It’s like fall­ing in love

CityPress - - Trend­ing - CHARL BLIG­NAUT charl.blig­naut@city­

The Lit­tle Prince Direc­tor: Mark Os­borne Star­ring the voices of: James Franco, Rachel McA­dams Some crit­ics have been luke­warm about Mark Os­borne’s ver­sion of An­toine de Saint-Ex­upéry’s The Lit­tle Prince. They need to get over it.

Let’s face it, the clas­sic 1943 chil­dren’s book – about a pi­lot who crashes his plane in the desert and meets an ex­trater­res­trial kid who lives on a small, ob­scure planet – is very thin, with hardly enough ma­te­rial for a fea­ture film.

In­stead, the Kung Fu Panda cre­ator has opted to re­frame the story within the tale of an un­named Lit­tle Girl and her tiger mom, who move into a new house to meet the zon­ing re­quire­ments of a pres­ti­gious pri­vate school. Her mom has sched­uled ev­ery last sec­ond of Lit­tle Girl’s hol­i­day to­wards cram­ming to meet the stan­dards of the school. But then Lit­tle Girl meets a strange old Avi­a­tor who lives next door. It is through him that the orig­i­nal tale is told.

What we get is a con­tem­po­rary story fram­ing a myth­i­cal one, and pos­ing mag­nif­i­cent ar­gu­ments for the power of the imag­i­na­tion and the re­ten­tion of child­hood won­der.

Lit­tle Girl’s story may not be a mod­ern mas­ter­piece to match Saint-Ex­upéry’s, but kids and adults will buy into it.

And the an­i­ma­tion may not match the over­worked per­fec­tion of a Pixar or DreamWorks film, but so what. I found it far more ex­cit­ing for its merg­ing of myr­iad in­flu­ences, its pa­per-and-clay rough­ness, tex­tu­ral rich­ness and stop-mo­tion dreami­ness.

If you let go and stop ask­ing too many damn crit­i­cal ques­tions, The Lit­tle Prince is a de­light – strange yet fa­mil­iar, mod­ern yet mys­tic, warm and fuzzy, and a trip.

For me, it was a bit like fall­ing in love.

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