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, The Little Prince 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 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 on 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, It would be wise to read this is a story again and again at different life stages. 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 became pretty popular in Russia, and I almost bought it on Russian DVD to watch it when I came home. Now, when I finally did see it, I was intrigued but 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
The movie’s plot begins in an urban city where a mother and daughter strive to initiate themselves into a systemized, career-driven world. The mother works full-time, the father is always gone on business trips, and the little girl works dawn to dusk on a schedule her mother made to help her go to a high-end private school.
But as it goes, the little girl’s scheduled life is interrupted by none other than 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.
When I saw this film the first time, I thought it unnecessarily shifted from the little prince to the secondary character and story arc with the little girl. Thinking it a dampening addition to the original, I shelved this movie in my mind and didn’t think about it for a long time.
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 needed to discover the meaning behind the little prince’s story. Parts from the book were missing, but that’s because she remembered characters that applied best to her life. At its heart, the film is about a little girl experiencing Exupery’s story. Just like we perhaps experienced it long ago and applied it to our own lives.
Telling this story in this manner does muffle the original magic which made the original book so beloved. The film version gives audiences a taste of what the original book could do for them. Not the entire package.
Despite the shifted plot focus, I appreciated how well it set the stage for those who have never read the children’s book. That said, this is a great incentive for film viewers to go and read the book.
I felt split when it came to the characters. I loved how the animators portrayed the little prince and others from the original story. When I saw it, I excitedly thought to myself, “This is exactly how I pictured the characters would look.” There was a gentleness and purity to them I loved.
Now, the main characters were okay. I thought them copy cutouts: the overworking mother drove by ambition rather than her heart, the crazy, eccentric old man no one likes, the misunderstood child trying to enjoy childhood, etc.
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 why the Aviator and his simple story felt so off-putting for the little girl.
All in all, my favorite characters were definitely those from the book, but I didn’t hate the others..
ANIMATION: Hmmmmm…… 3D/ 3.5 Stopmotion/ 5
The animators used two animation styles to bring this movie to life. The 3D animation was duller and not as extraordinary. 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 clothes to the thin, sheer look of the fox’s tail. The lighting was simply breathtaking. These small sequences have become some of my favorite animated sequences.
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 found one film without a musical score. A film’s atmosphere is inseparably connected with music: imagery and sound combining into an artistic dance. Hans Zimmer and Richard Harvey composed a beautiful musical score. It is simple, light, and very French in its tone and rhythm. All in all, truly enchanting.
PERSONAL ENJOYMENT: 4/5
I cried seeing this movie and did enjoy many parts of it: its music, stop-motion animation, and portrayals of one of my favorite stories. Though it is not a perfect movie, I recommend it. It has an air of childhood enchantment to it. I watch it and enjoy it for the beautiful moments that 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.”