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To think 'Prince of Egypt' is just a bit sickening and not something I'd want my children to watch?

(89 Posts)
DribbleWiper Mon 06-May-13 14:45:58

Sorry, but even (and especially) if you believe it really happened, the slaughter of Egypt's first-born is just horrible and not a fit subject for a children's cartoon.

The only lesson I can see being taught here is that it's okay for your enemy's innocent children to be killed so long as it benefits you and your own nation/people.

AIBU to think that there is no way this would have been deemed acceptable to be included in a children's cartoon if it weren't a biblical story?

WillowJoinInOurCrufae Tue 07-May-13 19:30:52

I used to use it with my Year 7s when we studied Judaism. Personally I think it is a great film when it comes to telling the story of the Exodus. I find the final plague scene very emotional and moving. I think Dreamworks tackled a difficult subject matter very well.

(and 'There can be miracles' makes me cry everytime)

infamouspoo Tue 07-May-13 18:55:08

How old are your kids OP? I dont think children need as much cotton wool as people think to be honest.

jamdonut Tue 07-May-13 18:43:21

But is it a "children's film" anyway? Just because it is animation doesn't make it so.

It is a "PG",so therefore by definition,up to you as a parent to decide. Obviously,OP you have decided it is not right. Your choice. As it was my choice to let my kids watch it several years ago.

NiceTabard Tue 07-May-13 17:33:06

Haven't seen the film but if it's the story from the bible then loads of kids will have learnt it anyway along with a whole other bunch of gory, awful stuff.

Many religions have loads of gore in their stories.

Not sure what the problem is.

JazzDalek Tue 07-May-13 17:11:00

*Children don't tend to take them personally and generally just take stories as they come. Unfortunately, you can't shield children from all the bad stuff. Stories are the best way for children to teach the bad things in life without them being directly involved.

It's the adults I think that understand the true horror of them. DS hasn't seen Prince of Egypt but I suspect I'd be the one who'd be more affected by the scene.*

Broadly agree with this.

I see what you mean OP but after watching the clip, I don't think this is presented "uncritically" at all. I think the way the scene is depicted is morally ambiguous, and if anything, could inspire some good debate and critical thinking in children of six or seven upwards.

I actually remember, as an atheist child in a CofE primary school, listening to this story, told by the friendly visiting vicar grin and finding the whole business rather unsettling and confusing. All of the hideous plagues inflicted on innocent Egyptians just because of their ruler's decisions. It did make me think God wasn't such a virtuous character (and to me they were all characters - the Bible was just a storybook to me).

Bogeyface Tue 07-May-13 17:09:42

I do think that some people assume that animation = for children when this is clearly not always the case.

The Simpsons can be ok for kids but some episodes are completely unsuitable (think of any episode where Marge and Homer are getting jiggy hmm) and I am shocked that they are shown at 6pm. Family Guy, American Dad, South Park etc are all animation and yet wholly unsuitable for kids. If you are just going let your child watch something on the basis that it is animated without checking its content first then I have limited sympathy tbh.

MrsMelons Tue 07-May-13 16:50:05

I cannot see anything wrong with it at all, my 2 year old DS loved the film and has continued to watch it as he has got older, he was so interested in the bible stories he asked for a bible after that and enjoys reading it (I am not religious BTW). It is not necessarily a 'kids' film and I think it is well made.

At the end of the day you are able to decide what your children do and don't watch anyway so it doesn't really matter. The story is well known so it is obvious what the content will be.

DS was much more upset after watching Bambi and ET TBH.

EldritchCleavage Tue 07-May-13 16:08:26

I'm surprised you're surprised, really.

The Bible (OT) is chock-full of God-sanctioned genocide and hideous 'You will respect my authority' type acts. The Bible as tribal history-certain people are 'othered' and punished in ways that would be regarded as truly horrific in any other literary context.

It's part of the problem of monotheism: if the one God is all-powerful, he cannot also be purely merciful and loving, because that would fail to explain satisfactorily all the awful things that happen in the world.

Bogeyface Tue 07-May-13 15:41:54

"Yes, yes you are"

Why ask? hmm

DribbleWiper Mon 06-May-13 21:23:20

jamdonut I'm not sure the way you've written it out makes the whole thing any less unpleasant - even more repulsive, if anything. Also, it doesn't make sense - if a deity were omnipotent, he/she could just transport his people (although why he has so few, when he's apparently so powerful, is another issue) out of Egypt? The story is unnecessarily nasty, because it's about revenge being achieved against an oppressor.

I still maintain that if this weren't a biblical story, it wouldn't be considered an appropriate subject for a children's film. Change the names and imagine it being offered to a producer - it would be considered horrific.

jamdonut Mon 06-May-13 21:04:33

Sorry for repeating already discussed stuff...sometimes its hard to read an entire thread.blush

But wasn't "god" sending the Angel of Death as a sign of his power,because Pharoah was setting himself up as a god. This was the final act out of others which were dismissed because "Anyone could do it" ie turning Moses' staff into a snake,the plague of locusts and frogs (?) and the rivers of blood? And that no-one,even Pharoah,was exempt from it,which showed how mighty he was? And the only way round it was to put the mark in blood on the door. Only people who truly believed would do that,and therefore escape the Angel's visit.
Also, it wasn't just children ,it was ALL first born sons - so, young and old.

I don't believe there is anything wrong with this being explained to children in its context.

I am not a "believer" (though I went to church as a child),and my children have Prince of Egypt and the "Joseph" (not Andrew Lloyd Webber!) DVD (also by Dreamworks,(I think) and very similar). I let them make their own minds up about it.

DribbleWiper Mon 06-May-13 20:59:57

Fine boy, Boob!

SirBoobAlot Mon 06-May-13 20:57:14

Dribble he probably could wink He tutted at "Let's Play" recently because "Those aren't REAL hieroglyphs, Mummy!".

Bobyan Mon 06-May-13 20:47:57

Yep the idea of hearing Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey together is sickening.

DribbleWiper Mon 06-May-13 20:37:16

Although the point loads of people made about the OT god not being "good" as such is noted and agreed with.

DribbleWiper Mon 06-May-13 20:36:29

SirBoobALot Thoroughly approve! Or let him watch it and critique it for errors.

jamdonut Yeah, we discussed this upthread. The point is WHO is committing the act of infanticide and their role in the context of the film, i.e. supposed "good" deity committing horrific act and it going without comment, therefore tacitly approved. The point isn't that children need to be kept away from the nasty bits of fiction or history.

DribbleWiper Mon 06-May-13 20:34:04

BMW6 Trying not to get into a religious debate, because that wasn't the point of my post, but you're not actually surprised that the OT and the NT aren't consistent, are you? The 'vengeful' version of god wouldn't have taken off in 1st century Rome nearly so quickly... v. 2.0 had to be much more cuddly...

Agreed, caroldecker, but I doubt the rigorous debate we'd suggest would follow.

jamdonut Mon 06-May-13 20:33:19

But most religious stories involve an element of killing or death...even the Christmas story has Herod killing new born baby boys,when he finds out the Wise Men are off to find the Messiah!

I can remember acting in a class play to the rest of the school about the story of Moses. Nobody seemed to worry about it then.

I personally don't have a problem with it. So long as you, or the person who showed it to them, explained what was happening and the reasons for it,there shouldn't be anything to worry about.

Religion and History ARE brutal. Children usually enjoy that!

SirBoobAlot Mon 06-May-13 20:30:50

DS won't be watching it because it's historically inaccurate. There is no evidence of any of these events taking place, and the Egyptian's kept some of the most precise records of ancient times.

He's already pretty on the ball with his knowledge, I'm not going to screw it up with something so totally far from the truth.

That said, some of the music is lovely.

caroldecker Mon 06-May-13 20:09:12

If you take children to church then they ought to be made to watch this and the other excellent bible stories about what a great God they are worshipping

CSIJanner Mon 06-May-13 18:45:32

^Unfortunately, stuff from the OT is often (as you seem to think) treated as accurate and educational.^

Erm, not in my Catholic school it wasn't. OT are stories with some element of a historical event in them to convey the religious truth/lesson in them.

BMW6 Mon 06-May-13 18:35:08

I don't understand your outrage either OP - Dreamworks didn't write this story - it is from the Bible, so whether you believe it really happened or nor is down to one's own belief.
I've seen it, and IMO the killing of the Egyptians PFB is handled subtly, presumably to meet censorship rules.
I really don't think children would be unduly upset by that scene. Certainly no more than seeing starving children on TV just about every commercial break during the day........

As an afterthought, has it struck anyone else that the nature of God changes from the Old Testament (God of Vengeance) to the New Testament (God Is Love). Surely God is unchanging (if he exists)?

Flobbadobs Mon 06-May-13 18:22:43

Many of us studied the biblical stories at school and church, I remember performing a (godawful) musical about Moses and the flight from Egypt in Primary school. I was Moses grin
It was presented as fact to me at church along with the slaughter of the innocents, Pauls conversion which isn't exactly a pleasant read and a passage on how to be a good wife (the book of Proverbs I think).
It's about as gruesome and unpleasant as The little matchgirl (she freezes to death surrounded by the matches she struck to keep warm), the original Red Riding Hood and the ending of Snow White where the evil stepmother dances herself to death wearing red hot shoes.
It's also about as realistic...
IMO the Brother Grimm stories are far more likely to cause nightmares than the Prince of Egypt!
YANBU to not want your children to watch it, but it could start an interesting conversation about belief maybe?

gordyslovesheep Mon 06-May-13 18:07:51

it's a story - not one you have been forced at gun point to show your children so I just don't get the moral outrage!

DribbleWiper Mon 06-May-13 17:45:12

Oh, so that's okay, then, gordy... hmm

I do like the pun, though. grin

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