Many people do not realize that this was being worked on or at least conceived while Dream Works were making The Prince of Egypt. DreamWorks had a pretty big hit on their hands with The Prince of Egypt and Joseph: King of Dreams is actually a prequel to that movie.
The best thing that the movie has going for it is the incredible visuals. At the time this was released, it had to be one of the best looking straight to DVD/home video releases ever made. It looks a hell of a lot better than the various Disney sequels that were released straight to the home that is for sure.
In Egypt, Joseph is bought by Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guards ("Marketplace"), and gradually becomes his most trusted attendant, as well as befriending his beautiful niece Asenath ("Whatever Road's at Your Feet"). However, Potiphar's wife, Zuleika, attempts to seduce Joseph, who refuses her advances. Infuriated, Zuleika falsely accuses Joseph of making advances on her. Potiphar nearly has him executed, but Zuleika, feeling guilty, stops him. Though Potiphar realizes that Joseph is innocent of the crimes, he reluctantly has him thrown in prison to preserve his reputation. Joseph finds himself imprisoned alongside the Pharaoh's cupbearer and his baker and interprets their dreams, which reveal that one will be put to death and the other will return to his position at the palace. Sure enough, the baker is executed and the cupbearer is returned to his job. The cupbearer, however, forgets his promise to tell the Pharaoh about Joseph, leaving him to languish in jail.
Executive Producer Penny Finkelman Cox and DreamWorks employee Kelly Sooter noted the challenge in telling a Bible story faithfully yet still making it interesting and marketable: "we had to take powerful themes and tell them in a way that's compelling and accessible for all ages". They also noted that though it was destined to be a direct-to-video project from the beginning, "the quality of the animation does not suffer ... Our approach to the movie was to develop it with the same quality and storytelling that we did with [The] Prince of Egypt." Creatives involved also noted that "one of the most challenging parts of the movie was creating Joseph's dream sequences, which look like a Van Gogh painting in motion". Nassos Vakalis, who helped storyboard and animate the film, said "I had to travel a lot to Canada to see work done in a few studios that were subcontracting part of the movie". Composer Daniel Pelfrey explained, "I must say the writers and directors did a great job staying true to the story and bringing it into a presentation for a contemporary audience."
DecentFilmsGuide gave the movie a B for Overall Recommendability and 3/4 stars for Artistic/Entertainment Value, writing "Artistically, the best thing about Joseph: King of Dreams is the visionary animation work in the dream sequences ... I caught my breath at the first glimpse of these dreams, which look like living, flowing Van Goghs". However it wrote "Joseph: King of Dreams is not remotely in the same class as The Prince of Egypt. [It] is much more a children's movie". It said the songs "while cheerful and uplifting, are generally unmemorable", and described the animation as "fine but not wonderful". It noted that "once one stops making unfair comparisons to a theatrical film made on a much bigger budget, Joseph: King of Dreams is very much worthwhile on its own more modest terms". Nevertheless, the review complimented the "ominous tune' Marketplace, and said "In one small way, Joseph: King of Dreams even outshines the earlier film: The spirituality of its signature song, You Know Better Than I, is much more profound than anything in the more mainstream "There Can Be Miracles". DVD Verdict wrote "Joseph: King of Dreams will shatter any expectations you may have about direct-to-video animated features. This is no halfhearted attempt to cash in on the success of The Prince of Egypt, but is instead a fully realized and carefully crafted story of its own. This film could easily have been released theatrically, although its running time is maybe just a bit short for that", praising its animation, music, and storytelling. PluggedIn wrote "while not as eye-popping as Prince of Egypt, [the film] is impressive for a direct-to-video title. Artfully executed dream sequences. Uplifting songs. It also takes fewer liberties than Prince of Egypt did". Lakeland Ledger said "At its best, the story communicated the sense of desperation and yearning that make up the tale and provides a sense of the emotions that underscore the story". Jan Crain Rudeen of Star-News wrote "As with Prince of Egypt, the best part of Joseph for me was the discussion it sparked afterward with my kids".
As you know I have a love for movie soundtracks. In fact looking at my blog I have a love for music full stop! So today I shall be talking about my favourite tracks on the Joseph: King of Dreams soundtrack! This post is part two to a post I did last week on the glorious melanin in the movie.
In Egypt, Joseph is made the servant of the wealthy Egyptian Potiphar, the pharoh's captain of the guard. He quickly proves himself an asset to his master and the two become less master and slave and more as friends. However, Pother's adulteress wife, Zuleika takes a liking to Joseph. One night, she tries unsuccessfully to seduce Joseph and grabs him, tearing his clothes as he flees in fear. Out of malice, she tells Potiphar, that Joseph attempted to rape her. Angrily, Potiphar orders Joseph killed, but when his wife intervenes, he realizes that Joseph is not guilty of his wife's accusations and he reluctantly has Joseph thrown into prison. While imprisoned, Joseph shows his gift by interpreting the dreams of the royal butler and baker, who are also prisoners. He accurately predicts that the butler will be restored to his position at the palace in three days, and that the baker will be put to death. Joseph sees that the butler will tell pharaoh about his gift of interpret and urges the butler to do so, but the butler forgets once he is released. 2b1af7f3a8