Sometimes it is easy to underestimate the impact or potential stories animated films could have, especially when they seem to be made for children, but The Little Prince rivals, if not surpasses, any and all animated media you might be used to.
Characters Worth Noting
The Little Prince (Riley Osborne / Paul Rudd) | The Aviator (Jeff Bridges) | The Mother (Rachel McAdams) | The Little Girl (Mackenzie Foy)
Main Storyline (with Commentary)
At its heart, The Little Prince is about growing up but not losing yourself to becoming “essential.” Also, it is about dealing with the loss of childhood, but not forgetting your inner child. Take The Aviator for example. It isn’t necessarily clear what this man did all his life, but even at his old age he knows how to have fun, laugh, and is the odd adult amongst the very uniform suburban neighborhood. One which The Little Girl’s Mother moves to just to put her into a better school, to make it so she has the knowledge to be essential, and maybe dodge some of the bad choices she herself made.
At first, the Little Girl is as committed to this 10 to 20-minute interval schedule as her mother is, but her child-like curiosity hasn’t died yet. Her need for some sort of attention, someone to share her thoughts on an unfamiliar world, thoughts that haven’t been lost to what we often use science or logic to explain, she needs someone to explore this with. So when The Aviator comes into her life telling this story about a Little Prince, he comes into her life just when she needs him. And he leaves her with a story that changes the way she not only currently lives, but how she was live as she becomes an adult.
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.
— The Little Prince
The animation, both CGI and stop motion, is pretty. In terms of the CGI, you can’t help but admire the detail in the girl’s eyes, for example, the reflection of The Little Prince’s story against her eyes. Then, when it comes to the stop motion, the way hair, tails, and scarves flow is just mesmerizing. It sort of reminds me of the time before you knew how everything was done and made, so when you saw a movie like this, it just seemed like magic.
Admittedly, I’m perhaps not that big on subtlety. I want as many details as possible for I know my time with any character presented is finite. But sometimes not being told everything is just as effective if done right. Like with why the mom decides to be so hard on her daughter. You don’t need either to spell it out for in every other way other than saying it, you are shown the reasoning behind the mother’s actions. Be it because she works so hard and wants an easier life for her daughter, because with the absent father she needs to know her sacrifices aren’t in vain, and there are a slew of other theories as to why and there is a beauty in being able to color inside the lines.
When it comes to animated media, or just media which seems geared toward children, increasingly there is an attempt to both entertain and present either social issues, like Zootopia did, or even present, at times, heavy-handed lessons like you see on Girl Meets World. This movie walks that thin line and doesn’t teeter to one or the other, it almost masterfully dances on that tightrope. For whether it is about loneliness, loved ones dying or becoming too distant to touch, growing up and worrying more so about being essential vs. doing what makes you feel alive, and so much more, this movie somehow packs it all in there. All the while, it doesn’t bore you, feel like it is being preachy, but just naturally, through The Little Girl, The Aviator, The Little Price, and the rest of the cast, present things to think about, maybe talk about if you are watching it with a kid, and honestly, I just feel like I haven’t seen a movie this good in a while.