From the page to the screen, another children’s story aims to walk the familiar path; this time, Le Petit Prince or The Little Prince, as it’s known in English, is the latest adaptation to make the leap onto screens. The Little Prince, a novella, was penned and illustrated by French writer and pilot Antione de Saint-Exupery, and saw its first publication back in 1943. In The Little Prince, Antione de Saint-Exupery tells the tale of a pilot in the Saharan Desert and his interaction with a young prince who is eager to share with him the secret of what is important in life. Antione de Saint-Exupery aims to provide an intriguing look at perspective as he juxtaposes the young prince’s childhood outlook with the pilot’s adult experiences. Littered with thought-provoking thematic elements, the two distinct ways of thinking the characters have come together in a way which aims to keep audiences captivated as the narrative unfolds.
Since its publication in 1943, The Little Prince has garnered an array of accolades and has subsequently been translated into over 280 languages, assisting this tale in reaching an international audience. The widespread praise of The Little Prince has resulted in author Antione de Saint-Exuper receiving his own award ceremony in his honour, titled the Saint-Exupery Award, which celebrates the best youth books of each year.
In the film adaptation of The Little Prince, Director Mark Osborn utilises a framed narrative to convey the beloved children’s tale; this structure, a narrative technique which places a story within a story, implements a combination of two different art styles. Mark Osborn’s previous works in directing animation feature films have included Kung Fu Panda (2008) and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004). The popularity of The Little Prince has seen it adapted into multiple forms of media, including theatre and radio, and in 2015 Mark Osborn’s film adaptation premiered during the 68th Cannes Film Festival. Thereafter, the film received a French debut in honour of its author; however, it took another year before The Little Prince achieved worldwide distribution.
The English version of The Little Prince seemed to attract a number of prominent celebrities, all sharing their vocal talents in order to bring the story, and its cast of characters, to life. The film adaptation of The Little Prince embraced the voice talents of a number of noticeable celebrities, including Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski, Iron Man), Rachel McAdams (Spotlight, About Time) and Paul Rudd (Ant Man, Anchorman).
A key player which allowed The Little Prince to achieve worldwide distribution was the international streaming service, Netflix; Netflix made the decision to pick up the distribution rights for The Little Prince. The news of this was premiered through a trailer along with a release date of 5th August 2016. With this move Netflix has provided The Little Prince with a platform to share this tale.
From its literary beginnings, The Little Prince makes his way across screens worldwide, sharing childlike wonder and reminding audiences about what may be most important in life. The Little Prince aims to remind audiences to keep hold of their childlike wonder. Through childlike wonder, a theme seen permeating all adaptations, The Little Prince aims to remind audiences to embrace their imagination and curiosity, and through curiosity and discovery perspectives might expand and happiness may be found. Through its story, themes and imaginative artistic style, viewers may be treated to an evocative journey which aims to leave audiences enlightened. The Little Prince is a film which may be appreciated by fans and newcomers alike.
In the words of Antione de Saint-Exupery:
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
The Little Prince is available to stream on Netflix 5th August 2016.
How may a film like The Little Prince evoke more discussions around the importance of keeping an open mind?