Summer Book Club Review: The Little Prince: The Art of the Movie

Welcome to VGBlogger’s Summer Book Club! All summer long, we will be providing weekly book reviews across a wide range of geek favorite categories, including art, comics/graphic novels, fantasy, gaming, and sci-fi, and welcoming you to join in on book discussions in the comments. So whether you’re heading out for a road trip, going on vacation, lounging beach/poolside on a nice sunny day, relaxing inside away from the summer heat, or simply searching for a good read to fill your free time, follow our Summer Book Club for our top picks of what you should be reading during these hot summertime doldrums. Please enjoy!

TheLittlePrince_ArtBook

After a bit of a bumpy journey to US distribution, with Paramount Pictures deciding at the last minute to drop its theatrical release earlier in the year, the feature film adaptation of the classic French novella The Little Prince finally makes its stateside premiere today via digital streaming on Netflix. Though it looks magical–I get goosebumps every time I watch the trailer–I can’t speak to the movie yet since I am not a Netflix subscriber and thus haven’t seen it. (Please let it get a wider release on Blu-ray some time soon. Pretty, pretty please!)

However, magical sure is an appropriate word to describe the film’s art and making of book, published by Titan Books. Let’s take a look inside, shall we?

Much like the story it’s based on, The Little Prince art book’s whimsical beauty will leave you in childlike awe as you eagerly flip through its 160 pages like it’s a bedtime storybook you never want to end. (It’s literally been my bedtime reading material the past two nights.) The book starts out on a perfect note thanks to a wonderful foreword by Jeff Bridges, in which The Dude himself talks about his preparation for the role as the voice of the Aviator, and weaves in a sweet anecdote about his connection to the story through his relationships with his niece, granddaughter, and three daughters. The movie’s director, Mark Osborne, follows up with an introduction laying out his basic vision for how he decided to adapt the original book into a full-length animated film.

Osborne as well as other key members of the production team, including character designer Peter de Seve, production designers Lou Romano and Celine Desrumaux, artist and puppet designer Alexander Juhasz, stop-motion set designer Corinne Merrell and others, provide insightful commentary about the creative process that went into the blending of CG and stop-motion animation techniques to represent different sides of the beloved story. The use of direct quotes from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s poetic storytelling printed in the margins around the illustrations, doodles, paintings, clay character sculpts, CG models, storyboards, and handcrafted stop-motion puppets, sets, and costumes keeps the imaginative spirit of the original novel alive in your thoughts as you discover Osborne and his team’s artistic interpretation.

The book’s contents are split into two main sections: The “Exploring the Neighborhood” chapter highlights the characters and environments of the Little Girl’s CG half of the story, while the “Exploring the World of Saint-Exupéry” chapter focuses on the Little Prince’s stop-motion story as it is imagined by the Little Girl. Within those main chapters are sections showcasing the works of individual artists, early development and pitch artwork, storyboard development, scene spotlights, and material from the cutting room floor. There are also sections that dig into the different aspects of animation and cinematography, such as lighting and shadow, creating CG cloth and hair, and the complexities of scale and texture.

Anyone with an interest in animation and how movies are made absolutely needs to have this art book in their library. Anyone who simply likes to look at beautiful things can’t go wrong either. It’s both fascinating and inspiring to read about the movie-magic tricks that were used to bring texture, lighting, effects, and different styles of movement to the stop-motion sequences, and to see the process of how a single scene comes together, from painting, to storyboard, to color script, to final render, right before your eyes. The care and passion that went into bringing The Little Prince from book to the Hollywood stage jumps off of every page. If the art book is an accurate indication, moviegoers are in for a marvelous treat.

Buy From: The Little Prince: The Art of the Movie is available now at Amazon.com for MSRP $34.99.

Disclosure: A review copy of The Little Prince: The Art of the Movie was provided to VGBlogger.com by Titan Books.

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About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!