The Little Prince, A Tiny Review

18 Mar


By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Two stories are woven together in director Mark Osborne‘s modern movie adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry‘s The Little Prince. One serves to act as a launching off point to the 1942 tale of a pilot meeting a mysterious boy from an asteroid. As one story is visually and eloquently rendered in smooth CGI, the other has an archaic papier-mâché, stop motion, quality which works very well in contrast to the two worlds being presented.

In the main story, a girl (voiced by Mackenzie Foy) is on summer break and her mother (Rachel McAdams) has a regimen for her daughter to follow to pass the entrance exam to the prestigious Werth Academy in France. Although this adult is only worried about her child’s future, very little about the present is worth considering, including knowing how to take pleasure in the moment to enjoy life. When mom leaves for work, this young girl’s natural curiousity of the elderly neighbour (Jeff Bridges at his finest) almost follows in the tradition set by PIXAR‘s Up. This old codger was once an air force pilot and he takes an immediate liking to the young lass. He regales her with stories from his younger life, where Saint-Exupéry’s timeless story enters the picture.

Riley Osborne provides the voice of the young prince and he complements the diverse talents of Marion Cotillard (The Rose), Ricky Gervais (in a very fitting role of The Conceited Man), Benicio Del Toro (Snake), James Franco (Fox), Paul Giamatti (Teacher) and Albert Brooks (Businessman). These performers make the stop-motion world of talking animals and sentient flowers alive.

In the real world, other problems arise. The Aviator is living on borrowed time and he desires to see The Little Prince one more time. In the new story constructed for this film, it feels like a fitting continuation of the story the French author might have written, had he desired a sequel. Viewers who have not read the original work will most likely want to after seeing this film. In how one tale intertwined with the other, the metaphors are very obvious to the adult viewer whereas the younger mind can get the hint and may well react much like how the girl did.

However some twists are to be had, and what’s not told is left ambiguous enough to have those seeing this film leaving with a smile instead of a tear.

3½ Stars out of 5

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