Quite possibly the most astonishing achievement in animation since Beautyand the Beast (and surpassing same), The Prince of Egypt is a lovinglycrafted, engaging piece of cinema. The main characters are well-realized,three-dimensional characters. The focus of the film is the conflict betweenRamses and his adopted brother, Moses, set against the backdrop of the epicevents in the book of Exodus. The result is a religious tale that treatsthe oft-ignored human element. Instead of merely relating the tale as itis, the story asks "how would a person *feel* if God appeared to them andtold them to do this? How would others react?" The script is light-yearsbeyond any past biblical epic.The animation style owes a small debt to Disney's house style, but goesabove and beyond in the details in character design (the Hebrews andEgyptians and Midians are clearly of different ethnic backgrounds, and nocharacter suffers from the doe-eyed Disney Belle syndrome). ComputerGenerated Imagery blends -- for the first time in an animated film --seamlessly with traditional cel animation. The film also takes some fairlyaudacious risks; Moses has a dream sequence in stiffly animatedhieroglyphics, completely switching animation styles for about five minutes,which I believe is completely unprecedented in animation. There are momentswhen the visual effects made me forget to breathe. If you blink during theparting of the red sea, you'll regret it. There is, I believe I can safelysay, not a second of the film that does not offer some sort of visualdelight -- from the deep symbolism of the hieroglyphics to the dizzyingchariot race in the opening sequence.The music has been touted by some critics as the film's weak link; such isdefinitely not the case. Stephen Schwartz' songs combine elements ofBroadway-esque show tunes with native Hebrew and Egyptian music. The songsare powerful and moving, sometimes no more than one verse in length,sometimes full-blown seven-minute extravaganzas like "Let My People Go."The one weaker song, surprisingly, is the theme "When You Believe." Evenfreed from Mariah Carey/Whitney Houston R&B cheese as it is in the movie,it's a watery definition of faith at best. Still, the scene in which ittakes place is powerful and the song is beautifully performed.If the film has a weak link, it might be the voice casting,Val Kilmer andPatrick Stewart in particular. The two voices are distinctive of thegentleman who possess them, and thus are distracting in this format. Butsuch is a minor quibble, and should not dissuade anyone from seeing thegreatest animated story ever told.