‘The Little Prince’ had promise to be a great animated film. The first trailer I’ve seen of this film made it seem to be a sweet, heartwarming drama about the friendship between an old man (Voiced by Jeff Bridges) and a little girl (Voiced by Mackenzie Foy) as they experience the story of ‘The Little Prince’. (titled “Le Petit Prince” in France, where the story first originated) I expected emotion, heart, and tears to stream down my face by the time the film ended; what I got was a plot element that needed to be worked on more. As a movie however, ‘The Little Prince’ seems to do well with what it’s presenting. It is a take on what it is like to lose childhood innocence as you grow older and face the dark cruel world of reality, and a tendency to leave your memories of childhood behind you.
The movie likes to cut back and forth between what is going on with the old man (nicknamed “The Aviator”) and the little girl, who is living a life run by her overworked mother, (Voice of Rachel McAdams) and the story of the titular character (Voiced by Riley Osborne) as he travels to many weird-looking planets run by: The Conceited Man (Voice of Ricky Gervais), The King (Voice of Bud Cort), and The Businessman (Voice of Albert Brooks; is this guy in more animated films now?); all while encountering the love of his life which happens to be a rose (Voice of Marion Cotillard), a fox that has the desire to be tamed (Voice of James Franco), and a slippery snake (Voice of Benicio Del Toro). All these characters are well-casted and add a sense of quiet tenderness to the beautiful stop-motion animation that accompanies its story. On the other side, it is partially computer-animated, which looks as if the film was released in 2007, or if you want to go even further, a high-definition version of a CG film released in 1998. I can’t really let this be a major flaw being that France’s animation is way different from ours. (‘Sausage Party’s animation was done by Nitrogen Studios in Canada, and that film turned out pretty good.) I will however say that the animation doesn’t really help the emotional impact as much, despite being beautiful to look at.
I really wanted ‘The Little Prince’ to be great and put other animated films this year out of the water, but I felt the adventure plot involving the search for the grown-up Prince (Voiced by Paul Rudd) was a detachment from the feelings I wanted to express. Is this a film kids will enjoy? Most definitely! How about parents? I feel those adults who are young at heart and have the sense to keep their imaginations while wanting to feel like a kid again will love this film. I however cannot express my love for this movie for my first view. ‘The Little Prince’ feels like a movie that could and SHOULD be viewed a second time for more feeling. I will say that this movie is only streaming on Netflix, so if you want to see this film in an American theater, that is most likely not going to happen.