Ryan H. wrote:
: What new territory is left that could make such a film interesting?
I must confess, when I think of the differences between now and then, I think of all the things that a new movie would NOT be, rather than what it WOULD be. A new movie would NOT have a triumphalist subtext that was basically Christian, or American, for example (the 1956 film's final scene includes coded references
to the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell, and DeMille himself introduces the film by contrasting God-fearing American freedom with Soviet socialist tyranny).
I'm not really sure how you can get all 300
with this material, since there isn't a whole lot of warfare -- not unless you're going to feature the Israelites' occasional clashes with the Amalekites or with Og the gigantic king of Bashan or something. But all those battles come AFTER the crossing of the Red Sea, which is usually treated as the climax in cinematic versions of this story. (Or they could always expand on Moses' conquest of Ethiopia, which, on Josephus's chronology, happened when Moses was still a prince of Egypt.)
One development in recent years -- seen in The Prince of Egypt
and the recent TV version of The Ten Commandments
, if I'm not mistaken -- has been the emphasis on Moses and the Pharaoh as brothers who used to be close but have since been torn apart by destiny. This differs in a big way from DeMille's version of the story, where Moses and Rameses were always rivals for the throne (and the princess), and then Rameses ended up getting it (and her) and Moses got something better. We now have more sympathy, as it were, for the Pharaoh, the outsider, the unbeliever; instead of cheering his comeuppance, we see him more as a tragic figure.
The Prince of Egypt
happened to come out around the same time as American History X
, and I remember telling people at the time that both films were basically about brothers raised by a racist, one of whom spends time away from the family and comes to a more enlightened position on these issues while the other brother stays behind and becomes even more deeply entrenched in the prejudice of their ancestors. (Both films also featured a high-ranking Star Trek
veteran: Patrick Stewart in The Prince of Egypt
, Avery Brooks in American History X
. But I digress.) So there was, if you like, something "in the air" back then, some way of approaching race relations and family relations, that got incorporated into The Prince of Egypt
It could be interesting to see what is "in the air" NOWadays, and how it gets incorporated into this new film.