Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Outline for the Third Term Paper

The Parting of the Red Sea is a classic scene that been interpreted many different ways throughout cinematic history. This essay is a comparison between an animated and live action version.

The Ten Commandments uses composited imagery and matte paintings for to achieve this special effect while Prince of Egypt

Thesis:  In Prince of Egypt, the sea erupts outward from Moses's staff, while The Ten Commandments version shows the sea parting as if blown by a powerful gust of wind.


Prince of Egypt

  • Moses strikes his staff into the water and the water is propelled outward
  • The sea parts radially at first then splits open like a seam
  • The water appears pushed outward by force, rather than moving on its own
  • The sea remains parted and held in place by strong wind
The Ten Commandments
  • "God's wind" plays a stronger role in depicting the parting of the water
  • The sea splits open in a straight line 
  • Before the sea opens up, there is a visible moment when one composited shot transitions to the next.
  • As the water continues to part, opening up a path for the Israelites, the wall of the water is noticeably a different matte plate than the water still parting in the distance.

Considering the time in which each film was produced, I think both were successful in portraying the Parting of the Red Sea. Prince of Egypt is ultimately more convincing because of the close-up shots of the animated water bursting from Moses's staff, but the use of composited matte paintings and practical effects in The Ten Commandments deserves recognition for ingenuity and craftsmanship.

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