#REVIEW: “THE LITTLE PRINCE”
Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
Children are born with an innocence and unending imagination that allows them to believe the world is theirs for the taking. It allows them to see a picture of a boa constrictor with an elephant in its stomach rather than a misshapen hat; and gives them the ability to dream of worlds bigger than themselves. It is adults, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry teaches us in The Little Prince, that take that imagination and destroy it in favour of pragmatism, realism, and the inevitability of growing up.
Director Mark Osborne has taken Saint-Exupéry’s children’s book as a frame work around which to build a beautiful film about a Little Girl (Mackenzie Foy) whose Mother (Rachel McAdams) has her life scheduled down to the minute. Their world is all sharp corners and dull colours until they move next door to the Aviator whose home is a jumble of colours and architectural styles. Too brief page by too brief page the Aviator tells the Little Girl the story of the Little Prince who lives on Asteroid B-612, and his adventures traveling to other asteroids. Eventually the Little Prince arrives on Earth where he meets the Aviator in the Sahara Desert.
Surrounding the innocence of the stop-motion children’s story, is a tale told in modern CGI animation of life, death, and the inexorable reality of both. When the Aviator is torn from the Little Girl’s life, she goes on an adventure to find the Little Prince. Instead she finds a world populated by the characters from the Aviator’s story but whose personalities have changed so much that they have become almost unrecognizable. More subtly perhaps, is the design of this new world which is drawn from the shapes in the Little Girl’s own life.
The script, written by Irena Brignull and Bob Persichetti, is masterfully brought to life by a brilliant voice cast. Jeff Bridges’ gravely-voiced Aviator sets a magical tone for the entire Movie. His cast mates are a veritable Hollywood who’s who including Albert Brooks, Paul Giamatti, Paul Rudd and Ricky Gervais. Proving that nepotism is still the best way to get ahead in any field, The Little Prince himself is voiced with the just the right amount of world weary innocence by the director’s son Riley Osborne.
Despite featuring the occasional talking animal, the Little Prince couldn’t be more different from that other Animated Feature currently out. The at times heavy themes seem designed to make people think rather than to make children giggle. But there is no better way to express the message that art, music and imagination are as essential to the world as numbers and rules as a Movie built on a computer by a team of creative geniuses.
eOne Films release The Little Prince on Friday, March 11, 2016.