Archive for January, 2012

The Prince of Egypt (1998)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on January 16, 2012 by dpallee

Moses (right) places his staffin the water from "The Prince of Egypt"

DreamWorks Animation is known for excellent 3d films like Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, but audiences should take notice of their spectacular 2d animated classics as well. The Prince of Egypt is a dazzling adaptation of the story of Moses from the Book of Exodus. Viewers familiar with the cinematic classic, The Ten Commandments, will be pleased to see this version which gives us a close look into the kinship between Moses and his foster brother, Rameses II. This film has a rich soundtrack and could be considered a musical for the most part, yet the songs work well within the plot and the orchestration is a superb enhancement to the film’s action.

 The story tells of how Moses (voice of Val Kilmer) and his brother, Rameses II (voice of  Ralph Fiennes) grow up as Princes in the Land of Pharoahs. Most people know this tale from the Bible and though DreamWorks does take some artistic liberty, they manage to retell this classic story using vivid backgrounds that come to life with song and dance, stunning visual effects and one of the best sound scores I’ve heard for an animated film.

 Be warned that very small children may become frightened with some parts of this movie. There is a particular scene depicting children being thrown into the Nile where crocodiles eat them that is a bit disturbing for toddlers. Overall I would have to say this movie is an excellent choice for anyone to view, regardless of religious beliefs. A variety of stellar voices add to the cast, such as Patrick Stewart, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock and Steve Martin to mention a few. Here’s hoping that DreamWorks decides to continue to produce more 2d classics like The Prince of Egypt.

Titan AE (2000)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 2, 2012 by dpallee

Cale (left) and Stith (right) from "Titan AE"

 Titan AE is a wonderful, exciting science fiction adventure by Gary Goldman and Don Bluth that received little praise at the box office but has grown a large cult following since its release in 2000. Both Bluth and Goldman are veteran animators from Disney studios and went on to produce animated classics The Land Before Time, Anastasia and An American Tail. Titan AE (the AE stands for ‘After Earth’) blasts into outer space with a story that begins with the Earth’s destruction where the main character, Cale (voice of Matt Damon) must avoid being captured by pure energy beings, find a hidden spaceship left by his father and save what is left of humanity.

 The movie features a stellar cast of voices, including Janeane Garofalo, Bill Pullman, Nathan Lane, John Leguizamo and Drew Barrymore. Like all Bluth projects, Titan AE carries a rich, colorful spectrum of backdrops, superbly animated characters and a variety of mood setting techniques that visually entertain the viewer. The direction of photography is top quality and should be noted as a perfect example of what to do for successful cinematography. The blending of computer generated backgrounds and traditional 2d imagery works seamless in this fantastic story written by Hans Bauer and Randall McCormick. It’s a shame that more companies can’t afford to produce and distribute quality work like this more often.

 The subplots within the story are no more mature than other Bluth films as animated film lovers will remember such dark moments from films like The Secret of Nimh or All Dogs Go To Heaven. Bluth has a uncanny ability to tone a serious subject matter in his movies and make it easy enough for a younger child to watch without becoming too scared by it. Any true science fiction fans will get a kick out of this film; I highly recommend it