Joseph: King of Dreams is 2000 DreamWorks movie that have the distinction of being the first and only direct-to-video release from DreamWorks Animation. It was meant as a companion piece to the Prince of Egypt. As direct to video movie the quality was much lower but just because the songs and animation are not as good as theatrical release it doesn’t mean the movie can’t be good, I mean it seemed like the crew working on it tried but is it good? Not really.
The story is Joseph is a miracle baby as he was born from a baron lady. His father treats him special which makes his half-brothers all butt-hurt. Joseph then starts getting prophetic dreams, one about the ram getting killed and another that says he will be elated above his brothers. His big brothers don’t like that dream one little bit and sell him as slave which is proper reaction to their problem.
Joseph is brought to Egypt where he works as slave in the some dignitary’s house. He does well and meets the niece of his master, Asenath. He gets arrested when he doesn’t let his master’s wife have her way with him and he gets accused of trying to rape the wife.
In jail Joseph interprets the dreams of two prisoners, one’s dreams say he will be released and the other tells him that he will be executed. While Joseph is in prison, Asenath sneaks him food. Joseph while mad that god seems have turned away from him tries to remain positive.
After a while, the Pharaoh summons Joseph to him as Pharaoh has been having a dream that his priests can’t interpret. Joseph tells him that Egypt will enjoy prosperity but then a famine will come that could destroy Egypt. Joseph tells him that they should conserve grain while there is plenty and during the famine they will ration it back to the people. Joseph is the made a minster and given the name Zaphnath-Paaneah. Joseph’s plan works and he marries Asenath and have kids.
During the famine, Joseph sees his brothers asking for grain which the are willing to buy. Joseph is mad at them that they should ask for food but they say they have families to feed including a younger brother. Joseph thinks they are lying and imprisons one of his brothers and demands they bring their younger brother to him. They bring Joseph’s younger brother Benjamin. Joseph invites them to dine with his and then plants a golden chalice in Benjamin grain. Joseph’s plan to expose his brothers a selfish cheats back fires when they offer themselves to save Benjamin as this father couldn’t take the disappearance of another son. The eldest brother admits to selling Joseph and Joseph reveal himself to his brothers and invites them and their families to live in Egypt. Joseph then reunites with his father. Happy ending.
There are a number of reasons I disliked this movie but the main reason is I really didn’t like Joseph as character. He is kind of perfect. The whole opening number is about how great he is and while he does suffer I don’t really think he grows as character. Even his suffering isn’t that bad, yeah he sold as a slave but he get’s nice digs. Yeah he is put in jail but he plants a tree and then he gets a really sweet position. His brothers were justified in being jealous of him, selling him was a dick move but up until that point Joseph was the favorite of his father.
This type of character may work in the Bible, though to be honest I have never read this story, but for a movie it’s kind of hard to get on his side. Prior to being arrested, he was supposed to be put to death, my first reaction was “yay”, it not a good thing if the audience doesn’t care for the titular character of a children’s animated movie.
The rest of the characters are bland. I know the brothers have names but really why bother, they don’t have individuals characterizations, they are a group, but they have more character growth than Joseph does. Asenath is nice and pretty a.k.a generic. Joseph’s father is misguided idealizing Joseph but I suppose it was God’s will so he could save Egypt. Joseph’s mother is nice. That is it. There are other characters but they’re generic too.
Speaking of characters another reason I dislike this movie is the character design, or rather the lack of it. The characters’ looks are all bland to the extreme. Really can you tell any one who isn’t Joseph apart oh wait I take that back because Benjamin looks exactly like him, though I suppose that is point since family and such. But everything is so generic and dull looking.
The Animation is also bad. It looks so old. If you told me this movie made in 1992 I would believe it. Though oddly enough this movie gets praised on its animation mainly for the Van Gogh art design of Joseph’s dreams. I don’t want to like an elitist snob over here but impressionism is dream-like already, it’s not inspired choice for a dream in a movie. And consider this, Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams (beautiful movie) had a Van Gogh dream segment. I found the impressionism jarring against the ancient world style. They should made his dreams in the style of his coat, with cool moving gradients and golden tones. They could have done more. I will say that while I don’t like the idea of Van Gogh painting as the dreamscape, I will say the execution was fine, it looked nice. As far as the dreams go, I like the idea of Pharaoh dreams, it looked like something and Pharaoh could dream up based on the surroundings and not art movement from thousands years in the future.
This movie had songs. Were they good? Nope, they were annoying.
Joseph: King of Dreams is full of dull songs, dull colors, dull characters. So it’s pretty dull all round, kudos.Follow thehunchblog