“The Little Prince” creatively retells the classic story

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photo courtesy of paramountpictures.fr

The Prince sits on Earth with the Fox (James Franco). "The Little Prince" was released on Aug. 5.

Angel Kim, Staff Writer

Though the novel “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was first published in 1943, viewers of all ages have the chance to experience the tale once again as an animated feature. Though the French film was officially released in 2015, it has not been widely distributed in the U.S. until it was released to Netflix on Aug. 5.

What makes “The Little Prince” film unique from the book is that there is a frame story. A little Girl (Mackenzie Foy) moves into a house neighboring the Aviator (Jeff Bridges), who is the pilot that narrated the novel. The Girl’s Mother (Rachel McAdams) is very strict about the Girl’s academic studies so that she can succeed at an advanced school called Werth Academy. However, the Girl soon dismisses her Mother’s plans to learn more about the Little Prince’s (Riley Osborne) story. In addition, the film’s plot does not end where the novel ends, as the Girl’s and the Little Prince’s storylines converge. The Girl meets Mr. Prince (Paul Rudd), the grown up Little Prince who had forgotten about his adventures as a child. Will Mr. Prince be able to remember life as the Little Prince?LEPETITPRINCE_OSBORNE_PHOTO4

“The Little Prince” features two animation styles: computer animation for the frame story and stop-motion animation for the Little Prince’s story as the Girl imagines the Aviator’s narrative. This was artfully done, with features such as lighting and color working with the animation styles to create contrast between the imagined and “real” world. However, the computer animated parts are not perfect, and many objects have a plastic-like look. While it matched the more tense scenes at Werth Academy and the Girl’s house, it would have been nice to see a warmer tone that does not just rely on color effects in scenes at the Aviator’s house.

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 12.29.39 AMNevertheless, the stop motion was enjoyable to watch, and unlike other stop-motion films such as “The Corpse Bride”, it had a simpler style. For example, the clouds in which an airplane was flying through looked like layers of paper.  The artistic direction also helped the planets’ presentation; animating people walking on tiny planets would have seemed more unrealistic with computer animation.

The version of “The Little Prince” released on Netflix is an English dub, the French version being unavailable. While the English cast features many A-listers, one could argue that it conveyed less emotion than the French version, which would have dialogue straight from Saint-Exupéry’s novel.

Where “The Little Prince” lacks in voice overs, it makes up in visuals and storytelling. Viewers will be captivated by the Girl’s adventure and rediscover their inner child with the Prince.