One of my top animated films of all-time (tied with Beauty and the Beast and the first ten minutes of Up) is the 1998 classic The Prince of Egypt. A stellar script and voice cast help propel a film that, despite primarily playing to an audience of young children, doesn’t shy away from complexity and darkness, both of which are inherent in biblical stories such as that of Moses and the Jews’ escape from slavery in Egypt. Yes, it obviously could have further explored the moral ramifications of the actions of every party involved in the story; but for a kids’ movie, it really doesn’t skimp on the darker aspects and the questions of the story of Exodus.
The music in the film is also stuff of legend–the songs are composed by Stephen Schwartz (Broadway’s Wicked and Godspell), and the score comes from the mind of an early Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight, Inception, Pirates of the Caribbean)–and, having seen the film countless times as a child, certainly influenced my own taste.
I rediscovered the movie for free on YouTube, and watched it again. Sticking around for the end credits like the loser film major that I am, I heard Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey‘s duet of the main theme from the film, a gorgeous, epic, dynamic Schwartz composition entitled “When You Believe”. It was better than I remembered it.
This duet should be the stuff of legend. Two of the greatest voices of all-time in an epic duet back in 1998, when full orchestras and real instrumentation and no autotune were things that penetrated the culture of pop music (yes, there are some background synths, whatever, they’re in the background). Schwartz’s songwriting is genius, and the vocalists are sincerely stellar, and at the top of their game.
Literally, one of the greatest songs of all-time:
Right click to download.