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In Canaan, Jacob’s simply thrilled
To have his prayers at last fulfilled.
For barren Rachel’s borne a son,
A miracle to everyone.
As Joseph grows and sings in key,
He’s Jacob’s favorite, plain to see.
His ten half-brothers grow quite tired
Of the way he is admired.
He wears a coat of many hues
And flaunts his standing, in their views.
They’re also irked that it now seems
Their brother has prophetic dreams.
At last, they say they’ve had enough
And make a move that’s not a bluff.
They trap their brother in a cave
And sell him as a meager slave.
To Egypt, Joseph’s taken far
And sold again to Potiphar.
Through labor, he starts earning praise
And all his perseverance pays.
Now high within his master’s house,
He’s slandered by his master’s spouse
And thrown in jail in utter gloom,
A dark and rat-infested tomb.
He solves some fellow inmates’ dreams,
Interpreting their common themes.
He’s left alone for two years till
He comes to terms with his God’s will.
When Pharaoh has a dream as well,
He calls on Joseph from his cell.
His dream predicts some years of famine,
Spread from Egypt unto Ammon.
Pharaoh is indeed impressed,
And Joseph soon is heaven blessed.
As Pharaoh’s second-in-command,
He helps prepare the entire land.
When famine withers shoots and seeds,
All Egypt has the food it needs.
When Joseph’s brothers come for food,
He acts conspicuously rude.
He quickly locks up Simeon
Till they bring brother Benjamin.
They come back with his newest brother,
Born of Rachel, his dead mother.
A trick gets them at last to leak
Their crime, which they’ve been loath to speak.
Then Joseph says he’s their estranged
Half-brother, when he’s sure they’ve changed.
They beg forgiveness, which he gives,
And he is glad his father lives.
Then Jacob and his family
Move down to Egypt joyously.

Joseph: King of Dreams is a prequel to DreamWorks Animation’s The Prince of Egypt but skipped theaters and was released directly to video, the only animated DreamWorks film to do so. Though the story of Joseph had been done as a musical before with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s pretty good adaptation Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, this animated film is much closer to the spirit of the Biblical story, as the opening disclaimer tries to convey. Some creative license was taken, such as removing Leah from the picture to avoid the depiction of Jacob having two concurrent wives, but Joseph: King of Dreams is a wonderful introduction to the Biblical story for all young viewers.

The animation and music are all right but do not measure up to the masterpiece that DreamWorks pulled off with Prince of Egypt, and I bet the filmmakers knew that; hence, its direct-to-video status. Many of the songs are catchy while you hear them but aren’t as memorable as they try to be, but the best ones are the opener “Miracle Child” and “Better Than I,” a very Christian song beautifully recounting Joseph’s memories while in captivity (though, can a tree really grow that much in two years?). While the voice acting was never advertised much upon release, it does feature Ben Affleck as Joseph, Mark Hamill as Judah, and Richard Herd as Jacob, among various other known and obscure voice actors.

It’s always enjoyable to see a well-produced adaptation of a Bible story since so many are obviously low-budget affairs. At the same time, there’s a danger of departing too far from the source material in order to build characters or tension (a la the recent Noah); Joseph: King of Dreams is an admirable Biblical movie that remains faithful to the text, telling a timeless story for all ages and audiences.

Best line: (lyrics in the song speaking of God while Joseph is imprisoned) “You know better than I.”

Artistry: 6
Characters/Actors: 5
Entertainment: 7
Visual Effects: 5
Originality: 5
Watchability: 7
TOTAL: 35 out of 60

Next: #260 – Galaxy Quest

© 2014 S. G. Liput