The Little Prince
A little girl lives in a very grown-up world with her mother, who tries to make sure she is prepared for it. Her neighbor The Aviator, introduces the girl to an extraordinary world where anything is possible, the world of The Little Prince. (IMDB)
Director: Mark Osborne (Kung-Fu Panda, Spongebob Squarepants)
Running time: 1h 50m
Adapted from: The Little Prince
Story by: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Little Prince is a book written by writer, poet, and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry when he was exiled during World War II. It later became one of the most popular books in the world. The poetic and beautifully illustrated book tells the tale of an aviator who got stranded at the Sahara desert wherein he encounters the peculiar little prince and learns his story. Despite appearing like a children’s book, The Little Prince dwells deeply on life and human nature and many of adults have pondered over its magical story.
When the trailer for the film adaptation showed up, I was one of those people who teared up seeing it and it’s got a lot to say because I do not usually shed tears. The trailer demonstrated two different stories in two different art styles– one was computer animation, the other stop-motion plus with an emotional, uplifting music playing in the background. As a well-loved book, a few were pessimistic that they were up for a disappointment. I was excited about it but I was a bit reluctant as well.
The story begins with a nameless little girl and her mum drilling for an interview to the Orweillian elementary school Werth Academy (which was based off Leon Werth’s name whom Saint-Exupéry dedicated the book to). The said academy makes your job interview look like a friendly chat because this particular school sends eight-year olds home with broken dreams and parents in total despair. When questioned by the panel about what she wanted to be when she grew up, the little girl lists her Werthy qualities as rehearsed like a mindless human being. Seeing her mother coughing conspicuously in the background and the panel’s cold gazes, she drops unconscious on the stage, which was a very unWerthy thing to do (sorry, I’ll stop).
After nearly killing her child, the mum pushes to Plan B, which was to move to a new neighborhood near Werth and therefore made her daughter a suitable candidate for next term’s enrollment. The little girl was apparently cool about her mother’s growing insanity and supports her mum’s plans in taking control of her life. The mum even gave her a life plan, which was this big, neat board with magnets and pop-outs that shall dictate her life at the end of her days.
Their neighbor appears to be an eccentric person. His house suffers from uncontrolled gardening and migrating birds– an odd picture in a neighborhood that looks like a concentration camp. He also has an airplane at his backyard that nearly slices the little girl in half. The little girl later meets her strange neighbor, an old and possibly homicidal man, who tells her the story of the little prince.
The film is portrayed through breathtaking backdrops and animation, exhibiting a variety of animation styles from 2D to Stop-Motion. The Little Prince’s story is presented in stop-motion that poignantly captures Saint-Exupéry’s watercolor illustrations and the story of the little girl expounded the book’s themes about love, relationships, and childhood in a more familiar setting. The little girl’s cold and bleak world strongly contrasts the little prince’s colorful experiences and as the film progresses, the girl’s world slowly gains color as she discovers more about the little prince and her friendship with the aviator grows deeper.It is a beautiful film that translated Saint-Exupéry’s novel with heart.
If you’re familiar with the book and you haven’t watched this then I could say that the film perfectly captured the book’s essence. And indeed, I understood the book better after watching the film. If you haven’t read the book, then this film is as perfect as it is. It is an observation of human nature in a fun and odd way that both grown-ups and children would enjoy– and perhaps relate to. It is a story that values love and friendship and how our relationships with other people make us unique and special to their eyes; and the way we treasure them makes them unique and special to our lives. It is something we tend to forget as we grow up.
TO LEON WERTH
I ask the indulgence of the children who may read this book for dedicating it to a grown-up. I have a serious reason: he is the best friend I have in the world. I have another reason: this grown-up understands everything, even books about children. I have a third reason: he lives in France where he is hungry and cold. He needs cheering up. If all these reasons are not enough, I will dedicate the book to the child from whom this grown-up grew. All grown-ups were once children–although few of them remember it. And so I correct my dedication:
TO LEON WERTH
WHEN HE WAS A LITTLE BOY