For the first time The Little Prince, the beloved story from Antoine de Saint-Exupéryis, is coming to the big screen as a fully animated feature film. The movie comes to us from the Director of Kung Fu Panda, Mark Osborne, and writer of The Boxtrolls, Irena Brignull. The Little Prince also features some impressive voice talents including Jeff Bridges as the Aviator, Rachel McAdams the Mother, and Paul Rudd as Mr. Prince.
Fans will know the charming tales of the little boy that came from the stars, of untamed foxes, of sheep and thorns, of how to love a rose, of snakes and sunsets, and how to tell the difference between a picture of a hat and a boa constrictor eating an elephant. The story of this movie takes place many years after the book ends but goes back to familiar scenes.
The Little Prince is a French production, which is entirely fitting for one of the most treasured French children’s books. France has a reputation for producing a very high level of quality in animation and have a rich tradition and respect for the art form even among adults. If you are worried about subtitles, don’t be, they are no where to be found. The film was shot once in English with an American cast, and again in French.
What audiences will find most striking about this film is that the movie is shot in two animation styles, partly in CG- representing the “real” world, and partly in stop-animation- depicting the world of fantastical stories and memories. The irony of this is that CG is completely digital, and stop-animation is created by manipulating real materials, so audiences will get to ask themselves which one of the two is the more real.
The trailer lets us meet two new characters that live in the “real” world. It first introduces viewers to the character of the Little Girl, voiced by Mackenzie Foy who is caught between the imaginative wonder and possibility of childhood and the expectations of her preparations for her future role and responsibilities in the world of grown ups.
This pressure comes mostly from The Mother, voiced by Rachel McAdams, who is high strung and so worried about planning every second of the day to perfection she never lets herself or her daughter experience the moments they are in. Childhood to her is a period to rush through while keeping your sights on the goal of being perfect and perfectly adult.
The Mother is as wrapped up in her duties as the strange, obsessive, and ultimately foolhardy people the Little Prince visits on the neighboring planets on his adventures on his way to Earth in the book. They are people who are so involved with their tasks and ideas of what is worthy and important they never do anything worthwhile at all.
In the trailer, we get to see a grown up Prince, voiced by Paul Rudd, no longer a child full of questions but a distinguished and strapping lad who has grown into his coat and become a man. Meanwhile, the adventurous Aviator who narrated the book is now an old man and enters the Little Girl’s life when he moves next door.
This movie is a story about discovering a whimsical and charming neighbor full of adventures, and the journey of changing yourself, rather than the story of how the Aviator came upon the Little Prince and learned his particular tale. It feels like it looks backwards, speaking more to the grown ups in the audience who may find the themes strike close to home.
This version of The Little Prince is not so much an adaptation as a thank you note to a beautiful story that changed its readers and taught the world to remember to see the world through the wonder and imagination of a child’s eyes.
Check out the Trailer for yourself and get swept into the enchanting world of The Little Prince. Due out in theaters March 18.