A far cry from the 1956 version of the same film, and then done by live actors including such greats as Charlton Heston as Moses and Yul Brynner as Ramses, "The Ten Commandments" in its animated splendor oozed onto a handful of screens this past week.
Take note, of course, that this is indeed a Bible story film, so if you've heard any flavor of the whole Moses story, there's few spoilers in this anywhere.
The Pharaoh is a nervous guy, outnumbered by his Hebrew slaves; he orders them to be worked harder, but that doesn't break their spirits, so he has all the newborn male babies killed. Moses parents aren't keen on a dead baby, so they put him in a basket and send him down the river, where the Pharaoh's daughter adopts and raises him as her own; Moses' playmate is Ramses, the Pharaoh's son. As a teen, Ramses doesn't like Moses much, and Moses is exiled from town after Moses comes to the aid of a slave being beaten, and the beater is killed.
They all grow up, Ramses is now Pharaoh, God speaks to Moses, telling him to get the Hebrews from Egypt into the promised land. Ramses says no, the ten plagues come, and Ramses gives in only when his son is killed (as God's spirit kills all the first-born Egyptian sons). Moses leads the people from Egypt, ditches Ramses and his army at the parting of the Red Sea, and so on and so forth.
Good notion, less-than-stellar execution. The animation was simultaneously colorful and PhotoShop-esque, so it had an eerie quality that at times "quality" was as hazy as the pre-dawn, orange-red gradient colored skies.
Aside from the voice talent for the leading voices, the rest of the crew list reads like the phone book -- a number of folks whom you've never met, likely never will, and lack any desire to call just to chat.
While I like the story as a story, the film bored me nearly to tears. It was fortunate that I had the 8-year-old along for the ride, and she's into all things Biblical, so she enjoyed the film. (She wasn't so keen on Moses not living forever, but I guess she's not gotten to that part in her picture-book Bible.) He frees the slaves, leads them along, hands them these 10 rules to live by, and that's that.
In retrospect, it's no small wonder this is only showing in one theatre in a 75 mile radius, and even then only once a day... and we were just two of five in the theatre. Alas, you can't win 'em all...