Based on the French children’s book Le Petit Prince (1943), Paramount Pictures officially released this animated film 2015 under Mark Osborne‘s direction. A Mixture of stop motion and 3D computer animation, it became a somewhat critical success worldwide as the first full length animated adaptation of Antoine de Saint Exupery‘s beloved story.
In time I probably will study the film’s development in more detail, but for now I will just write my simple observations from just seeing the movie. I am getting curious though so look for updates.
I’ve experienced this story throughout my life in different stages. As a child, I didn’t understand it, but felt sad when the pilot needed to say goodbye to the prince. As an adult I began to understand how my life reflected the story’s critiques of grownup perspectives. I saw how mundane tasks dampened my childhood wonder and made me too busy at times to understand and cherish simple things.
Simply put, this is a story which must be read again and again at different stages of life. As it is, The Little Prince is a beloved tale worldwide because of its simple themes and beautiful lessons on love, friendship and beauty.
I remember how sad I was when I learned I would have to wait to see this movie. It actually became pretty popular in Russia and I almost bought it on Russian DVD so I could watch it when I came home. Now, when I finally did see it I was intrigued but also disappointed. The reason is simple. I expected the book put to film. I am quite the purist and would in no way have been bored in seeing the original story beautifully animated. But my opinion of the movie has also subtly changed over time.
STORY AND EXECUTION: 4/5
Contrary to what I initially believed, the movie’s plot takes place in an urban city where a mother and daughter strive to initiate themselves into the business of their career driven world. The mother works full-time, the father is always gone on business trips and the little girl is given a systematic schedule to help her to be admitted to a high end private school.
But as it goes, the little girl’s scheduled life is interrupted by none other then the original pilot and narrator of the little prince’s story. He tells the little girl the prince’s tale and builds a magical friendship with her, letting her play and dream.
Seeing it for the first time, I thought attention was unnecessarily shifted from the little prince to a secondary character and story arc. Thinking it a dampening addition to the original, I shelved it in my mind and didn’t think of it again for a long while.
However, not several days ago, I remembered it and decided to see it again. It was then the film opened up for me. My perspective became the little girl’s. She herself needed to discover the meaning behind the little prince’s story. Parts were missing, but those which remained reflected that of her own world. And thus, the film is about a little girl experiencing Exupery’s story. Just like we ourselves perhaps experienced it long ago and applied it to our own lives.
Telling this story in this manner does muffle the original magic which has made the original book so beloved. Rather then allowing audiences to fully discover the story individually, the film version gives us a taste of what the book can do for us. Not the entire package.
That being said, it also is a great incentive for those who see the film to actually go and read the book. Despite the shifted plot focus, I appreciated how well it set the stage for those who have never read the children’s book.
I felt split when it came to the characters. I absolutely loved how they portrayed the little prince and others from the original story. When I saw it I excitedly thought to myself, “This is exactly as I pictured they would be.” There was a gentleness to them and a purity which I simply loved.
Now, the main characters were okay. I thought them caricatures of those seen before in stories: the overworking mother driven by ambition rather than her heart, the crazy eccentric old man no one likes, the misunderstood child trying to enjoy childhood, ect.
I think they fit well into the business-like world they were in, creating the sense of being part of a mechanical machine. This was how the story writers could so well make the old man so off-putting, as well as the beautiful story he told so displaced.
All in all, my favorite characters were definitely those from the book, but I didn’t hate those created to move the story along.
ANIMATION: Hmmmmm…… 3D/ 3.5 Stopmotion/ 5
This was difficult to rate because there are actually two different styles. The 3D animation was like anything else not from the original story: duller, not as extraordinary. Really, the stop-motion animation used for retelling the Prince’s story was the highlight of the movie.
I loved the colors and the paper like quality everything had, from the prince’s hair and cloths, to the thin, sheen look of the fox’s tale. The lighting used was simply breathtaking. Truly, these small sequences have become some of my favorite animation put to film.
Here are a few more samples:
I never spend too much time talking about music, but I always make sure to mention it whenever I write reviews. Music sets the overall tone of a film. I have only ever found one film without any musical score. It is because atmosphere in a film is inseparably connected with music: imagery and sound combining into an artistic dance.
Hans Zimmer and Richard Harvey composed a absolutely beautiful musical score which was truly a pleasure for me as I watched the movie. It is simple, light, and very French in its tone and rhythm. All in all, truly enchanting.
PERSONAL ENJOYMENT: 4/5
I actually cried seeing this movie and did enjoy so many aspects of it from its music, stop-motion animation, and portrayals of one of my favorite stories. Though it is not a perfect movie, I would definitely recommend it. It has an air of childhood enchantment to it. I watch it and enjoy it for the beautiful moments which make me stop worrying about being older and focus on remembering the world is an enchanting experience.
TOTAL SCORE: 4.2/5
FAVORITE QUOTES: (not originally from the book)
1.The Aviator: Growing up is not the problem, forgetting is.
2. The Little Prince: She was not a common rose. She was the only one of her kind in the whole universe. I remember her. I remember all of it. She is not gone. She is still here. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.”