Will not be released in the United States (the original release date, March 18th, has been taken off). God damn it. Therefore, I don’t think I’ll feel any shame in revealing spoilers, since there doesn’t seem to be any release date. I’ll still try not to make this review too long, though.
We follow the story of a young girl whose mother is, without a doubt, the worst case of helicopter parents I have ever seen, setting up her daughter for scholar success and nothing else. Social life? Which kid needs that? Is it really that important? They move closer to the school the mother desperately wants her daughter to get in, and it turns out they live right next the aviator of the story, now a very old man. The young girl actually meets him on her first days in her new place, and soon starts visiting him behind her mother’s back. The Aviator tells her his encounter with the Little Prince.
This movie gets very creative in its framing device; the main story with the young girl, her mother and the Aviator is shown in CGI, while the Aviator’s story is shown with stop-motion animation. The story from the book is re-told through vignettes, whether it’s the Little Prince growing the rose on Asteroid B612, visiting the other asteroids, then landing on Earth where he befriends a fox. He later meets the Aviator, who crashed in a desert, and they spend time together as the Aviator repairs his plane and the Little Prince tells his life story.
Meanwhile, the young girl has nearly stopped following the strict schedule set up by her mother, and visits the Aviator every day, and hears his story as he repairs his plane. He even offers her a fox plushie. After the Aviator makes a mistake, the mother finds out about this friendship and enforces her schedule. As if that wasn’t enough, the young girl and the Aviator end up having a major disagreement near the end of the Little Prince story and she breaks their friendship. Sometime later, the Aviator is hospitalized. Thinking he needs the help from the Little Prince, one night the young girl climbs aboard the plane and flies off, with the fox plush as her co-pilot, in space in search of the Little Prince.
Everything from that point on is original material that meshes the two elements of the framing device, and the young girl’s quest to find the Little Prince takes her to an asteroid that is all a giant city where adults work, and without a single child in sight. And from there, she starts looking around… and honestly, I should just stop there.
The movie does try to recapture the spirit of the original book, at least in the stop-motion scenes. And those are beautiful. The CGI scenes with the mother are meant to emphasize the joyless life many adults appear to live and how they often raise children into having the same life as them, that is, a life where all that counts is work and nothing else. The Aviator is meant to represent those who grow up with still this kind of childish joy and charm that adults often manage to keep within them as they grow up. As he says, “growing up is not the problem; forgetting is”. A good morale if there ever was one. The contrast between the young girl’s house and the Aviator’s is also very interesting. Also of note, no character in the entire movie has a given name, as you may have noticed so far; the young girl, the mother, the aviator and any other character introduced in the film’s runtime. The third act ties up most encounters in the original story of The Little Prince into a cohesive story, though how well they succeeded, and how well they kept the spirit of the book, is up to the viewer. Thankfully, the animation is absolutely marvelous, from beginning to end, a real treat to see.
I personally enjoyed the third act, though you might not. You should try to find this movie and watch it, since you won’t be able to see it in theaters in the foreseeable future.