“I have always wanted to find someone to share my story with, but…
I don’t know…
I guess this world just got too grown-up.”
The beauty of friendship is how varied and distinctly different each can be from the other. It is this flexibility and fluidity of the bond that, perhaps, makes it one of the most splendidly fascinating ways humans connect. Directed by Mark Osborne, The Little Prince, an animated film adaptation of the celebrated French children’s novella of the same name by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, attempts to explore just that. The film is a whimsically crafted masterpiece that delves deep into friendship and the importance of retaining the colour of childhood even as one grows up.
The Little Prince, thus, manages to draw viewers in from the very beginning through the colourful and colourless array of characters whose stories it brings to life. And, it is by attempting to bridge the gap between the colourful and the colourless that it manages to create magic out of thin air, transporting the audience into the lives of the people whose stories the film tells.
The film is a story within a story. There is the story of the aviator and the little girl, and that of the little prince finding his way back to his rose. The transition from one story to the next is seamless and smooth, woven together with detailed dialogue and character building. And, it is quite wondrous to behold how well the interactions between the characters mingle together to bring the central theme of the story to light.
Though friendship maybe the central theme of the film, it would be dismissive to leave out how far the themes of the movie can be extended to our lives as we live them today, and how the many themes brought to light in the film serve as a warning to the dangers of conformity — the danger of conforming to be a cog in the machine.
This is noticeable from the very beginning of the film, where the little girl’s mother creates a “life plan” for her, planned to the last excruciating detail, to ensure her success in the future. To ensure that she follows the set path of success that everyone in the film pursues in order to become a brainless, exhausted thing as devoid of personality as a rock.
The aviator’s character, then, serves as a stark contrast to the grey and dull conformity of the film. He is more like a child than the little girl herself. And it is this role reversal that leads the audience to experience how wonderfully life altering a mere friendship can be. Oftentimes, we tend to take friendships for granted. However, The Little Prince succeeds by giving gravity and depth to each friendship portrayed, bringing into being the adjoining themes of the movie through them.
And, the end result? Joy. One feels an entire spectrum of emotions as they watch the film, and they are left speechless as they witness the sheer power of camaraderie and how powerful it is, how strong at the face of adversity. It is marvellous to witness how deep a mark it etches in the souls of these characters. Finally, one comes out of the entire experience, rejuvenated. Refreshed by the beautiful message that the movie spreads — “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
And, now, the final question. Does the film measure up to the book? Yes, it does. Instead of taking away anything from the book itself, the film adds a brand new perspective. The perspective of the readers through the character of the little girl. And in doing so, it defies many readers’ assumptions that “the book is always better than the movie”.
When it comes to the film adaptation of The Little Prince — the story woven in the film, despite deviating from the original text, is a marvel to witness in its entirety. The simplistic and engaging style of the story belies a number of important themes that the film brings to vivid life through its characters — the most important of them being the lasting effect of friendship, and how it is our friends who serve as emblems of our childhood, never letting us forget what it means to see with our hearts.
The writer, a curly bigfoot, is a part of the TDA Editorial Team.