The Little Prince by Mark Osborne (2015)

L: 8.5/10

M: 7/10

J: 8/10

Analysis from a fortunate soul taken way by the rapture, but wishes he could have stayed to watch the world burn:

I wasn’t entirely sure how to feel going into this film. Based on the book of the same name that we just read, the poster gave me fixed emotions, but the voice casting filled me with much promise. With the book being somewhat brief, I was curious as to how it could be stretched to a full-length film. With a release date within the last decade, it was curious how I had no recollection of this adaptation. It does make sense seeing how it never got a US theatrical release, falling into the grasps of Netflix after budgetary issues.

The Little Prince is a great example of flawless screenplay writing. There is a completely new story wrapped around the source material. The two stories go hand in hand, morphing into one. The book’s lessons are put into action first hand and serve as a blueprint for the main character. It’s really fascinating and a bold choice to turn the story into what it becomes.

The main story is about a little girl (Mackenzie Foy) who is trying to get into a prestigious school and is forced by her psychotic mother (Rachel McAdams) to follow a strict minute by minute routine in preparation. They move into the school district, and their eccentric neighbor (Jeff Bridges) happens to be the pilot from the book. He slowly gains the trust of the little girl, and the two become pals. He shows her pieces of the story he wrote of the Little Prince, and she slowly becomes fascinated with the world, actually being a little girl and acting her age. 

Her mother eventually learns of this and separates the two. The old man grows ill, and the little girl goes on an adventure to find the Little Prince. The film breaks into a third film at this point, where the girl imagines and journey to the stars. She rescues the Little Prince, who is now similarly forced into adulthood by the adults he’s encountered on his own adventure that brought him into the neighbor’s life, and in turn, her own. 

There are two styles of animation in The Little Prince. The majority of the film is your traditional Pixar/Disney style but looks a little more polished than the majority of films I’ve seen. The Little Prince portions of the film are all a paper-style in the manner of Kubo and the Two Strings, which I absolutely loved. They blend very nicely together and make an overall beautiful experience. The voice acting is all very good, with Marion Cotillard being the solo French actor, at least to my knowledge. I was very high on this film and will add this to films to watch along with my fictional child one day. 

Analysis from the unfortunate soul that missed the rapture and is currently burning with the world:

Typically I am not a huge fan of this genre of movie. I have a 13-year-old daughter who NEVER appreciated animated movies. I spent far too much money taking her to the new animated movies that came out for her to just be bored and for us to leave halfway through. She never got into them, and so I just lost interest, I suppose. However, the new wave of animated shows for adults has restored my love for adult-focused animation. This movie fits perfectly into the stream of animation I appreciate. It isn’t cartooney (it’s probably a word), but it is a more mature version of it. Does that make sense? Well, it does to me.
This movie was beautifully done. It followed the book, and the images that we were familiar with certainly popped up, but it brought a different element that helped to tell the story from a different perspective. I loved that they told the story through a different child’s eyes. What I didn’t love was the mother/daughter relationship in the story. Maybe I’m just extra sensitive to these things because I am raising a girl, and for most of her life, I have been doing it alone. Luckily, that is no longer the case. I just hate that her mom kept pushing her to succeed in the way that she thought would offer her the best future. I mean, she was clearly raising her daughter alone, and the dad only sent her a snow globe every year with no real emotional connection. Perhaps this mom didn’t want her daughter to be trapped working nonstop to support someone when, if she had access to all the tools a great education could provide her, she could support herself and any family she had without missing out on so much. I can understand that. I can offer grace to the mother because I can empathize. It just makes you sad, though, because the mom seems so cold and unfeeling. She seems to not understand at all that her daughter needs to explore relationships that encourage fun, creativity, and imagination. Those are simply luxuries to the mother, though. I hate this family dynamic. I hate watching it. It triggers me maybe. I don’t know. I guess that’s what makes this piece good, though. I have already scheduled it as our “family night” movie for this Friday because I want to watch it with my daughter and talk about any feelings she might have on that mother/daughter dynamic.
I feel this is sort of a right of passage book/movie situation. Will I go back and re-read and re-watch it over and over? Nope. I will with my daughter, but not alone. It made me stop in my 37-year-old tracks, though, and take some real inventory in my life and the way I think and parent. In all, it is a beautiful movie based on a beautiful book, and I’m better for having experienced them both.

Analysis from a glow-in-the-dark message written on a seemingly empty ceiling:

It’s a known tradition in my home that when my nieces and nephew come to stay at my house for a cousin campout, we have a day filled with fun, and it ends with setting up my tent in the living room for everyone to snuggle into. Then, we watch a movie. During one such occasion, I watched The Little Prince for the first time. It already has a special place in my heart because of that.

The movie incorporates two different animation styles, my favorite being the paper stop animation as it lays an illustration of the original story the movie is based on. The main movie plot is very sweet, with an unlikely friendship that develops between a little girl who’s being groomed for adulthood and an eccentric old man who is grasping onto his childlike whims. One particular mechanic that I liked is the way these two characters Benjamin Button their way through the story: the elderly transitioning to the very weighty subject of his mortality and the youth judging how best to start her life. Each one sliding along a slider of seriousness to their current circumstances.

Where the book fell short of appealing mostly to adults, the movie makes up for it and then some. It’s captivating, beautiful, and so friendly to younger viewers while still being entertaining for adults. Just as the characters engage in redemptive acts, this movie helped redeem the intellectual property a bit for me as a child’s story.

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