Starring: Jeff Bridges, Mackenzie Foy, Rachel McAdams, James Franco, Ricky Gervais, Albert Brooks, Paul Rudd, Paul Giamatti
Directed by: Mark Osborne
Film length: 1hr 50mins
Theatrical Release: 2015 (France), 2016 (North America)
Blu-ray release: 2017
I used to watch The Little Prince cartoon when I was a kid. It was a bit different from the book it was based on. It was about this boy who lived on a tiny planet and he would go on adventures by grabbing comets with a fish net. It was from France and it was kind of trippy.
Other than what I knew from the cartoon, I didn’t know what else to expect with this film. It came highly recommended by Victor Lucas, who I have been watching on TV and the internet since the late 90’s. My taste is fairly close to his and I do pay attention when he gives a film a perfect score.
I did try to take my wife, Sarah, to see it when it was in the theaters, but she said the book had made her cry when she read it and she didn’t want that to happen in public…. Hmmmm… Well, colour me even more intrigued. I made a mental note to pick this one up if I ever saw it and I did the other day. Here’s what I thought.
The film (5/5)
“I cannot play with you. I’m not tamed.”
The Little Prince is not a direct adaptation of the book. Instead the story of “The Little Prince” is told in tandem with another about The Little Girl (Mackenzie Foy) who is caught in a world of conformity. Her Mother (Rachel McAdams) plots out The Little Girl’s entire summer vacation to the minute with studies and chores, which she at first sticks to with a desire to please her mother and society.
Her priorities change after she meets an old, eccentric man called The Aviator (Jeff Bridges) who introduces her to free form thinking and a colourful way at looking at life. The Aviator gives her pages of a book he is writing called The Little Prince. It is about a boy, The Little Prince, who lives on a small planet. He goes on adventures flying via a flock of birds to other small planets. He makes friends with a fox, a snake, and a rose; and the relationships are surreal stories about friendship, unconditional love, and death. The film then switches back and forth between the two stories as The Little Girl continues to read until she eventually attempts to travel to The Little Prince’s world.
Despite this being an animated film with plenty of humour, I’m not sure if it is for small kids. The movie gets kind of heady with a couple of dark twists and I can see younger kids becoming upset by them. Even The Little Girl becomes upset with The Aviator for this reason in the film, but you will want to show this to any kid over the age of ten (including adults). A lot of care was put into delivering the book version of The Little Prince to a generation who is used to the Disney/Pixar brand of film, As I watched The Little Girl apply the metaphors in The Little Prince’s story to her life, I realized I was doing the same with my own.
Geez, I’m kind of making this film sound like a heavy thinker, which isn’t right. It is just, that is what stuck with me after watching it. The film is deep if you wish to dive into it but on the surface it is a light affair with plenty of humour. Jeff Bridges’ Aviator definitely channels a Doc Brown from Back to the Future vibe. Regular cameos from Ricky Gervais, Albert Brooks, Paul Rudd, and Paul Giamatti all deliver the comedy and cartoony fun.
What stood out to me/Memorable moments
Stop motion animation with paper is something you need to see
I’m not afraid to admit how I had no idea that “The Little Prince” portions of the movie were stop animation until I watched the extra feature on it. It is a bit sad to say, but my brain is so geared towards seeing computers do it all today. I guess it is a compliment of sorts. All the work done by hand looks just as good as anything a computer can do.
Darn film is going to get me to read
Since this isn’t a direct adaptation of the book I feel like I need to read it now. The parts they do tell do work in with the rest of the film, but I definitely felt like I was missing something. I don’t believe you need to read the book to appreciate the film, but I need to find my library card now.
There is no reason a Blu-ray disc of an animated movie in 2017 shouldn’t look perfect. This one does.
An excellent sounding Blu-ray too. The Aviator’s plane would roar through the sub woofer and all of the speakers were used during the action sequences.
Special Features (2/5)
What is here is quality but three short behind-the-scenes features isn’t a lot. The best one of the bunch, of course, gives you the scoop on the stop motion animation. One second of animation took them an entire day!
The Little Prince reminds me of a film from my youth –The Brave Little Toaster – not in terms of story, art style, or characters, but size. They are both animated movies with small-ish budgets, each having their own charm, and a lot of heart. Both did not have the big marketing push like a Disney film would have, so you were in for a treat if you were lucky enough to stumble upon it one day. While Big Budget Triple-A Hollywood is focused on remakes of the same film over and over again, it is nice to know there is room somewhere for a film like The Little Prince. This is one you need to check out if you are looking for something a bit different that has more to say other than what is on the surface. Plus, it is from France and it is kind of trippy.