09 Dec Fiction Nation: What is Essential (Can Also Be Seen on Film)
Hi, Cheer Readers! Welcome to another edition of Fiction Nation, where we geek out over adaptations of our favorite novels. You can read previous posts here.
It’s been almost a year since KB wrote about the trailer for The Little Prince adaptation and now the movie’s out!
Warning: spoilers ahead. So if you haven’t seen the movie yet, go to the nearest cinema, watch it, then come back here to share your thoughts. 🙂
We all know the story of the Little Prince: his rose, his intergalactic travels, his fox and his return to his planet, all told by the Aviator stranded in the Sahara desert. The movie isn’t an exact adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novella but is instead a re-telling of it, with the Aviator now an elderly man living next door to the film’s protagonist, an unnamed little girl.
After she fails to pass the entrance exam to a prestigious prep school, the Little Girl and her mom move to a cookie-cutter neighborhood, where everyone leaves for work precisely at the same time (imagine the traffic).
As for the Little Girl, the rest of her summer, from the weeks to the days to the minutes, is supposed to be spent preparing for school, according to the “life plan” created by her mother. But the plan is disrupted when a plane from the next-door neighbor crashes into their house and introduces the Aviator to the Little Girl’s life. He tells her of a little boy he met in the desert and the girl’s would-be grey summer suddenly becomes colorful.
First off, I can only imagine the courage it took for the filmmakers to tackle such a well-loved classic.What if they effed it up? I know there was a live action adaptation back in 1974 (I remember watching it in school but I don’t remember anything about it…), but with today’s social media, people can be quite vicious in their criticisms.
Thankfully this movie wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I felt that it was able to strike a balance between portraying the novel and adding a new story on top of it. The theme of child wonderment is never forgotten even after the Little Prince’s adventure ends the the Little Girl’s begins.
The stop motion animation depicting the Little Prince’s story was beautiful and charming. I wanted to watch more of the film in that style but alas, we had to revert back to the Little Girl’s CG reality most of the time.
The only thing I didn’t like about it was the grown-up version of the Little Prince. Yes! He grew up! In the latter part of the film, the Little Girl goes on this fantastical journey to search for the Little Prince and she lands in a planet inhabited only by adults (the odd kind, the ones that count stars but never look at them). Here, the Little Prince has forgotten who he was and is jittery and nervous about losing his job. He’s done the one thing that disillusions adults, according to the Aviator, “Growing up is not the problem. Forgetting is.”
It was a bit heartbreaking, like meeting your childhood hero and finding out they’re a jerk (he wasn’t a jerk, though, just lost). I had hoped that they wouldn’t actually go down this route but they did. Does that make the film bad? Not really. It was just unsettling.
Overall, I thought The Little Prince did a good job of introducing this classic children’s story to today’s younger audience. The film was visually captivating and the new narrative still has the familiar formula for Disney/ Pixar kids to have something to hold on to.