I read The Little Prince about a year ago. Why? Because Amazon told me that it is one of 100 books I must read in my lifetime. Bold statement, Amazon! Too bold to ignore. When my second favorite person in the office next to the lunch delivery guy—the mailwoman—hand-delivered my package, I almost forgot that I had ordered a heaping pile of books. I tried to ward off several judgey looks from my colleagues. In the pile, there were some self-help, some strange comics, some fictional dark pits, and then there was this very blue, very cute, hard-bound book. Upon a casual flip-thru, I slowly began to realize that I had, in fact, order a picture book. Less than 100 pages, a large font size, rhythmic words, yes, The Little Prince is a children book.
I went through a mini-5-minute-long-self-crisis. Why did I order a children’s book? What does this say about me? Am I really going through something? What would people think? Ohhhh, these pictures are pretty. Fuckin, Amazon! But it was only $12. A quick self-deprecation naturally led itself to a more levelheaded conclusion—I have the enthusiasm of a child and the attention span of one, too, so shut up and read it. And I am so glad I did because I truly fell in love with it!
The Little Prince touches all aspects of life. If a child wanted the answers to some of life's biggest questions, then the answers would lie in this book. From love, to friendship, and even death, the themes within this book stretch wide and far. I placed my own familiar faces into the characters that Antoine de Saint-Exupéry had so brilliantly developed and made so uncomfortably relevant. As a twenty-something year old, I've obtained more lessons from this book than most reads.
So on a Saturday night, as my boyfriend and I tried to negotiate “health” with a pint of Van Leeuwen’s Vegan Butter Nut Ice Cream…which is amazing by the way, we decided (okay, it was my executive decision) to watch the Netflix Original The Little Prince.
Here are my thoughts (no spoilers, I promise):
Right off the bat, I had very little expectations except the expectations of what 5 stars on the left corner may have on someone right before clicking WATCH. So, okay, so there were some expectations. When the movie began, I was struck almost immediately by the animation quality. My boyfriend immediately noted how the characters’ style and facial shapes look similar to the The Incredibles. But don’t get it twisted, this isn’t a bad thing. I was actually really impressed with how Netflix pulled off an animation movie that is definitely within the same quality and visuals of PIXAR and Disney. From the subtle and emotionally driven facial movements, the angles of the shots, the environment, and colors, they definitely delivered on production.
In terms of the plot, I thought that movie would just follow the book’s storyline but it took it’s own life by placing a young girl at the heart of it. The main character is strong, smart, has imperfections of her own (but in the most adorable way possible!). Injecting the characters and themes from The Little Prince movie, it takes you to a modern day suburban neighborhood (or nightmare) where a single hard-working mother tries to prepare and nurture her daughter's future by creating a very calculated, down to days, hours, and minutes, of what her Summer vacation would be to get her prepared for a prestigious private school. Think Crunchem Hall and Agatha Trunchbull in Matilda. This lifestyle is then corrupted, thank god, by a hippie, ex-pilot, old grandfather-like figure who doesn’t lead a cookie cutter life like his neighbors and pretty much everyone around him. With a ton of adventure, a plethora of tender and heart-warming yet tasteful moments, The Little Prince movie is it’s own movie with The Little Prince book making large cameos and theme-weaves throughout the film. It actually hits all the themes within the book including death which is a little dark for a children’s movie, but don’t worry, this film does a great job of bringing up topics, like death, and making it light, enlightening, and ultimately refreshing.
The only thing that disappointed me in this movie would be that the characters of The King, The Vain One, and The Businessman were not as well developed, as I would have liked it to be. There aren’t many characters in the book to begin with and I do believe that they each hold a significant symbolic interjection of people in everyone’s life. I wish the director gave the three characters I mentioned a bit more backstory or were just better developed.
Overall, I will have to say that this movie is now one of my Top 10 Favorite Animated Movies. I don’t say that lightly. So watch it! Read the book, but also watch it right now! You’ll thank me later.
Photo by Daniela Spector
By Lynn Kim Do