Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Little Prince

Title: The Little Prince
Production Company: Netflix
Director: Mark Osborne
Screenplay: Irena Brignull, Bob Persichetti
Based on the French novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Mackenzie Foy, Rachel McAdams, Riley Osborne (and a lot of other people)
Release Date: 5 August 2016
Length: 1 h 48 min
Rating: PG
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Drama, (Sci-fi?)


A little girl lives in a very grown-up world with her mother, who tries to prepare her for it. Her neighbor, the Aviator, introduces the girl to an extraordinary world where anything is possible, the world of the Little Prince.

What I have to say:

At long last! You can now stream The Little Prince on Netflix! And the film lives up to its expectations: all in all, this is a funny, sweet, heart-warming film with beautiful animation that is sure to move viewers to tears. Lots of them. 

There are two stories in this film: a story about a little girl making friends with an old aviator, and a story about The Little Prince and his adventures. The Little Prince's story is framed beautifully by the real-world story of the little girl and the aviator. Each story has a different animation style, which is a wonderful touch and helps to distinguish between the two. I LOVE the animation style in which The Little Prince's story plays out. It suits the story and fits in perfectly with the original illustrations by Saint-Exupery. 

Both stories are well told and nicely executed. I could wish that the filmmakers spent a little more time on The Little Prince's story, as it seemed just a bit too brief and moved rather quickly. But even this didn't detract from the story's beauty and depth.

The only thing that I felt really detracted from the story was the episode after the conclusion of The Little Prince's story, when the little girl flies the aviator's plane to another planet. Here she finds all of the characters that The Little Prince meets on his journey through the stars before coming to Earth (the rich man, the king, the clown). 

As a fantasia on themes found in The Little Prince story, it's not bad and actually rather creative, but as a story that is of a piece with the story of The Little Prince himself, it's totally wrong and the effect is jarring. This episode feels disjointed when taken as a whole with the rest of the movie. For one thing, it's unnecessary. It springs out of the little girl's need to come to terms with things like letting go and growing up, which is a viable dilemma, but there are better ways to accomplish this that would have been more in keeping with the rest of the story. 

One thing I did really like about how this episode played out, however, was that, since the little girl falls off the side of the house and blacks out before waking up and finding the aviator's plane, and since the scene fades out after she leaves Asteroid B-612, you could assume that the whole incident was a dream, which makes me feel slightly better about the whole thing.

So if you watch The Little Prince, I recommend just skipping that whole episode in the middle, starting when the little girl flies the aviator's plane out of Earth's atmosphere. Just pick it up again when she gets up in the morning and decides to go visit the aviator with her mother. That's a sweet scene. 

Outside of that one part in the middle, the movie is absolutely beautiful: the visuals are stunning, the writing brilliant, and the story as poignant as ever.

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