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  • Acceptable Targets: The Egyptian gods are portrayed as being fake at worst, or incompetent at best (though there's a bit of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane ambiguity), and on top of that, as generally being creepy and sinister. Also their civilization, aesthetic-wise, with plenty of shots of their toppled statues and ruined temples as the liberated Hebrews march through them. Then again, it would be pretty weird for a work designed to appeal to the members of a specific religion to legitimize the gods of another.
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  • All Animation Is Disney: A frequent victim of this perception, more so than DreamWorks' other 2-D animated features, though this might have to do with the fact that it was originally pitched at Disney. In fact, some of the animators used to work at Disney as well.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • How much does Seti regret killing the Hebrew infants? He notes that "sacrifices must be made", but his tone and expression suggest he is haunted by this fact. Later, he tried to comfort Moses by saying "they were only slaves." Is this because he feels their lives had no value or because he believes this will comfort Moses? Or is he trying to reassure himself that he did what he thought he had to?
    • During "the Plagues" Moses sings about all the innocent Egyptians who suffer due to Ramses' stubbornness. The Egyptian children undeniably aside, one might argue that none of them were innocent due to all of them relying on the Hebrew slaves (as well as non-Hebrew slaves, if we're getting historical). Though some were more guilty than others considering that this was what they were born into and couldn't change it even if someone had the unusual desire to, and we see quite a few farmers and peasant families suffering along with the Egyptian nobility.
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    • Miriam and Aaron. While Miriam's speeches about hope and Aaron's cowardice are hilarious as kids, as many people have noted in the fridge sections, Aaron probably had to constantly apologize or make excuses for his sister in order to save her life. This puts things in a different light, as one could interpret them as Miriam constantly acting out or fighting against the Egyptians, despite Aaron constantly having to humiliate himself with cowardice and make excuses for her and telling her not to do the stuff that, you know, would probably get her killed.
    • God, by sheer virtue of the fact that He's the Abrahamic God, but also because He's simply an unreadable character in the context of this film. Is He a benevolent parental figure, outright evil, beyond either of these things, or some mix of all of the above? The movie, for its part, does not discourage this question.
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    • The Egyptian gods, as well. Are they malevolent? Nonexistent? Less powerful than the Abrahamic God? Or simply refusing to help, either as a means of punishment for the Egyptians' crimes or for some different reason that's all their own? This one, at least, is somewhat encouraged by the film itself as a question and left largely up to the viewer to interpret.
    • The Abrahamic God and Rameses both have their characterization altered in one key respect - in the Biblical account, after the later plagues, it is made clear that God hardened the pharaoh's heart in order to make an example of him, and that otherwise the Jews would have been released earlier. In this version, that is absent, with Moses even overtly blaming Rameses for stubbornness that (in the Biblical account) was directly caused by God's intervention rather than being the pharaoh's choice.
      • This might actually be a mistranslation, as some versions reads that rather than God hardening the Pharaoh's heart, the text actually implies God 'suffered the Pharaoh's heart to be hardened'. It suggests that God accepts Humanity's own free will and while He will not hesitate to put His foot down for His chosen people if the Pharaoh remains recalcitrant, He would rather the Pharaoh be more sensible as much for Egypt's sake as for His chosen people's sake. Hebrew can be difficult to translate accurately at times, leading to many misinterpretations. This is in line with the movie's interpretation, as Ramses flat out says during "The Plagues" "Then let my heart be hardened."
    • Moses' killing of the overseer is here unambiguously portrayed as an accident. While the Biblical account doesn't make it impossible to read it that way, nothing in the text suggests it, and the reaction of the other Jews generally treats Moses' actions as at least alarming, with one questioning, during an argument, whether Moses will kill him the way he killed the overseer.
    • Just before the last plague Moses goes once again to ask Rameses to free his people and is greeted with Rameses throwing a cup with a red liquid in it. Is this liquid wine and it would indicate how he's trying to drink his problems away? Or is it blood water from the first plague and it shows how fed up he is that he hasn't even had a decent drink of water in quite some time.
  • Animation Age Ghetto: Notably subverted with a vengeance. While still a family-friendly film, it pulls few to no punches in depicting things such as Moses' accidental killing of an Egyptian, the destruction of Pharaoh's forces during the Parting of the Red Sea, and especially The Plagues. However, given that it was known to be an animated adaptation of the Book of Exodus, NO ONE expected it to be pretty colors and talking animals, and parents knew full well what to expect when bringing their children to see it. This was - and still is - one of the strongest selling points of this film.
  • Angst Aversion: A rare animated film example because, aside from most of the songs, it shows a surprisingly dark depiction of Moses' life.
  • Award Snub: The film was nominated for five Annie Awards in 1999, including Best Animation and Best Animated Movie. It won none of them, losing all five categories to The Iron Giant.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: "Playing With The Big Boys Now" is an overblown musical number with an anticlimatic ending, as God's snake eats the priests' snakes in a fraction of the time the whole song takes. Could be taken as an example of how the Egyptian gods were mostly show compared to Moses with the backing of God.
  • Cry for the Devil: Rameses may be the villain, but he wound up that way due to his surroundings and abusive father, and he's clearly heartbroken when he realizes that the brother he loves has become his enemy. Plus the suffering inflicted on him during the plagues, including losing his firstborn son. He brings it on himself, but the results are horrifying nonetheless. Even after he crosses the Moral Event Horizon, it's still hard not to pity the pharaoh as he pathetically calls out to his brother.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: See Acceptable Targets. Admit it, you thought the Egyptians' architecture and gods looked pretty awesome too, didn't you?
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: The movie ends with Moses returning to the children of Israel with the Ten Commandments in hand. Anyone familiar with the story of Moses (or at the very least, the Charlton Heston version) knows what happens next. He smashes the tablets in anger at seeing the Israelites having built a golden calf idol to worship, and sends the Levites to kill 3000 people. Unless you believe it was the second time around, which is happier (and suggested in the storybook/coloring book which posits the scene as taking place "Years later") but still pretty bitter. This isn't even the half of it. The group of Hebrews being led out of slavery toward the hope of the Promised Land? Apart from Joshua, none of them will be allowed entry into it. Their pride, stubbornness, and lack of faith results in them being sentenced to wander in the desert for forty years until that generation dies out. Even Moses will never get to enter it while he's alive, although his remains are eventually buried there. One can only hope that this movie's version of the story, with its liberties taken, would have things go better overall...
    • On the historical side of things, Ramesses' thirteenth son and successor Merneptah will wipe out the tribe of Israel decades after.
  • Evil Is Sexy: While downplayed compared to more prominent examples of the trope, Rameses easily qualifies—though it may have more to do with his Egyptian clothing than with being evil. Also, if feeling sympathy for him is a major factor to his sex appeal, then this may be more a case of Draco in Leather Pants.
  • Fanon: Moses finds the burning bush when searching for a sheep that he delivered earlier in "Through Heaven's Eyes". The sheep in question is a white lamb, which many people have interpreted as a subtle clue that it was sent by God Himself to lead Moses to the bush.
  • First Installment Wins: The Direct to Video prequel Joseph: King of Dreams, adapting the earlier story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis, is much less well-known.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • In the Bible, Moses is adopted by Pharaoh's daughter. Here it's Tuya, Seti's wife... Because Seti wasn't pharaoh yet: Seti I ruled for either eleven or fourteen years, so the ruling pharaoh when Tuya adopted Moses was either Rameses I, Seti's father and founder of the 19th Dinasty, or Horemheb, last pharaoh of the 18th dinasty who had designated Rameses I as successor because he lacked descendants while Rameses was a capable administrator with a son and multiple grandsons. Either way, Tuya was pharaoh's daughter, either as daughter-in-law of the ruling pharaoh or the one of the designated successor.
      • This also adds to Seti's reaction when Moses confronts him about the killing of the Hebrew children and all but blames him: Seti, alongside Tuya, was actually the one who defied the Pharaoh and saved one Hebrew child, even if just by arguing the gods had protected that particular child, hence his confusion.
      • This is contradicted however by the fact that when Tuya finds baby Moses, she says "Come, Ramses. We will show Pharaoh your new brother, Moses", indicating that Seti was already Pharaoh at that point. The mural of the Hebrew babies being killed also pretty clearly depicts Seti, and when Moses says "Father, tell me you didn't do this", Seti doesn't take the clear opportunity to deny it, but just doubles down on justifications.
    • The nightmare that reveals Moses the truth on his heritage, represented by moving carvings on the wall, ends with Moses' carving in an image of a sun disk with rays ending in hands. That particular sun disk is the symbol of Aten, that, in one short-lived Egyptian religion, was the One True God, Creator and Bringer of Life. His similarities with the Hebrew Yahweh have not gone unnoticed by historians, several of them even speculating some of the worship of Aten might have crossed over to them.note 
    • Miriam being portrayed as knowing God's plan to make Moses the deliver of the Hebrews when he's still a baby, while not strictly in the Biblenote , is a popular interpretation of Miriam's character in Jewish tradition. A very popular Jewish belief/story is that Miriam was the sister who followed Moses down the river, and since Exodus states that she was a prophetess in her own right, it's believed that, as a little girl, she knew that God had chosen him to be the deliverer of her people.
    • During the opening Crowd Song, the Hebrew slaves pray, "Elohim, God on High / Can you hear your people cry?" "God on high" has the same number of syllables as and rhymes with "Adonai" (Ah-doh-nye). "Elohim" and "Adonai" are not only both Hebrew names for God, but are frequently invoked side-by-side in ancient Hebrew prayers and songs.
    • The Hebrew song the children sing during "When You Believe" are lyrics from "Mi Chamocha," a song rejoicing God that Miriam and the Hebrews sing in Exodus, and which Jewish synagogues still sing (especially during Passover) to this day.
    • Casting Jeff Goldblum, an actor famous for his affected stutter, as Aaron—who in the Bible spoke for Moses... because Moses had a stutter. (Goldblum also narrated the read-along-book-and-tape tie-in.)
    • This applies more to the Bible story itself than to the movie in particular, but any Old Testament Biblical scholar will tell you that the Egyptian peasants would've seen each of the ten plagues as a personal challenge by YHWH to one of their own gods. For example the plague of boils would be seen as a challenge to Sobek, the god of medicine, and the three days of darkness a challenge to Ra, god of sunlight. The fact that none of their many gods were able/willing to undo what the Hebrews' single God had wrought would've sent a very clear message to them.
    • The big creature that swims past when Moses parts the sea isn't a whale, going by the shape and movement of its tail. It's a whale shark, a filter-feeding species found (among other places) in the Red Sea.
  • He Really Can Act: Who would've ever thought Ralph Fiennes could actually sing?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Jerkass Woobie: Rameses. He may have some good sides, but his ego and actions against the Israelites outweigh the pros, and the great suffering he endures is brought on himself by his fatal flaws.
  • Magnificent Bastard: God, having heard His people's cries for deliverance from their horrid slavery in Egypt, comes to Moses in the form of a burning bush with the man's own voice to turn him into God's emissary to Egypt. Using Moses to plead with Pharaoh Rameses for the freedom of the Hebrews, God responds to Pharaoh's refusal by sending the Plagues upon Egypt, increasing in their severity until God takes the life of every firstborn in the land, punishment for Pharaoh threatening infanticide on the Hebrews. When Pharaoh releases the Hebrews only to go back on his word and try to wipe them out, God parts the Red Sea to give the Hebrews an escape, then lures Pharaoh's armies into the same path to wipe them all out, saving the Hebrews for good and paying Pharaoh back for his genocidal intentions.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Moses slowly backing away from Seti in horror has become a very popular reaction gif. In applicable moments, fans have also been known to reverse it so that Moses walks into Seti's embrace, shaking his head in disgust all the while.
    • 'All I Ever Wanted' - listen to the song after the release of Thor and The Avengers and given the subsequent Lokification of the internet, and you'll realize that if you replace the word 'Egypt' with 'Asgard', the whole song could be about Loki. The fans noticed. Boy, did they notice.
    • Letmanote 
    • With a mix of black comedy, many will joke about a "sequel" to the movie being Moses smashing the Ten Commandment tablets in anger upon coming back to seeing the Hebrews worshiping the Golden Calf.
  • Misaimed Marketing: Downplayed, especially compared to other animated films of its era.
    • The trailers and tie-in media try to present it as a generic Biblical film, more "epic" than anything else, when it is actually darker and more intense than the norm. Indeed, the actual texts of the tie-in books, even the coloring book, don't spare the darker elements. (The coloring book was created to double as a storybook, with Novelization-style text alternating with pictures on facing pages, and resembles the adult coloring books that took off in The New '10s more than the standard.)
    • The DVD cover shows Moses only in his Egyptian prince garb and no other Hebrew characters, while the summary carefully avoids any mention of God or the characters' names and tries its best to hide the fact that the film tells a Bible story. In addition, the presence of the chariot race scene on the cover gives the impression that the climax is a chariot race between an Egyptian prince and his rival.
    • Upon its original theatrical release, the tie-in products were effectively limited to the soundtrack albums and book-based media to avoid this trope.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
  • Narm:
    • Near the end of Moses' nightmare (which is genuinely terrifying), when he sees Yocheved watching his basket float down the river, she puts her head in her hand. It's supposed to show her grieving, but it looks more like she's doing a facepalm.
    • Coupled with the dramatic music from that part of "Deliver Us", young Miriam's expression as she wades further out into the river as Moses' cradle drifts towards an Egyptian barge is rather silly.
    • "Playing With the Big Boys Now" was originally conceived as a Vegas-style showpiece. Then the music was changed to be much darker...but not the lyrics, resulting in some serious tonal dissonance.
  • Nausea Fuel: The hordes of insects and frogs during "The Plagues", particularly the shots of dozens of tiny bugs coming out of a loaf of bread, swarming from a goblet that Hotep was about to drink from, and crawling all over one unfortunate Egyptian in his sleep.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • This wasn't the first adaptation of the Exodus to portray the Egyptians and Hebrews as looking Middle Eastern nor the first to have Moses and the Pharaoh of the Exodus be childhood friends. Both of those go to the Moses episode of Testament: The Bible in Animation. The portrayal of Seti with his "They were only slaves" line draws comparisons to the episode's portrayal of Rameses as the Pharaoh of the Oppression, where he asserts that a Pharaoh must be just to Egyptians only.
    • Having the Priests be fakes was previously seen in the 1995 film Moses, celebrated at the time as the most faithful screen adaptation of the Exodus, where, just for one example, a priest throws down a staff and another kicks over a basket containing a cobra that is near the staff.
    • This is hardly the first time "Prince of Egypt" has been used as the title for an adaptation of the Exodus. In 1949 Dorothy Clarke Wilson wrote "Prince of Egypt", which would become one of the base stories for The Ten Commandments, and in 1958 Spartacus author Howard Fast wrote "Moses, Prince of Egypt".
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Jethro, who manages to get a truly amazing song out of it.
    • Yocheved. She's only there for the first few minutes of the movie, but by God is she memorable.
    • Everything about the Angel of Death is utterly terrifying, and it's present in the film for less than 2 minutes.
  • Popularity Polynomial:
    • A textbook case, starting off as quite successful, then largely vanishing off the face of the Earth. Between its appearance on Netflix, and a more positive reevaluation of DreamWorks animation following films like How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda, its fanbase seems to grow every day.
    • Several positive reviews/mentions by The Nostalgia Critic have also done wonders in helping people [re]discover this movie.
  • The Scrappy: Many were disappointed by the film's portrayal of Aaron, whose depiction as a cowardly and generally useless tagalong is a far cry from the original biblical tale where he acted as Moses' spokesperson before the Pharaoh (as Moses spoke with a stutter).
  • Signature Scene:
    • The playful chariot race between Moses and Rameses, which establishes right away how different the brotherly relationship is going to be in this film compared to how it was portrayed in The Ten Commandments. The marketing for the film shows it off so much that you could almost swear it was hyping up a movie that was going to revolve around medieval racing.
    • The Parting of the Red Sea, which elicited goosebumps even with non-religious viewers.
  • Signature Song: "When You Believe" is the most well-known soundtrack from the movie, to the point that many who haven't watch the film would likely have heard the song, whether in the radio or even parties and concerts.
    • "The Plagues" is also slowly getting to become known as the most poignant and powerful song of the movie.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Rameses is perpetuating a broken system of slavery and Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil. Yet he brings up a few legitimate points when Moses asks him as pharaoh to release the Hebrew people: it would cause political and economic disruption because even if a ruler changed the system drastically, the overseers, noble class and others may not accept the status quo. There are hints he might have compromised with Moses, if the latter hadn't refused his government position or adoptive family. Moses keeps begging Rameses to change his mind, but Rameses sings to himself that the Ten Plagues seem like blatant bullying and he doesn't want his people cowed. (This is also legitimate when you realize the Nile turned into blood leads to the Surprisingly Realistic Outcome that the drinking water supply and irrigation water has been greatly reduced, as some versions of the Bible detail.) He doesn't cross the Moral Event Horizon until the last part of the movie, where he attempts to wipe out the evacuating Hebrew crowds, including Moses, and you could argue that it's losing his son that pushes him to his brink, and he regrets it while slumped alone without his army or kingdom.
  • Vindicated by History:
    • Fell off the map after a rather successful box-office run and Best Original Song Oscar win. Later, the film garnered a ton of praise for its unusual take on the Exodus story, its examination of the relationship between Pharaoh and Moses, its music, its animation, and the fact that unlike similar Disney and Don Bluth films of the period that tried to tackle more mature content, it has the courage of its convictions and doesn't sugarcoat what it depicts. The failure of Exodus: Gods and Kings also brought it a lot of attention for being a superior take on the story.
    • In-universe, this would apply to Ramses, too, because, disastrous defeat and loss of Hebrew slaves aside, his accomplishments and conquests after those events would eventually make him one of the greatest and most successful Pharaohs in Egypt's history, never becoming the weakest link he so much feared he'd be. This arguably makes it even more tragic, considering that so much suffering and death could have been avoided altogether hadn't his fear of being the weak link clouded his judgement.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The Pillar of Fire and the parting of the Red Sea easily rival anything seen in live-action films, and God, in the form of the Burning Bush, still looks amazing.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: It's an animated take on the story of Exodus, including the slaying of the firstborn Egyptians. You don't see that often in a movie intended for all ages. At the time, its PG rating was unusual for a Western animated feature that wasn't clearly intended for adults only. Even The Hunchback of Notre Dame went out with a G.

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