After being vaguely disappointed with The Prince of Egypt, I’m not truly sure why I decided to watch this movie. But I did, and I’m not entirely disappointed with the film as it did have a couple of cool moments. The screenplay (much like The Prince of Egypt) seems to focus too much on its accuracy rather than its true entertainment value. The voice acting is mildly awkward at times, but for the most part, Ben Affleck puts in a strong performance.
Affleck’s performance is sweet, vulnerable, and emotional, but not every line of dialogue is equally convincing. There are a couple of awkward scenes in which it seems Affleck seems to read lines. His singing voice, provided by David Campbell, too features the distinct vulnerability and sings very well, but the voice just sounds distinctly different than that of Affleck. Voicing Affleck’s half-brother is Mark Hamill. Affleck and Hamill work well together, and Hamill also does well individually and puts a nice sense of confidence as well as maturity into the role. Richard Herd voices their father, Jacob, and his charming yet rough voice works well in the role and Russell Buchanan, who sings well and sounds similar to Herd.
As Joseph’s mother is Maureen McGovern who puts in a decent performance, despite her mildly dull line-deliverance and lifeless singing. The voice acting level however dies down with the smaller roles who read lines in monotonous and lifeless manners and who really pull down the movie. Jodi Benson and Judith Light put in lifeless portrayals of Joseph’s love interests. James Eckhouse and Richard McGonagle put in a dull performances as Potiphar and the Pharaoh.
Visually the movie is fine, but lacks some of the beautiful shots that kept The Prince of Egypt afloat. The animation style is still interesting and has a few shining moments, most notable are the V Gough inspired dream sequences that are not only eye-catching but interesting and fresh. The music, by John Bucchino, too is pretty good, and even mildly exceeds that of its predecessor. The song “Better Than I”, is especially beautiful and powerful. However, the rest of the music is not particularly great with some awkward melodies and poor lyrics.
The story however is where its predecessor failed me and where this movie falls even shorter. The movie seems to rely too heavily on its biblical story and by doing so it sacrifices good story telling for accuracy. Whenever a movie follows a book or story too closely you also end up getting an awkwardly paced film. The film also suffers from an awkward sense of lacking creativity.
Much like The Prince of Egypt, this movie is not great, but it does have its moments that keeps the viewer slightly engaged. The Van Gough inspired sequences are lovely, Affleck and Hamill’s voice acting is genuine, and “Better Than I” is a wonderful song.
Best Aspect- Van Gough sequences
Worst Aspect- The movie’s lack of creativity