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Comments about the soundtrack for The Prince of Egypt (Hans Zimmer)

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Filmtracks Sponsored Donated Review #2
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• Posted by: Cap Stewart   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Tuesday, March 25, 2008, at 7:50 a.m.
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(The following donated review by Cap Stewart was moved by Filmtracks to this comment section in March, 2008)

The Prince of Egypt: Collector's Edition: (Hans Zimmer/Various) One of the results of DreamWorks' partnership with Wal-Mart on the promotion of the film The Prince of Egypt was a Wal-Mart movie package that contained, among other things, a collector's edition CD. This album combined music from the other three soundtrack releases (the Nashville, Inspirational, and score releases) with two previously-unreleased tracks from Hans Zimmer's score. At first, the only way to get this CD was topurchase the package with all the extra goodies. Fortunately, Wal-Mart later began selling the CD's independently from the other merchandise for an extremely low price, and copies of the CD started springing up at online auction sites. However this collector's item is obtained, Zimmer's two tracks alone, out of six total, make it well worth the price.

The first track, It Is Only Beginning, accompanies the scene where the water is turned into blood. It begins with an instrumental variation of When You Believe, then switches to dramatic undertones before building in intensity with Zimmer's minor-key Egyptian theme. This short bout of action music is soon replaced by the Burning Bush theme and them some more dramatic undertones. While this track is far from awful, one might wonder why another cue wasn't chosen instead of this one, as it basically just retreads previously-released cues - ones that can be found on the original score release.

Skipping the four tracks sandwiched in between the two score tracks, we come to the true gem of this CD: Chariot Race. This track is divided into two parts. The first three minutes consist of music that accompanies the adventurous chariot race scene, in which Zimmer uses a theme that expertly blends action and playfulness. The music grows more serious near the end with the Egyptian theme, when Moses and Rameses flee from the falling nose of a nearby Sphinx, then picks up with one more expression of the rousing chariot race theme. The last three-and-a-half minutes take place after the Red Sea has just swallowed the entire Egyptian army. The music begins solemnly, accompanied by both a lone, mournful trumpet and soft female vocals. Then the choir erupts jubilantly for a long moment before being succeeded by a subdued dramatic segment, as Moses realizes that his people are free. This is soon followed by an instrumental rendition of the Hebrew children's part of When You Believe - a triumphant rejoicing complete with tambourines. The last minute of the track gives us a wonderful buildup to the grand finale, which is a truly marvelous climax of raw emotional power. Curiously enough, this finale differs from the one used in the film. (The film version replaces the instrumental version of When You Believe with a choir actually singing the Hebrew words from the song. Also, the grand finale includes an instrumental version of Deliver Us instead of Zimmer's two main themes used in the finale on the CD.)

Of course, there are still several unreleased cues from the movie, including the one that accompanies the ingenious hieroglyphics nightmare sequence. Nevertheless, this album provides some of the most important cues that were previously unavailable. If you're a fan of Zimmer's The Prince of Egypt score, this CD is a must-have. *****

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