Joseph, Beloved Son, Rejected Slave, Exalted Ruler
Joseph’s story is told in the context of God’s plan for Israel and the promised coming of the Messiah, powerfully demonstrating God’s sovereign hand in all things.
This vivid and lively animated film does justice to the Biblical story of Joseph. It does use creative license to fill in some gaps with imagined and entirely plausible conversations during the various events in the movie. It features good voice actors, appropriate music (with Egyptian-sounding music for example while in Egypt), and dramatic music, along with strong character development.
The animated movie opens in Egypt, and a Hebrew slave, bare-chested, is seen being whipped by his Egyptian slave master. But the narrative makes it clear that God promised Israel would one day escape from Egyptian bondage, and with great possessions. In setting the stage for Joseph’s story, a scene is also shown with Abraham and Sarah, and Abraham shares the dream he had from the Lord with Sarah. The Lord had spoken to Abraham, “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if indeed you can count them, for so shall your offspring be.” Sarah wonders how this will be possible, since they have never had children during the time they’ve been together as husband and wife. “I do not know,” replies Abraham. “I have no doubt God will fulfill His promise.”
The movie jumps ahead 170 years and Joseph is given a coat of many colors by his father Jacob. After putting it on, Joseph asks, “How do I look?” “You’re my son,” replies Jacob. “You look handsome, just like your father.” They share a chuckle. Joseph had shown his coat to his baby brother, Benjamin, so it is obvious he is pleased with it. Jacob is told that he can never say no to his son, Joseph. Of his many sons, Joseph is obviously his favorite. Jacob tells baby Benjamin that his mother, now deceased (Rachel), would have been so proud of him.
As Joseph approaches his brothers, one of them says, “Here comes Father’s favorite.” It is obvious that envy and jealousy live inside of them. The tension between them all is obvious. Some were napping under the trees and Joseph teases they are old. One brother tells him, “No, that’s what working men do.” This is an example of creative license in which there is no Biblical record of these comments, but they could well have been said.
Another example of the added scenarios includes a brother hitting Joseph with a shepherd’s crook. What is not imagined, is the Biblical account of Joseph being placed in a pit. His brother Reuben did not want harm to come to Joseph so his life is spared but Joseph is sold to the Ishmaelite traders who happen by. Then his coat of many colors is taken, and the blood of an animal is put on it so as to fool Jacob into thinking his son met an untimely death at the hands of an animal. Jacob takes the news hard, falling to his knees and crying.
Joseph winds up in Egypt and one dramatic scene stands out. He is given a cheap robe and he remembers the coat of many colors that was once his, along with his father’s love. However, God gives Joseph favor and he winds up serving Potiphar, an Egyptian leader. However, Potiphar’s wife falsely accuses Joseph of attempting to seduce her, and Joseph is cast into prison. There he meets a baker and butler, banished from Pharaoh’s service. The baker had a dream and Joseph interprets it, letting him know that Pharaoh will kill the baker in three days but the butler will be restored to bearing Pharaoh’s cup. This comes true. The butler is released but fails to tell Pharaoh about the Hebrew man who can interpret dreams.
Later, when Pharaoh has dreams of seven skinny cows eating seven fat cows, and then a dream of seven heads of good grain being consumed by seven heads of thin grain, the butler remembers Joseph, and Pharaoh summons him to interpret his dreams. Joseph does and because of his great spirit of wisdom, and the Lord being with him, Joseph is promoted to become the Prime Minister of Egypt.
The film finishes up nicely with the story of Joseph’s brothers coming to him during the famine in the land which Joseph had foretold from interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams. They acknowledge him as the leader and Joseph has a moving reunion with his father Jacob. And the film ends with the narrative of Joseph’s bones eventually being carried into Israel, and the birth of the Messiah, Jesus. The movie contains a few scenes more suitable for an audience of Ages 12+ so we are placing the Ages 12+ Dove seal on the movie, as it has procured it and is family friendly.
The Dove Take:
The vivid and colorful animation brings this wonderful story of Joseph to life and is an enjoyable viewing experience as it takes the viewer to the exotic land of Egypt.