French animation has shown many times so far that it can be compared to large studios from the USA in almost every respect. The specific style, which combines somewhat more serious themes (rarely works primarily for children), darker shades, shadows, music sections and technical solutions similar to underground comics, has gained a lot of respect around the world, and the latest French product is The Little Prince, based on the book of the same name by Antoine de Saint Exupery.
This mixture of adventure, fantasy and family drama follows a girl who is ambitiously prepared by an ambitious mother for school and the adult world – literally every minute is planned for her in detail, but she fulfills all her obligations on time. The change in her life occurs when she meets a mysterious neighbor, an old woman who is trying to fix and start a plane she owns in the yard. The benevolent man refuses to grow mentally and sincerely believes in the magical worlds that live in the stars, and the plot arises when he introduces her to the wonderful world of the Little Prince, whose laughter he sometimes hears among the stars.
Rarely has anyone not read, and even rarer are those who have not heard of the Little Prince from the asteroid b612, his rose, drawing a sheep, baobabs and conclusions that adults are very strange. It is known that the book is experienced differently with each new reading – we can hardly wait for the world of adults, and later, in the vast majority of cases, we want to return to childhood. The writer and the Little Prince say that everyone should keep the child in themselves and occasionally look at the world through the eyes of a child – this story certainly deserved its move to the cinema screens.
As it says in the trivia, if you expect a classic screenplay, you will be mistaken. The film is signed by Mark Osborne, the author of Kung Fu Panda, and consists of two intertwined wholes representing the world of the little prince, done with stop motion animation, and a classically animated modern, cold and insensitive world with a girl as the main character. The two worlds work great together because they stand out – the contrast between fantasy and the gloomy modern world, both visually and thematically, is almost tangible (this can be taken literally, because computer animation is done in 3D).
The film, like the book, deals with serious issues with numerous metaphors, but in a warm way and with a lot of sympathy. The story can be viewed lazily and works perfectly as such, but it leaves a much better impression if you pay attention to the symbols and hidden messages. This is especially true in the final third, when a new / old character appears (un) expectedly that everyone can interpret differently. To some extent, I consider that final third superfluous because the film could have been finished earlier and more effectively. The universal theme that the film deals with also stands out because the characters do not have personal names.
The big budget has contributed to the fact that the actors from the Hollywood A list lend their votes to the heroes, which means that it is difficult to find a flaw. Jeff Bridges is simply the perfect choice for the character of a pilot, his humming with the benevolence of the character whose interpreters are certainly the brightest point of the film, especially because everyone knows a man like a pilot – old, gray and constantly smiling. Rachel McAdams lends her voice to her mother, and in supporting roles include, among others, Marion Cotillard, Benicio Del Toro, James Franco and Paul Giamatti. Still, I can’t help but get the impression that I’d rather watch the French version.