Joseph: King of Dreams (DVD, 2000) Reviews
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Joseph: King of Dreams (DVD, 2000)

32 ratings (12 Epinions reviews)
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Not a Dream, Not a Nightmare of an animated movie...

Jun 16, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:It's nice enough, technically brilliant...

Cons:... forgettable songs, weakish storyline, just overall nothing special

The Bottom Line: Joseph: King of Dreams is a nice enough animated movie but don't expect it to be as good as Prince of Egypt by any means.

Since this came from the same team that brought us the brilliant Prince of Egypt, I had high hopes of Joseph: King of Dreams. Based loosely on the biblical story of Jacob’s son Joseph, who had the God-given gift of being able to interpret dreams, became unpopular with his brothers because of his father’s favouritism and wash shipped off to Egypt as a slave but rose to become second in the land only to Pharaoh, this animated movie makes a good stab at bringing the account to life but falls down in some aspects. Though it was released after Prince of Egypt, it follows an earlier timeline – the Israelites coming into Egypt as friends, before a new Pharaoh arose and made slaves of them, which is where Prince of Egypt begins.

The similarities between this and the earlier Prince of Egypt (which told the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt) are easily seen – first, a technical brilliance that is sometimes so realistic that you almost forget that you’re watching an animation not a life-action film, and secondly a basic adherence to the scriptural account with a number of artistic liberties taken, though mainly in areas that are fairly well open to interpretation as they’re not mentioned in the Bible in any great detail. The main liberty taken here is that Potifar (whose wife tried to seduce Joseph and, when rejected, claimed that he had tried to rape her) realises that Joseph is innocent and feels great guilt over Joseph’s subsequently being thrown into a bleak prison, and upon his release becomes great friends with him. Perhaps unlikely, but a possibility that cannot be disproved. Anyway, at the end of the day it’s a cartoon, and differences with the biblical text can be forgiven quite easily, and none of the poetic licence taken here is likely to offend anyone. (If you’re likely to be offended by the slightest straying from scripture then I’d advise you stay away from this, but then you’d probably better stay away from any film ever made based on biblical events!)

Where King of Dreams falls down in relation to its illustrious forebear is that overall the storyline is a little weak, and the songs aren’t very memorable. Also the surreal visualisation of the dreams themselves seems a little bizarre, owing more than a little to the nightmarish visions created by artist Edward Munch. The voice acting was pretty much up to scratch I guess, nothing special but not too bad. The main problem that I have with Ben Afleck’s voice acting is… that it was done by Ben Affleck, I just can’t stand him! But I certainly can’t say he did a bad job and there was plenty of emotion in his voice. The way Joseph was portrayed at first certainly made it easy to understand why his brothers came to hate him, but the scene where they redeemed themselves just didn’t carry as much emotional power as it should have. (Vaguely interesting side-note – Mark Hamill voiced Judah.)

Overall this certainly isn’t a bad animated movie, and perhaps suffers unduly from the unavoidable comparisons with King of Egypt. I feel that 3 stars is a fair rating though, and it’s nice enough so I’ll give it a “Recommended” as well.

DVD extras include the storyboard presentation (good if you’re interested in how they make these things, but nothing special), er… sing-alongs (not really my idea of fun to be honest!), the theatrical trailer, and you also get a 4-page booklet with production notes (a short but relatively interesting read). The soundtrack is available on the DVD in Dobly 5.1 in English, French, and Spanish, and subtitle tracks are available in English deaf and hard of hearing. Menus available in English, French, and Spanish. The whole thing is presented in anamorphic 16:9 ration, and the rating is U (Universal) in the UK / unrated in the USA.

Click here to see my all-time favourite animated movies, including Prince of Egypt (but not, needless to say, King of Dreams! :-D)

Thanks for reading,


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