by Sam Robinson
Rated G. Starring Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, Mackenzie Foy. Directed by Mark Osborne.
One of the best family films of the year has arrived – and it’s coming direct to Netflix.
The Little Prince is based on a much-loved French novella, Le Petit Prince, which was published by poet Antoine de Saint-Exupéry back in 1943. Director Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda) has brought this beautiful watercolour book to life, mixing the original drawings with stop motion animation, and modern CGI, and the end result is just delightful.
The film centres on an unnamed little girl (Foy), who moves to a new house with her mother. It’s summer break, and the girl’s mother sets into place a serious study routine for her each day in the hopes that she will gain entry into a prestigious Academy. But the girl soon becomes distracted by her eccentric neighbour, The Aviator (Bridges), an old man with a plane in his backyard. Over time, he tells the girl about the time when he crashed in the Sahara Desert and met The Little Prince, a boy from asteroid B612. The girl discovers more and more about this Prince, and eventually goes on a quest to track him down.
As you’ve probably gathered from the story I’ve described briefly, there’s lots of invention and imagination at work in The Little Prince. Fantasy rules here, and trying to make sense of the story and goings-on will only distract you from the fun. There’s plenty of absurdity but it is balanced with emotion. The adventure is brilliant for kids and adults alike, and much is made of “growing up”, a la Peter Pan or Narnia. The animation design emphasises this, through dimly lit greys of the real world where adults are zombies in the workplace, contrasted with the rich, intense hues of B612. It will challenge kids and adults about the enjoyment of life, and making the most of it.
‘It is only with the heart that one can see rightly…’
The Little Prince is filled with observations about life, humanity, creation, and rule. But what stood out to me the most is the way faith is understood. There is much made about having faith from the heart, to see what is invisible to the eye. There is a scene toward the end of the film where a bunch of adults laugh and sneer at a character for believing in childhood and fun, all because they are slaves to the daily grind and believe they are have control. This reminded me about how we who believe in Jesus are mocked for our belief, yet we believe from the heart that Jesus is Lord. Romans 10:10 –
‘For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.’
People will laugh at us for believing what they believe to be “fairy tales”, and will try and influence and shape our thinking. But if our hearts trust that Jesus is Lord, then we can be bold to stand up for, and speak, the truth – no matter how small others might make us feel. As the Little Prince declares, ‘I’m not hopeless, I’m hopeful!’
The Verdict: The Little Prince is a gorgeous film, perfect for a family night in. It’s so wonderful to see such a popular book brought to life for the world to see, and executed so well. 4.5/5
The Little Prince premieres on Netflix in the US, UK and Australia this Friday, 5th August.