Feb 3, 2016

[Movies] The Little Prince (2015)

The Little Prince is one of the world's most beloved books by fans of all ages. And something so loved can't possible be easy to adapt into another medium given how high everyone's expectations would be. And yet people moved forward and made a movie based on this book and they decided to go all out.

I'm big fan of stop-animation films. There's something about the medium that just fascinates me so much - and this dates back to those old Christmas movies and of modern classics like The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline. With the increased reliance on CGI-fueled animation as a more convenient and potentially more cost-effective animation solution, we don't see too many stop animation movies anymore.

But this time around the used a blending of both and the end result is certainly quite the unique movie experience. I have limited concerns about the direction they decided to take with the movie, but on the whole I think it's safe to say that this movie is quite beautiful.

Synopsis: The Little Prince is a 2015 stop motion animation movie directed by Mark Osborne. The screenplay was written by Irena Brignull and Bob Persichetti as based on the children's book of the same name written by  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

The movie has two levels of story. At first, we meet a young girl (Mackemzie Foy) and her mother (Rachel McAdams). On their own, the two rely in a very rigid schedule of activities and chores that need to get done in order to give the girl structure and set her up for success. The plan involved moving to a new home closer to the school that they are aiming to attempt to get her into and there the girl meets the unusual neighbor, the Aviator (Jeff Bridges). And the old man begins to tell her the story of the Little Prince as it had been told in the book. And this causes the girl to stray more and more from her rigid calendar of activities. Thus that second level of the story involves the story of the Little Prince in vivid detail.

The decision to depict the scenes involving The Little Prince using stop-motion animation is really what made even just the trailers of the movie so compelling. It was a nice contrast from the CGI world of the girl and the Aviator that added a degree of magic and wonder to things. I think my only complaint is how some parts of the original story felt a bit rushed, particularly involving many of the different people that the Prince meets out there once he leaves his little planet.

At first the extra story that packaged the movie and acted as a vessel for the original story felt like a smart decision. They didn't even really bother giving these characters names in order to keep the focus on the Prince. But by the second half of the movie they opted to flip things as they had already blitzed through the story covered in the book and we were now back in the real world with a need for the girl to deal with...everything?

Things get a little surreal at this point and it's not entirely clear what is real and what isn't and for some reason we have a story beyond the book that's entirely the movie. Definitely mixed feelingthink I would have enjoyed just focusing things on the tale of the Little Prince and maybe having the girl I learn something of value or teach her mother something? 

The Little Prince is still a visual masterpiece and a movie that has a lot of good feelings to go around. My discomfort with how things ended may be more a personal thing than an objective problem with the movie - in truth I'm not entirely sure still how feel about the whole thing. But the movie still deserves a good 4 magical moments in the movie out of a possible 5.

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