lepetitprince lepetitprince
Feature Film

First Look: ‘The Little Prince’ from ‘Kung Fu Panda’ Director Mark Osborne

Here’s the first full trailer for the French animated feature Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) directed by Kung Fu Panda director Mark Osborne.

The CGI film will be released on October 7, 2015 in France by Paramount Pictures. An American release date has not been set, but Paramount Vantage has already picked up the U.S. distribution rights.

The $80 million film—is this the most expensive French animated feature of all-time?—is an adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic 1943 novella The Little Prince, but it also has a wrap-around story about a contemporary girl discovering the book through a reclusive elderly neighbor.

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Exupéry’s book is the most-translated French-language book of all time and has sold nearly 150 million copies worldwide. Director Orson Welles attempted unsuccessfully to adapt it into an animated feature with Hugh Harman and Mel Shaw in the 1940s.

This new film was produced primarily by Mikros Image in Montreal, Canada, where Osborne himself has been headquartered.

(Thanks, Gerard Lopez, via Cartoon Brew’s Facebook group)

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  • zoomie

    looks BEAUTIFUL

  • Lori

    Not sure how I feel about the look of the 3D, but the stop motion used for the Little Prince looks like it was a great choice. It captures a lot of the charm and personality of the original illustrations that might not translate successfully to 2D or CGI. It’s a new interpretation while staying true to the source. It reminds me of the Moomin stop motion shorts.

  • Mike

    I don’t know why they felt the need to tack a frame story onto a classic story that holds up perfectly well on its own–and then show us more of that than the good part, no less. The quasi-stop motion aesthetic of the Prince story looks nice and seems fitting though. I’m excited to see more of that.

    • Axolotl

      The original story does not have the prescribed number of ‘beats.’ (Also I can’t even remember what the inciting incident was. I think maybe it was when the python ate the elephant.)

    • Maybe someone will edit together a “classic cut”, and edit out the b-story. But really, this is the age of alternative tv animation and a rebirth of the comix scene, it’s continuously demonstrated that modern audiences don’t need a generic cut-out narrative with character development at all the right places and correct number of story beats, there isn’t really a need for one in the first place.

      I’m not against a b-plot to frame the main story, I’m just a little disappointed that the angle it appears to be going for looks like familiar, non-innovative ground.

  • AddiePray

    Not an easy book to adapt, since it is lacking in a strong, singular narrative drive, so I think the framing story could be a wise move. It could contextualize the more philosophical musings of the original book and preserve its charm without needing to add antagonists, action, or a three-act structure to a story that is so well-loved in part because it exudes beauty and meaning without those things. And the stop-motion/paper aesthetic is gorgeous.

  • Matt

    I may be wrong on this but the stop motion part I believe is CG as well. As far as commenting on story, how bout we wait till we actually see it to make a judgement call.

  • Chicken McPhee

    Looks good, though the trailer doesn’t directly translate for me. It looks like some alternative adaptation of an adaptation of the book.

  • Kusanagi

    Looks promising. I hope it gets an English-subtitled version released, so I can see it.

    • Mike

      I believe the movie is actually produced in English, and has a French dub here. The sources I’ve seen about it list it as starring a bunch of American actors like Jeff Bridges and James Franco.

    • phil

      No need, the original version is in english

  • J

    The thing is, i think the book would be almost impossible to translate tastefully into a conventional animated film. The type of film that would be funded to the tune of $80,000,000. I love the book because it’s so wistful and dreamlike, if you were to try solidifying its elements into something concrete it would lose its charm. So i understand why they chose to wrap it in a more conventional story. The fact that the film makers understand this is kinda exciting in itself. Remember that awful little prince 3d series? They just didn’t get it.

  • The stop-motion part looks astoundingly beautiful, not so sure about the 3D though… especially the chara design.

    Also, “rediscover an ageless story like you’ve never seen it before !” …. sigh.

  • steepertree

    Orson Welles and Hugh Harman? That would have made an interesting and difficult collaboration.

  • DJM

    Half of it is absolutely sublime. Then they had to throw in those generic models for the real world. I am half bursting with joy that something so beautiful can come from one my favorite books. While the other half is a puddle of quivering disappointment. Fuck. I’ll still see it. It just might be a start of decent trend.

  • Bob

    Seems more like a tribute than an adaptation to me. Pointless

    • Which was pretty much what the Japanese-animated TV series went with as well.

  • I wonder how much of the actual Little Prince story is in the movie

  • Pedro Nakama

    I’m guessing it was a good thing he left DreamWorks.

  • The stop motion IS stop motion. Just to be clear.

    • jojo

      Could you tell us more about the film ? The proportion of the stop-motion parts versus the parts with the little girl for example ?

  • Guest

    FYI, here is a production that was developped in parallel with The Little Prince. Same producers, same studio (Mikros Image), less costly, headed by Alexandre Heboyan and Benoit Philippon. ‘Mune, the guardian of the Moon’ is a french production but the first trailer available (released today) is italian :

    https://it.cinema.yahoo.com/video/mune-il-guardiano-della-luna-083610497.html

    It will be released in France in April, and in Italy in February.

  • K

    I am not at all convinced by this trailer that The Little Prince is a book that ought to be adapted into film form. Some things are best left to the individual imagination, especially such an otherworldy book like this one. I also I wish we would start exercising more imagination when it comes to making animated or live action films rather than repeatedly attempting to regurgitate existing works and falling back on the same old bug-eyed CGI animation style for every single big budget animation production these days. The only saving grace is the lovely papery style of the stop motion which suits the illustrations, but I’d probably prefer to just look at the illustrations rather than sit through more CGI happy endings with spoon-fed narratives and morality lessons.

  • Marc Hendry

    The Pixar-y CG looks better than the new Pixar movie. And the stop motion looks GORGEOUS

  • FM Hansen

    The stop motion stuff looks wonderful and gives the movie a real charm. The 3D not so much, but who knows maybe they make it all work together in the end.

  • AxelRex

    The Stop-mo looks awesome! Glad to hear it’s the real deal. The 3D/CGI looks a little meh, but I think it’s great to combine different styles and workflows within one feature anyway. Before Jamie Caliri chimed in I was actually having a tough time accepting that the stop-motion part was 3D, glad to see that my CGI detector is still kind of working here in 2014

  • G Melissa Graziano-Humphrey

    I’m really excited to hear you’re working on this too, Jamie!

  • and still the series is nowhere to be found online :@