Review: The Ten Commandments – The Ten Commandments (2007)

The Ten Commandments – The Ten Commandments (2007)

Directed by: Bill Boyce, John Stronach | 88 minutes | animation, family | Original voice cast: Ben Kingsley, Christian Slater, Alfred Molina, Elliott Gould, Kathleen Barr, Jeremy Birchell, Trevor Devall, Lorrie Dungey, Christopher Gaze, Nico Ghisi, Bruce Hopkins, Jane Mortifee, Colin Murdock, Michelle O’Brian, Billy Squire, Kitanou St. Germain, John Stronach, Lee Tockar, Eryn Wilson, Mark Wright | Dutch voice cast: Arie Boomsma, Orlando Bottenblij, Job Redelaar, Ruben Lursen, Hymke de Vries, Stephan Holwarda

Moderate, somewhat flat introduction to Biblical history, but mainly intended for the smallest viewers. Unfortunately, the quality of the animation falls far short of the talented voice cast. The stories from Exodus, the second book of the Bible, are grand and compelling and lend themselves perfectly to a cinematic version. Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 version of the same name starring Charlton Heston as Moses and Yul Brenner as Ramses is a classic, and several other films have been made, both before and after, about the life of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt. Last but not least the animated film ‘The Prince of Egypt’ from 1998, with Val Kilmer as Moses and Ralph Fiennes as Ramses.

In this version it is Christian Slater who provides the voice of Moses and Alfred Molina who takes on the role of Ramses. Complemented by Ben Kingsley as the narrator and Elliott Gould as the voice of God, it is a number of renowned actors who take on the main roles. And they deliver great performance too, Slater leading the way. It is interesting to hear Gould, a character actor with a very recognizable voice and way of speaking, as the voice of God. He’s doing a great job.

As mentioned, the animation leaves a lot to be desired. Did the makers spend so much budget to contract prominent actors that they were left with too little for convincing drawings? Even impressive and monumental scenes, such as the burning bush and the splitting of the Red Sea (or Reed Sea) are barely noticeable, despite the compelling and dramatic music. The characters lack a spark of life in their eyes and the faces don’t move in a natural way at all. Clothing is often a shapeless bag, without the layers and folds that make animated figures realistic figures. Occasionally the images seem to come from a computer game that has long since become obsolete and you can’t really keep up with that anymore. And that is a major shortcoming, because it often barely brings the film to life.

Another downside is that the narration and the dialogues are so simplified that slightly older children and certainly adults will quickly become bored or annoyed. Every action is explained, so that the makers at least know for sure that everyone has understood what they mean. As a result, the actors receive very little challenging material to work with and their efforts are therefore somewhat lacking. It is obvious that the mediocre animation and dialogues distract greatly from the inspiring message. But especially small and not too critical children, who also seem to have been the primary target group, will undoubtedly enjoy watching it.

Comments are closed.