Opening with the illustration of a hat – actually an snake digesting a elephant – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s global bestseller The Little Prince is an entreaty to adults to see the world through a child’s eyes. It’s taken a while to make it onto the silver screen, yet Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda) keeps the spirit of the novel alive with a framing story of Little Girl (Foy) whose childhood is cut short by her mother’s aspirations of getting her an education at a prestigious academy, but whose friendship with an eccentric aviator (Bridges) leads her into the colourful realms of the imagination.
Despite the heroic sweep of its more overtly adventurous aspects, where Little Girl saves Little Prince from a dystopian planet, the film really shines in its paper and clay stop-motion sequences, which inject into the familiar CG animation a delightful, if all-too-brief, old-school charm. Meanwhile, by bulking out the story with a modern spin and skimping over the childlike wonder of the original, Osborne seems to think Saint-Exupéry’s tale too slight or unconventional for contemporary audiences, leaving The Little Prince somewhat caught between worlds.
The Little Prince | Directed by Marc Osborne (France 2015) with Mackenzie Foy, Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams. Starts December 10