Joseph: King of Dreams [2000]

As the millennium turns, the crazed trend to produce direct-to-video sequels swells. Very few of these sequels are inspired, although most do not harm their origins. One might understandably pick up something labeled "from the makers of The Prince of Egypt with trepidation. Happily, the makers leave Moses alone and tell the tale of another Bible star, Joseph, known for his coat of many colors and a fantastic destiny. Joseph (voiced by Ben Affleck), his father's favorite son, is sold into slavery by his jealous half-brothers. After years of struggle, Joseph rises to be the Pharaoh's trusted adviser when his gift for interpreting dreams pays dividends. The 78-minute feature is rich in color and features several strong songs ("Better Than I" is the standout) written by newcomer John Bucchino. The film's religious elements are secondary, yet its heart is in the right spot--a most agreeable stance for a wider audience. Prince was designed as an "event" movie and suffered in the hype and marketing. With lower aims, Joseph is a more satisfying film and even invites the unexpected: we're ready for the next "sequel." --Doug Thomas

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