By: Oberst von Berauscht –
A little girl and her mother have just moved into a neat and orderly new neighborhood, with plans to have a neat and orderly summer vacation where her daughter is expected to spend every waking hour preparing for her entrance into “Werth Academy” an upscale private school with a strict admittance policy. The girl’s mother is obsessed with her daughter’s future, and designs an elaborate life plan to dictate and organize everything she does.
One day the girl meets her new neighbor, an old man living in the only disorderly house in town. The old man tells the girl a story about a little prince he once met a long time ago, and the story draws her in. Eventually, the girl goes on her own journey in search of the prince, and discovers the truth behind the story.
Growing up isn’t always easy, and The Little Prince doesn’t make any case for the behavior. As we get older, we often sink into routine that results in our inability to feel any new or exciting experiences. The hardships of finding and doing steady work come into constant conflict with the need for adventure. The story aims to teach its audience to make room in their lives for a little wonder from time to time, and does so skillfully.
All scenes taking place in the real world uses CGI animation, which allows for the filmmakers to make the neat and tidy suburbs as sterile and clean as possible, bereft of individuality. Only the home of the old man contains color, and it clashes heavily with the surroundings. The girl’s imagination of the world of the Little Prince is shown in stop-motion, which is bright and vividly colored.
The cast is full of famous names; Paul Rudd, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, James Franco, Paul Giamatti, Albert Brooks, Benicio Del Toro, Ricky Gervais, Bud Cort, and others. Normally when I read the voice cast of an animated movie and see that it is dominated by celebrities, even in minor roles, it is cause for worry. If a production company is more focused on marquee value than anything else, it is sign of mixed priorities. This is not the case with The Little Prince, where every voice is a perfect fit for the personality of their respective characters. Some voice choices are so accurate they’re almost alarming.
My one criticism of the film is that it really tells a larger story than just that of The Little Prince and the title is quite misleading. Those looking for a straight-out adaptation of the novella are bound to be confused and disappointed by the fact that the story is used more as a jumping off point than anything else. The story is a good one, and it follows through on many of the book’s themes, if not quite all of the exact story elements. A cynical critic might speculate that the filmmakers wanted to write a happier ending to the story. Even if true, the end result works splendidly.
The Little Prince says that always living with the future in mind will cause you to lose focus on the present, and those around you. A fable that tells its story with visual flourish and true artistry.
The Little Prince (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: any time the mother mentions her daughter’s life plan
Take a Drink: any time “Little Prince” is said
Take a Drink: every time the animation style switches
Do a Shot: every time you recognize a celebrity voice