It’s like falling in love
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.