Joseph: King of Dreams is a 2000 American 2D hand-drawn animated biblical music family film and the first direct-to-video production from DreamWorks Animation. The film is an adaptation of Joseph from the Book of Genesis in the Bible. Composer Daniel Pelfry said "the film was designed as a companion piece to Prince of Egypt...Of course, Joseph turned out to be very different than The Prince of Egypt, [nevertheless] very challenging and rewarding". The Book of Angels explains "In this film we are shown how Joseph makes use of his prophetic dreams to guide him through his life, and where his adventure leads him".
Co-director Robert Ramirez has said that "The reviews for Joseph have generally been very good, but [there was] a period years ago when the film was not working very well, where the storytelling was heavy-handed, clunky and when we discovered as a crew what made it a whole lot better".
Joseph is the youngest of Jacob's (Israel) twelve sons and is labeled as a "Miracle Child" since his mother, Rachel, was believed to be barren. Whilst his brothers work the farm, Joseph in contrast is doted upon and educated by Jacob, inciting the brothers' jealousy and hatred. When he receives a beautiful coat from his father, his brothers hate him even more and fear he may take over as clan leader upon the death of Jacob, despite him being the youngest and only their half-brother. One evening Joseph dreams that the sheep his brothers' flock are being attacked by wolves, and true enough whilst his brothers leave him alone to care for the sheep whilst they go swimming, a pack of wolves attack the flock and Joseph is nearly killed until Jacob saves him. Jacob is enraged that Joseph was abandoned by his brothers, and also amazed that Joseph's dream came true. Judah, the fourth eldest of the brothers and therefore their leader, merely dismisses this but Jacob is certain that God sent Joseph a vision of what would happen.
The next night, Joseph dreams that his brothers each carry sheaves of wheat that bow down to Joseph's gigantic sheaf, and that he is a brilliant star in the sky, surrounded by eleven smaller stars and the sun and the moon. Jacob predicts that one day Joseph will rise above them all, alarming the brothers. They leave and retreat to a cave where they plot to do away with Joseph, lead by Judah. Having followed them, Joseph overhears, and the brothers tear his cloak and hurl him down a pit until nightfall. When they "rescue" him, Joseph is horrified to discover their scheme to sell him to desert slave traders who take him to Egypt. The brothers then bring Joseph's torn and bloodied coat to Jacob and Rachel, who are heartbroken and are led to think he was killed by a wolf pack, which they have lied to them.
In Egypt, Joseph is made the servant of the wealthy Egyptian Potiphar, the pharoh's captain of the guard. He quickly proves himself an asset to his master and the two become less master and slave and more as friends. However, Pother's adulteress wife, Zuleika takes a liking to Joseph. One night, she tries unsuccessfully to seduce Joseph and grabs him, tearing his clothes as he flees in fear. Out of malice, she tells Potiphar, that Joseph attempted to rape her. Angrily, Potiphar orders Joseph killed, but when his wife intervenes, he realizes that Joseph is not guilty of his wife's accusations and he reluctantly has Joseph thrown into prison. While imprisoned, Joseph shows his gift by interpreting the dreams of the royal butler and baker, who are also prisoners. He accurately predicts that the butler will be restored to his position at the palace in three days, and that the baker will be put to death. Joseph sees that the butler will tell pharaoh about his gift of interpret and urges the butler to do so, but the butler forgets once he is released.
Time has passed, Joseph has grown a full beard and is all alone in the cell, excluding a dying fig-tree. After a rain storm, the tree shows new growth and Joseph occupies himself in caring for the tree and it reaches full growth.
Eventually, the Pharaoh begins to be plagued by dreams and is told by the butler that Joseph can interpret them. He sends Potiphar to retrieve Joseph who forgives his old friend and master immediately. Pharaoh tells Joseph his dreams; the first one is of seven healthy cows grazing along the banks of the Nile, but then seven sickly cows rise from the river and swallow the healthy cows, but they remain sick. The second is of seven ears of grain, golden and full being eaten by seven ears of withered grain. Joseph interprets the pharaoh's dreams as warnings of an upcoming seven years of abundance in Egypt followed by seven years of famine that will wipe out Egypt. The pharaoh is troubled and at a loss for what to do in order to prevent the upcoming disaster, however, Joseph cleverly suggests that each year one fifth of the crops are put aside and kept for rationing in order to save Egypt. The pharaoh, impressed by Joseph, promotes him as the prime minister of Egypt and gives him the name "Zaphenapt-Paneah".
As the years pass, Joseph's plan saves Egypt from starvation. Joseph marries the niece of Potiphar, Asenath, and has two children with her. Eventually, his brothers arrive in Egypt to buy food because the seven-year famine that struck Egypt has also desolated Canaan. They do not recognize Joseph, who is enraged to see them. They offer to pay for the grain with the silver they sold Joseph for - but Joseph accuses them of being spies, and demands proof of their identity. When the brothers claim they need the food to help their ailing father and youngest brother, Joseph becomes even more angry and has Simeon arrested and locked in prison. He orders the remaining brothers to return with their alleged youngest brother as proof. Appalled, the brothers leave.
Asenath is equally shocked and demands to know what Joseph is up to. When she sees through his lies that they are thieves, he reveals that they are his brothers and that it was they who sold him into slavery. Shortly afterward, the brothers reappear with a young man named Benjamin, who is Joseph's almost identical little brother. Simeon is released and Joseph asks Benjamin about his family. He is saddened to realize his mother has died, but his father mollycoddles Benjamin, for fear of losing another son. The brothers lie that they had a youngest brother who was killed by wolves many years ago, angering Joseph more, though he does not show it. He sees through his brothers' lies and decides to exact his revenge on them.
Joseph invites the brothers to a feast and has his own golden chalice concealed in Benjamin's sack while no one is looking. After the feast when the brothers prepare to leave, Joseph prevents them from going and lies that one of them has stolen his goblet. Despite the brothers' protests, Joseph cuts open the sacks of grain he gave them to take back to their homeland, and out of Benjamin's topples the gold cup. To secretly test how his brothers will react, Joseph orders that he be imprisoned and enslaved. When his older brothers implore him to let Benjamin go and offer themselves instead, he is shocked. Judah beseeches Joseph not to take Benjamin, as the shock of losing another son would surely kill their elderly father. He confesses that their hatred blinded them in the past and that, in jealousy, they sold their youngest brother into slavery and lied that he had been killed by wolves and how they were haunted by that crime for 20 years. Touched by their honesty and their honorable show of elder brotherly love for Benjamin, Joseph forgives them and reveals his true identity as their long-lost brother whom they had betrayed many years ago. The brothers' and Joseph plead for forgiveness from one another, which both sides grant, and Joseph invites them and their families to live with him at the palace.
Shortly after, he is reunited with his elderly father who is overjoyed to see his favorite son again and his entire household come into Egypt to prosper peace and harmony with the Egyptians.
- Ben Affleck as Joseph's speaking voice
- David Campbell as Joseph's singing voice
- Mark Hamill as Judah
- Richard Herd as Jacob's speaking voice
- Russell Buchanan as Jacob's singing voice
- Maureen McGovern as Rachel
- Jodi Benson as Asenath
- Judith Light as Zuleika
- James Eckhouse as Potiphar
- Richard McGonagle as Pharaoh
- Dan Castellaneta as Auctioneer/Horse Trader
- Rene Auberjonois as Butler
- Ken Campbell as Baker
- Steven Weber as Simeon/Slave Trader
- Jess Harnell as Issachar/Lead Trader
- Piera Coppola as Zuleika's servant/Additional Voices
- Emily Eby as Servant
- Matt Levin as Benjamin
Trivia & Facts
- This is the first direct-to-video production from DreamWorks Animation.
- The Prince of Egypt is the DreamWorks' first film to become a franchise.
- In the movie, Benjamin is born sometime after Joseph was sold into slavery whereas in the bible, he was born long before he was sold at 17 years old.
- In the movie, Rachel is shown to be alive up to Joseph being sold, whereas in the bible, she dies giving birth to her second child, Benjamin.
- All of Jacob's 12 sons with the exception of Joseph are what is know as the 12 Tribes of Israel, every Jewish person is a descendant from one of them except Joseph, his sons Mannasseh & Ephraim are adopted by Jacob therefore becoming tribal eponyms.
- In the movie Judah is the oldest, whereas in the bible it is Reuben who is the first born.
- Joseph's grandfather and great-grandfather Abraham & Issac are referenced when Jacob says "Just like my father and grandfather did before me".
- Leah, Jacob's second wife and biological mother of Judah, is referenced at the beginning of the film when he says "it was different with your mother", referring to how he was tricked into marrying her in the bible.
- In the movie, Joseph's brothers were jealous of him and sold him into slavery, whereas in the bible they hated him to the point that they were going to kill him, but the oldest (Reuben) convinced the others to put him into a pit, so he could come back later and take him out and return him to their father.
- When Joseph first saw his brother he accused them of being spies and puts Simenon in prison while they go get Benjamin from the land of Canaan, whereas in the bible he throws them all in prison for 3 days.
- In the movie Joseph talks to his brothers when they're in Egypt whereas in the bible he has an interpreter speak for him.
- Joseph was 30 years old when he interpreted the Pharaoh's dream and 39 when his brother came into Egypt.
- Joseph's parents are cousins because Jacob's uncle is Rachael's father.
- Joseph lived to be 110 years old in Egypt.
- Not mentioned in the movie but Joseph has an older sister named Dinah.
- In the film the baker is told he'll be beheaded, but in the bible he is hanged.
- In the movie Joseph is thrown into prison, and he interpreted dreams whereas in the bible he was made in charge of the same prison he was put in.
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