Cannes Film Festival: The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince)

Directed by Mark Osborne
Starring in English: Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Mackenzie Foy, James Franco, Marion Cotillard, Benicio Del Toro, Ricky Gervais, Riley Osborne and Albert Brooks
Starring in French: Florence Foresti, André Dussollier, Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel, Guillaume Gallienne, Vincent Lindon and Laurent Lafitte

by Joanna Orland

Director of Kung Fu Panda, Mark Osborne adapts the beloved work of Antoine de Saint Exupéry – The Little Prince, or Le Petit Prince as it’s known in French.  In the same vain as how Antoine’s original story has been translated into many languages throughout the world, so has Osborne’s film, screening in both English and French at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.  In either language, the verdict is the same – The Little Prince is half masterpiece and half Hollywood trite.

The trite in question is the CGI animated story arc of a little girl whose overachieving mother moves her into a house next door to a quirky aviator who tells the girl stories of The Little Prince.  A hackneyed plot device to modernize The Little Prince story for today’s audience, this whole portion of the film seems contrived and bog-standard as far as typical animation style and content goes.

And then there is The Little Prince himself – the masterpiece in question.  Animated beautifully in stop-motion, the story of The Little Prince within The Little Prince is stunning.  Brimming with personality and artful animation, this section of the film is a true ode to Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s original vision.  This is the story of The Little Prince that Osborne should have told, rather than dumbing and watering the concept down for his audience.

This film so nearly could have been as beloved as Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s original story, but sadly the appeal is essentially invisible to the eye.

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