's Eyes" could be this.
- Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: A dramatic variant, depending on your interpretation; after breaking Egyptian law by accidentally killing one of the guards overseeing the slave labor, Moses exiles himself to the desert, even though Ramses is fully willing to pardon him. Eventually, a sandstorm hits; rather than try to find shelter, Moses drops to his knees as if to surrender to the wrath of the gods.