Friday, 1 April 2016

REVIEW - THE LITTLE PRINCE (MARK OSBORNE)


So few films ever come close to replicating the sensation of bedazzled wonderment experienced as a child, merely upon watching a film. An event so mundane, an effect so momentous. For me, only one film since adolescence has achieved such a replication - it is not The Little Prince, though Mark Osborne's animated film is the only one since that other (Spirited Away, ftr) to recall that sensation. Like the films of my childhood, these are animated fantasies; more than just plain old association, rather an essential similarity - what better medium than animation to express the endless possibilities of thought and wonder that resonate through the mind of a pre-pubescent person? The Little Prince is directly concerned with this notion, celebrating not only the imagination, but specifically one's own choice to engage with it, to nurture it as life gets in its way, to yield to it for comfort and inspiration, as one does to a film, perhaps in pursuit of that sensation of bedazzled wonderment. As such, this animated feature has its obligatory (or is it necessary?) moral, but it is one as relevant to you or I as to those whose age still wavers down in single figures. Likewise, Osborne's artistry - his evocative colour palettes, his compelling use of shape and space (observed so peculiarly rarely in animation) - should prove as wonderful to children as they will be wondrous to adults. It's in his astute touch, forceful but not overbearing, that this potentially aggressive update of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's novel finds a genuinely convincing purpose to its own inventions, thereby honouring its source by embellishing it, whereas so many similar adaptations desecrate theirs thus. The Little Prince is quite the rare find, and in that alone, it provokes in me more than just a hint of bedazzled wonderment!