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Now showing in Hong Kong

Film review: The Little Prince – beautiful adaptation of a beloved book takes flight

This slow burner is a labour of love, full of care and craftsmanship, that your own Little Prince (or Princess) will warm to, even if it lacks the high-intensity pacing of a Pixar or DreamWorks film

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 December, 2015, 1:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 December, 2015, 4:23pm

It may be inspired by one of the most beloved children’s books ever written, but The Little Prince is a tough sell. Put next to the slick animations Hollywood regularly delivers, this French-made film lacks, deliberately, the high-intensity pacing, rainbow colours or cute appeal that dominate animations made in the Pixar/DreamWorks era

Still, even if the kids are left wanting more, purists will doubtless be pleased with Mark Osborne’s reverential take on Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s 1943 tale of a pilot and a young space traveller.

Framing Saint-Exupery’s story inside a computer-animated modern-day setting that’s absent from the book, it introduces us to the Little Girl (voiced by Interstellar’s Mackenzie Foy), who lives with her mother (Rachel McAdams) and is readying herself for prep school. Next door is an eccentric Aviator (Jeff Bridges), whom the Little Girl befriends, and he tells her the story of the titular Prince (voiced by Riley Osborne, the director’s son) and his beloved Rose (Marion Cotillard).

Beautifully rendered in stop-motion, this story within a story is undoubtedly the film’s high point before it dips back down for a rather more mundane modern-day mid-section. The film does take flight again in the final third, as the Little Girl goes on an adventure of her own, finally meeting the Prince (now voiced by Paul Rudd) herself.

To say more of that would give away something that should be left a surprise. But the result is a labour of love, full care and craftsmanship – even if your own Little Prince (or Princess) may take time warming to it.

The Little Prince opens on December 24