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Joseph King of Dreams

Joseph: King of Dreams is a 2000 American direct-to-video animated biblical musical drama film. It was the only direct-to-video production from DreamWorks Animation until the release of Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans in 2021. The film is an adaptation of the story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis in the Bible and serves as a prequel to the 1998 film The Prince of Egypt (as the biblical narrative of Joseph happens before that of Moses). Composer Daniel Pelfrey stated that the film was designed as a companion piece to The Prince of Egypt, noting that though "Joseph turned out to be very different than The Prince of Egypt, it was very challenging and rewarding".


Joseph is the youngest and most favored of Jacob's twelve sons, regarded as a "Miracle Child" because his mother Rachel had been thought infertile. (“I am a Miracle Child”) Joseph grows conceited under his father's special treatment, and his elder half-brothers come to resent him for being favored, although Joseph desires to be accepted amongst them ("Bloom"). One night, Joseph dreams of a pack of wolves attacking the family's flock, and the next day the dream comes true. Another dream follows, in which Joseph sees his brothers bow before him; on telling them this, they hatch a plan to get rid of him, led by Judah. They sell him to a slave trader and take his torn coat back to their parents, convincing them that Joseph was killed by wolves.

In Egypt, Joseph is bought by Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guards ("Marketplace"), and gradually becomes his most trusted attendant, as well as befriending his beautiful niece Asenath ("Whatever Road's at Your Feet"). However, Zuleika attempts to seduce Joseph, who refuses her advances. Infuriated, Zuleika falsely accuses Joseph of making advances on her. Potiphar nearly has him executed, but Zuleika, feeling guilty, stops him. Though Potiphar realizes that Joseph is innocent of the crimes, he reluctantly has him thrown in prison to preserve his reputation. Joseph finds himself imprisoned alongside the cupbearer and baker and interprets their dreams, which reveal that one will be put to death and the other will return to his position at the palace. Sure enough, the baker is executed and the cupbearer returns to his job. The cupbearer, however, forgets his promise to tell Pharaoh about Joseph, leaving him to languish in jail.

Meanwhile, Asenath secretly supplies food to Joseph regularly through the prison's skylight. She is nearly spotted by a guard while doing so one evening during a thunderstorm though, and is forced to drop the basket of food, which crashes to the ground of the prison and is eaten by rats, much to Joseph's anger. At his lowest point, Joseph climbs the walls of the jail to the skylight, questioning God for his misfortunes and demanding to know why everything has happened to him, before slipping, falling back down and being knocked unconscious. Upon waking the next day, Joseph finds renewed purpose in caring for a small, dying tree which is the only source of green in the prison, and slowly helps it grow bigger and healthier as he reflects on his past and begins to trust in God's plan again ("You Know Better Than I").

Soon, Pharaoh comes to be troubled by nightmares which none of his advisors can interpret. Remembering Joseph, Pharaoh's cupbearer advises him to send the now-widowed Potiphar to retrieve him. The two share a happy reunion by Potiphar apologizing to Joseph for imprisoning him and Joseph forgiving Potiphar for it. Joseph interprets the dreams as warnings of seven years of abundance being followed by seven years of famine to come after that may wipe out Egypt, and suggests that a fifth of each year's harvest be kept back for rationing. Impressed, Pharaoh makes Joseph his minister and second-in-command, under the name "Zaphnath-Paaneah". In the following years, Joseph's guidance not only saves the Egyptians from starvation but allows them to sell excess grain to their neighbors who were also devastated by the famine. Joseph marries Asenath and has two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, with her ("More than You Take").

Eventually, the sons of Jacob arrive in Egypt to buy grain due to a famine in their homeland. They do not recognize Joseph, who refuses to sell to them and accuses them of spying. The brothers offer to buy the grain, with the silver they sold Joseph for years before, claiming they need it to feed their elderly father and youngest brother. Joseph still refuses to sell them grain, and imprisons Simeon until they can prove that they have another brother to support ("Bloom (Reprise)"). They reappear with a young man named Benjamin, revealed to be Joseph's almost identical younger brother, born during his absence, and who is now doted upon by Jacob. Benjamin tells Joseph that Rachel has died and Jacob has been inconsolable ever since Joseph was declared dead. Simeon is released and Joseph invites the brothers to a feast.

After the feast, Joseph has his golden chalice concealed in Benjamin's bag while no one is looking; upon its discovery, he orders that Benjamin be enslaved to see how the other brothers will react. He is astonished when they offer themselves in Benjamin's place. Grief-stricken and ashamed, Judah confesses to having sold Benjamin's older brother into slavery, a crime which has haunted him and his brothers ever since for twenty years, and that they cannot return without Benjamin, as it would break their father's heart to lose another son. Shocked at and touched by their change of heart, Joseph reveals himself to them. They reconcile, and Joseph invites them to live with their wives and children in Egypt. Shortly thereafter, he is happily reunited with his father, and meets his brothers' wives and children. The Hebrews then enter Egypt not knowing of the hardships they would face in later years.