Quite possibly the first time I’d ever experienced the concept of death was having ‘The Little Prince’ read to me as a child. It was either that, or when Mr. Hooper on Sesame Street died, but for the purposes of this review, we’ll say it was this story. It’s stuck with me all these years, and has remained one of my favorite stories, not because of the death, but because of the story itself, the adventure and free spirit of the character, which in turn is the spirit of childhood in itself, which this movie aims to capture. I had actually initially intended to go to sleep about an hour or so ago, but I felt compelled to finish watching the film, and to get this review out to my loyal readers (all 6 of you) , so here we are.
This adaptation is but the latest in a series of adaptations of the classic story by Antoine De Saint-Expury, this time done as a part cgi, part stop motion animated film by Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda). While traditionally the story is merely that of the Aviator (voiced by Jeff Bridges) and the titular Little Prince (voiced by Riley Osborne, the son of director, Mark) and the Prince’s adventures prior to meeting the Aviator in the desert, this movie uses that basic story as the framework of the story of a little girl (voiced by Mackenzie Foy-Interstellar) who’s life is scheduled, every minute, every day, by her mother (voiced by Rachel Mcadams-The Notebook) so much so that she doesn’t know how to be a kid.
The mother is trying to get her daughter into a prestigious private school, and she has to use her summer vacation to do nothing but prepare for the rest of her life. It’s not until a chance encounter with her neighbor, The Aviator, that she learns of the story of The Little Prince, and begins her own adventure.
The movie itself was released at the Cannes Film Festival last year, and had a French release last year as well, but for whatever reason, Paramount pulled the US release, (which was scheduled to have a 3-D release as well) for some reason, and this film then sat on the shelf until Netflix picked it up to be distributed as a Netflix Original. Still not sure why, but it is quite a coup for the streaming service, as the movie is phenomenal.
The art style and animation alone in this movie is breathtaking, would have loved to have seen it on the big screen in 3-D, but on a television screen it’s just as lovely. It also features a stellar voice cast as well, from Jeff Bridges, James Franco, Ricky Gervais, Marion Cotillard, and more. The script by Irena Brignull and Bob Persichetti expand on the story as is needed to pad the length of the story to feature length, but it doesn’t feel like padded on extra material, it brings more depth to the story, which I loved.
And just like the original novella, there are a lot of feels moments here, so keep your tissues handy when watching this movie. I really can’t say enough about this movie, it was phenomenal. For anyone who’s ever been a child, and hasn’t forgotten what that’s like, or even if you have, this movie might remind you. Easily one of my favorite movies of this year, though it’s technically a 2015 film, it just now got released over here, so it’s on my 2016 Best of List for sure. ***** 5 out of 5 stars. Til next time ya’ll, be sure to keep it Reel.