In the last decade or so, audiences have been inundated with sequels, spin offs, & reboots. Many of them tend lớn blend together into something of a flavorless, visual mush, intent on making ngân hàng through nostalgia farming or a shiny coat of paint on an old franchise. Rarely bởi such adaptations display an identity markedly different from their source material, & even more rarely bởi vì they vày so with a kind of affectionate tenderness towards said source. But there is one film that goes above & beyond to lớn honour its original source, và the result is a masterful work blending fresh new perspectives with lovingly crafted homages to the original work.

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The Little Prince is a novella that was written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry back in the 1940s. The short book và its accompanying illustrations are considered the author's chef-d'oeuvre, having been translated into over 300 different languages and reaching worldwide acclaim & acknowledgement. The story follows a young boy who lives on a small planet within the vastness of space. He falls in love with a rose that has bloomed on his planet, but both of them are overwhelmed with their feelings, & the young boy leaves. Hitching a ride with a flock of migrating birds, he leaves his small planet and travels to others, along the way meeting a myriad of different 'grown ups', including our narrator. Though intended lớn be a children's book, Saint-Exupéry explores emotionally complex subjects in a way that speaks not only khổng lồ how a child might view them, but how adults struggle to giảm giá with them, & how we all, as people, might view and grapple with them in our lives. Love, loneliness, friendship, & perhaps most poignantly, loss. The book is a strange and fantastical fairy-tale for the young, & a strange but magical metaphor for the human experience for the old.


Such a statement is also true for the năm ngoái film The Little Prince. Blending both beautifully stylistic 3d computer animation và skilfully crafted stop motion, the film utilizes a unique method of tying back khổng lồ it's source material. It is neither a reboot, a spin off or a direct adaptation, but rather a story that is separate from the original plot of the novella - for the most part. The happenings in the original story are used instead as a story within a story, something of a framing device for the plot of the film. The story of the film follows a young girl who's mother has moved both of them lớn a specific neighborhood in order lớn have her attend a prestigious school after she failed the admittance interview. She strikes up a friendship with her elderly neighbor who has been writing & illustrating his recollection of his encounters with the Little Prince. The film leads us lớn believe that the elderly neighbor is the Aviator, the narrator of the original The Little Prince novella, who met the Prince when his plane crashed in the Sahara Desert. Through the use of these loose-leaf manuscripts, the Aviator shares the story of the Little Prince with the girl in increments. He shares major plot points of the original story, such as how the Little Prince needs to lớn maintain his planet in order to lớn prevent an infestation of baobab trees, how he falls in love with a rose, the grown-ups he meets on other planets. Also how he ends up on Earth, befriends a fox, meets the Aviator, & finally, how the Little Prince succumbs khổng lồ a venomous snake bite in order to return to lớn his home. When the Aviator tells the girl that one day, he too must leave to lớn be with the Little Prince in a similar way, she rejects both him và the story and wishes to have never known of either of them. She attempts khổng lồ forget the Aviator & the Little Prince until the Aviator is taken khổng lồ the hospital, & she decides to lớn run away lớn find the Little Prince in hopes of saving the Aviator.


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Image Via Paramount Pictures
But before we touch on the later plot points of the the film's story, it's important khổng lồ understand more about both the world in which The Little Prince (2015) is set và the story details of the original novella. The film takes place in a world that, though exaggerated, is not unlike our own. The setting itself and how the characters view it functions as something of a critique of first-world work culture. The purpose of life is to work, more specifically, khổng lồ work the kind of 9-5 plus overtime corporate office job that slowly chips away at even the most dedicated worker's will to lớn live. All adults in this world are well groomed, suit-and-tie wearing, perfectly conformative và productive cogs in the ever-running machine that is the working world. Children in this world are not viewed as children, but as beings that, from day one, are lớn be molded và expected khổng lồ act the same as the adults of the world. The word 'essential' comes up multiple times in the film and is directly tied khổng lồ the all-consuming work culture the film portrays. From posters in the halls of the children's academy reading 'What Will You Be When You Grown Up? Essential.' to signs in a corporate office building reading 'Be Essential', the idea of being 'essential' is synonymous with being productive in a way that benefits the company you work for, & nothing else. You bởi vì not work lớn live, rather, you live lớn work; productivity is the sole goal of existence.


As a result, the children of this world are more or less not allowed a childhood. Our main character, for example, has her entire life planned out for her - quite literally. Her mother develops a 'life plan' - a massive chart full of sliding buttons that describe tasks she has to complete in order to have the 'perfect life'. From a rigorous work schedule detailed down "to the minute of the hour lớn the hour of the day lớn the day of the week to the week of the month to the month of the year to lớn the year of life", she is awarded neither a childhood nor the agency lớn live & choose freely. This all-consuming 'adulthood' is a life that she's enthusiastic to live, for she's known nothing else - until she meets the Aviator. The Aviator is elderly, & by his own admission, he has 'grown up', but with a very imporant stipulation: he has not forgotten. As the girl & the Aviator form a friendship, he tells her that he's 'spent a great giảm giá khuyến mãi of time amongst grown ups' & still doesn't understand them. When the girl states that she isn't sure if she ever wants lớn grow up, the Aviator tells her something important: "Growing up is not the problem, forgetting is." and that is the crux of why the world they inhabit is as it is. Everyone has forgotten what it is lớn be a child. Everyone has forgotten those feelings of light joy, the carefree laughter, the wonder at the world around them.


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Image Via Paramount Pictures
It is exactly these feelings that the original novella tackles, in it's own 20th century context. The narrator in the original novella describes in the beginning of the book how he wished to lớn be an artist, but the grown ups around him didn't understand his fanciful drawings, instead steering him towards fields that the contemporary film portrays as 'essential' - maths and sciences. It is through these criticisms that the narrator forced himself khổng lồ 'grow up' in the beginning of the book, causing him khổng lồ forget his own childhood in the way those in the năm ngoái film do. These struggles are handled perfectly within The Little Prince (2015), with both the older 1940 world và the contemporary 2010 world paralleling each other within the narrative. But, despite the near-century wide gap between these two worlds, the issue feels equated, thanks lớn the connecting thread that is the character of the Little Prince.

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Through the film, the Little Prince as an entity is twofold. In the initial half of the movie, when we're exploring the excerpts from the Aviator's manuscripts (and, by extention, the excerpts from the original novella), we're following the Aviator's metaphorical journey of coming to lớn terms with concepts lượt thích the loss of a loved one, the rediscovery of childhood & a more childlike and optimistic perspective, and how love shapes us & our actions. These interactions with the Little Prince are presented in stopmotion, with the visuals styled in paper & clay. In the latter half of the film, when the girl is interacting with the Little Prince face to lớn face, these scenes are intended as her own separate metaphorical journey through these same concepts. These are styled in the same 3d computer animation as the rest of the film. The Aviator and the girl's journeys as people khổng lồ unravel the human experience are metaphorically shown in this way, they both grow with and through the stories & interactions with the Little Prince. He is as much a conduit for growth, discovery and reconciliation as he is a character of his own. This combination of stories, of both the original Little Prince narrative & the narratives of these two new people, mesh together into something just as powerful as the original in that sense.


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Image Via Paramount Pictures
The concept of 'growing up' & the condition of adults is also further delved into in the same sort of combined form. In the original novella, the Prince meets several adults on multiple planets that embody a desire, compulsion or aspect of expected adulthood. They all have rather straightforward names that describe their roles: Le Roi (The King), Le Vaniteux (The Concieted Man), Le Buveur (The Drunkard), Le Businessman (self-explanatory), and Le Alumeur de Réverbères (The Street Lamp Lighter). Each of these five adults represents some aspect of adulthood. The King embodies the desire to be powerful và in control, even though he lacks any real semblance of those things. The Concieted Man is the desire to lớn be applauded, praised and admired. The Drunkard is the vice of drinking, specifically drinking to lớn forget one's hardships. The Businessman is a corporate worker whose job is to count the stars, which he completes again and again in the hopes of one day accumulating a massive fortune. The Street Lamp Lighter lights a single street lamp on his small planet over & over, doing a job because it is his job, despite it having no real purpose.

Though there are five adults in the story, only three appear in the năm ngoái film - The King, The Concieted Man, and The Businessman - the film utilizes these adults in both the Aviator's experiences with the Prince & the girl. Though the interactions with these adults is reflective of the original book in the Aviator's journey, they differ within the girl's journey. In the latter half of the film, when the girl sets out to find the Little Prince to lớn save her friend, she finds herself on a planet inhabited entirely by grown ups. The entire surface is covered in bleak, blocky office buildings that resemble the skyscrapers within the snowglobes that the girl's forever-working father sends her each year, a perfect visual representation of 'work'. Sharply cornered roads cut around these office buildings, on which adults drive in angled black cars và walk endlessly to & from their jobs. The King has been relegated lớn an elevator operator, using his benevolent power lớn bring office workers to their desired floors. The Concieted Man is a police officer with a massive constible's hat, performing a job that others admire. & the Businessman has become the CEO of a massive corporation that employs a legion of drab, colorless adults, saddened versions of the crisp, flawless grown ups of the girl's world.


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Image Via Paramount Pictures
With this corporation, the Businessman collects anything that he deems 'inessential' - toys, games, even the stars from the sky - và grinds them down into things that are 'essential', primarily, office supplies. The girl's journey also has an added adult character: The Teacher. This teacher, like the other adults and like the Prince himself, are metaphorical beings through which the characters come to grips with real-world concepts. For the girl, he takes the size of one of the judges during her failed academy interview, & later on, her real life teacher, but in the metaphorical realm, he is the representative of a strictly measured school curriculum, one which forcibly squeezes students into a single standardized method of learning, grinding them through a school system of tests and memorization until they pop out the other side as an adult just like every other adult in the girl's world. He is the one who, in the girl's story, forced the Little Prince lớn 'grow up', both physically & mentally, a representation of her fear that one day, she will vị the same. One day she'll grow up và forget, and it's only through her determination that the Little Prince, and by extension, her, will rediscover và fully grab hold of what it is she never wanted lớn forget.


Books và films have the capacity to lớn speak to lớn an audience in a way few other things can. One that acknowledges và explores someone's particular situation in life, be it through literal or metaphorical means. These forms of truyền thông can sit fondly in one's mind for the rest of their lives, they can change one's perspective of themselves or the world around them, they can bring a person hope, they can serve as a khung of comfort. For many, that's what the novella, The Little Prince does and, unexpectedly, this more recent film adaptation not only understands the emotional impact of the original work, but creates it's own unique but comparable footprint. Very rarely vì movie adaptations of any property, let alone of a beloved classic work of literature, so fully and completely grasp the point of the original work, let alone expand upon it as thoughtfully & as meaningfully as The Little Prince (2015) does. Not only does this film carry the messages, scenes & characters from the original story in lovingly-rendered detail, but it further develops them. It takes that same metaphorical method of exploration of love, loss, friendship, và loneliness, và it runs with it, crafting a story that, lượt thích the novella, functions as both an entertaining, fun story and a deep-dive into the human condition in both a broad và more narrowed scope. This movie is not a sequel, it is not a spin off, it is not a reboot, it might not even really be an adaptation. This film is a love letter, a beautifully written, grateful và loving work made khổng lồ celebrate its source material.