Growing up, I loved the book The Little Prince. I never got around to seeing the 1974 film adaptation, though I probably will sometime in the future. But I was really looking forward to seeing this new animated version.
Going in, I was concerned about the framing device that was added to the story. But initially, it looks like it’s gonna work. The first two acts are just about perfect in how they weave the classic book and the new modern story together. The cinematography, the music, and the different animation styles all lend themselves to great filmmaking, and the film is really on a roll.
But the film changes very abruptly as the third act arrives. It’s like at that exact moment a new director took over. We’re taken through an extended fantasy sequence in a dystopian society, with an adult Little Prince and a handful of action scenes.
And it wouldn’t be so bad if it were just a brief dream sequence, but its basically the entire third act. And it doesn’t feel like the same movie anymore. The least they could have done was make the fantasy scene stop-motion, so it feels like the girl is entering into a fantasy rather than having fantasy characters suddenly become real.
The first two acts are so amazing and they treat the viewer maturely, but the last third almost takes all of that away. As a result, it doesn’t feel like an adaptation of the book. It feels more like fanfiction.
But as fanfics go, it’s not horrible. The acting is nice,the music is really good, and as I said, those first two thirds of the film are quite brilliant. If you can overlook the serious problems in the last third, you’ll probably enjoy the film just fine.
If you want to watch a film about the magic of childhood that makes you feel like a kid but doesn’t talk down to you, just watch Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium instead.