Movie Review: THE LITTLE PRINCE (France/Italy 2015) ****

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

the_little_prince.jpg
THE LITTLE PRINCE (France/Italy 2015) ****
Directed by Mark Osborne

Review by Gilbert Seah

It would unthinkable to do a makeover of the much loved fairytale 1943 novel, Le Petit Prince written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. A film version had already been made, a faithful one by Stanley Donen, which everybody loved back in the 70’s. So when the director Mark Osborne, pitched his film idea to the actors and financiers, he had better had a good viable one in mind.

And judging from this fantastic and stunning film, he did.

Osborne has created this English-language 3D stop-motion-animated adventure fantasy with a script film written by Irena Brignull and Bob Persichetti based on the 1943 novel of the same name by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It should be noted that Osborne uses stop motion animation for the novel’s story and computer animation for an additional frame narrative. Osborne also assembled a more than impressive list of voice characterizations including Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, Marion Cotillard, James Franco, Benicio del Toro, Ricky Gervais, Bud Cort, Paul Giamatti, Riley Osborne, Albert Brooks and Mackenzie Foy.

Saint-Exupery’s story of the boy on his planet is woven into an original narrative which involves a young girl. The film begins as an ordinary story on Planet Earth.

The mother (McAdams) of a prodigious young girl (Foy) wants her daughter to enrol in a prestigious Academy where the moot seems to be essential n everything essential. To ensure her daughter will pass the entrance exam, the mother imposes on her a rigorous study schedule over the course of the summer that leaves little room for leisure. The girl becomes distracted by her next-door neighbour, an elderly, retired aviator (Bridges) who shares with her the story of a young boy from a distant asteroid, the “little prince”, whom he supposedly encountered in a desert after crashing his plane. As the two play together without the mother’s knowledge, the aviator has a secret that slowly unfolds. The little prince, the real McCoy is cleverly woven into the film’s plot including the novel’s famous characters like the fox, the rose, the businessman and others. A few are left out, but the atmosphere of the novel is left intact regardless.

Despite the child characters, the film is more an adult fantasy than a film for kids. No doubt the kids can enjoy the animation, which is nothing short of marvellous. The idea of freeing trapped stars back into the sky in one of the film’s most memorable segments, is something that is quite the sight for sore eyes. The best looking segment has the aviator take the little girl on a flight into the night. But the story’s logic is a tad too difficult for children to follow. But to be fair to the filmmakers, the story of The Little Prince is quite abstract. The message of the film of never forgetting being a child is a universal one.

And some background about the film: the film has already earned $88.4 million on a $77.5 million budget, before its North American release making it the most successful French animated film abroad of all time. The end credits list it a a French/Italian co-production though the film contains quite a bit of Canadian production values. The film will face tough competition with Disney’s ZOOTOPIA, another excellent animated feature also playing in theatres.

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

 

 

Movie Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

star_wars_posterSTAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
(USA 2015) Top 10 *****
Directed by J.J. Abrams

Review by Gilbert Seah

The film world has finally gone crazy. Disney and Lucasfilm has enforced a world embargo on film reviews at 3.01 (yes, to the very second) on Wednesday December 16th. The film premiered Monday evening in Hollywood and for press, which includes this fortunate reviewer, Tuesday morning. No one had any idea of the venues for Monday’s screenings (3 separate theatres) till the last minute. Sales on Amazon of the old STAR WARS films rocketed 400%. Pre-sales of tickets have not seen numbers like this since the beginning of time, in a galaxy far, far away!

The hype on TV and anticipation have been great. The studios made press hush up on spoilers. And after seeing the film, one will respect those wishes. But there are a lot of surprises and twists in the plot, none that make little sense, and revealing them will would definitely spoil the film’s entertainment value.

The story is short and that does not mean much as the film is more character and action driven. It is set approximately 30 years after the events of RETURN OF THE JEDI where the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire have become the Resistance and the First Order, respectively, and follows new heroes Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) alongside characters returning from previous Star Wars film. Rey, a scavenger finds a droid who holds a map that has the key to finding Luke Skywalker. The dark side wishes to bring down the resistance and thus goes all out to capture the droid and thus the map. Lots of exciting battles result culminating with a climatic sabre to sabre combat between the heroes and villain Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

The film succeeds in all departments from acting, to the grand music, scored again by maestro John Williams to the costumes, creature and robot designs to sets, spectacle and cinematography. Iceland and Abu Dhabi, where the film was shot add to the grandeur from the desert to the icy mountain landscapes. Rey’s outfit is perfectly designed, a greyish fabric that flows so that she looks elegant while fighting or tracking in the desert. The sets of the dark force, in red and black, looks (humorously) like something taken of of a North Korean dictatorship rally.

Director Abrams, best known for the STAR TREK reboot takes over the reins from George Lucas, who admitted the series needed new blood. Abrams is smart enoguh to put in lots of new blood in the form of new characters like Rey the main female protagonist, Finn an ex-trooper who moves to the good side because it is the right thing to do and Poe while not forgetting the importance of legends like Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Hans Solo (Harrison Ford) and of course, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). New ‘robots’ like the droid also meet old time favourites R2D2 and C3PO. Abrams knows how to work the audience. When Princess Leia and Hans Solo reunite and hug, the scene will bring tears to the audience’s eyes. And there are no embarrassing kissing scenes but lots of hugs that get the same message across.

If one wants spectacle there are lots of it. The blowing up of a star fighter that eventually sinks in quicksand, the flight/fight segment between the freighter commandeered by Rey and Finn and the star fighters and the shootouts are just a few examples. And it is one well-orchestrated action segment after another. Abrams knows how to pull back his camera to show the full action spectacle while also engaging in the closeups of the characters’ faces. Lots of smart dialogue as well, with too many quotable lines to include in this review.

The hype and wait are worth it. Abrams’ film is as amazing as you will hear. And it is definitely the best action film of the year, best to be seen in 3D and IMAX.

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

Watch QUEST Videos from the Writing and Film Festival

Watch the best of QUEST Stories from the Festival:
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/quest_stories.html

Watch the best of QUEST Videos:

Best of stories and films in the QUEST Genre:

FEATURE SCRIPT – TO DIE IN TENNESSEE
February 2015 Reading
Written by Verlynn Kneifl & Laurie Larsen
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/feature_script_to_die_in_tennessee.html

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK
Drama, Switzerland
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/where_do_we_go_from_here.html

ARCHER TV Spec Script
August 2014 Reading
Written by Jay Mayhoffer
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/archer.html

1ST SCENE SCRIPT – CAVE KISSES
March 2014 Reading
Written by Ingrid Goldberg
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/cave_kisses.html

FIRST SCENE – WAYFARERS
November 2014 Reading
Written by Arnon Z. Shorr
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/wayfarers.html

Run
Twitter Short Story
by Rosa Pace

* * * * *
Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com