The 2015 animated feature, “The Little Prince,” is a French-Canadian retelling of the beloved French novella of the same name. Yet it does have its own charm, beginning with a young American girl whose single mother is determined to get her into the best school (Werth Academy) by over-scheduling her life with study at the loss of childhood play.
The young girl , Violet (voiced by Mackenzie Foy), meets her eccentric neighbor, the Aviator (Jeff Bridges) whose house might be a “fire hazard” and whose collecting might also be viewed as hoarding. He has just recently tried to start up his rickety old faded red airplane. The Aviator has written a story about a Prince (Riley Osborne and then as an adult, Paul Rudd), whom he remembers. His memories are portrayed in stop-motion animation-style that separates the reality (3D animation) from the memories and possible flights of fancy. Here is where we get the story of the Little Prince.
The Aviator, now old, recalls the romance between the Prince and the Rose (Marion Cotillard). In his home, the Girl notices a handcrafted fabric fox stuffed toy who also plays a role, the Fox (James Franco), in the Aviator’s memories.
If you’ve read “The Little Prince,” you know the ending is sad and that sadness and sense of willing and even hopeful denial is also echoed in the storyline of the Aviator, something tragically also part of the life of the novella’s author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. De Saint-Exupéry was an Aviator and his death has been the source of speculation.
“The Little Prince” was originally set to be released in the U.S. in March of 2016 but was dropped by its original distributor and then picked up by Netflix. This is a little gem for children of all ages, particularly those who loved “The Little Prince” (my copy is in French).