SCMF Musings: The Little Prince — Two Takes, One Publication


It’s been nearly a week since Mark Osborne’s “The Little Prince” movie made its debut on Netflix and in selected big screen locations (LA, NYC and a few Alamo Drafthouses like the one in San Francisco).

The reaction has been quite positive.


“The Little Prince” is a masterpiece of remembrance told with exceptional production values at every level. The animation plan brilliantly reflects the structure of setting the original story within the framing device of the Little Girl’s awakening to what it really means to be a child. Saint-Exupéry’s original is depicted through stop-motion animation, while the Little Girl’s story is told through artfully detailed computer animation.

After reading the Chronicle review, we were looking forward to seeing what Joe Morgenstern, the movie critic for The Wall Street Journal, had to say in his piece (The Little Prince’ Review: Flights of Imagination: An old aviator tells a girl about his magical encounter with a little prince in this animated take on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic story).

Little Prince Movie review Morgenstern

Humm… this was revealing:

All of this is counterintuitive. It’s almost always bad news when someone tries to expand a classic with new material. But the early stretches of “The Little Prince” are less an expansion than an investigation—the Little Girl is refreshingly skeptical when the Aviator spins his stories of the Little Prince—and the material succeeds brilliantly. It’s a paradox, then, as well as a pity, that the film loses its way at precisely the point when the new story starts to merge with the old one, and the Little Girl meets a character called Mr. Prince. (He’s voiced by Paul Rudd.) Pretty much everything that follows is dramatically inert, and anticlimactic; even the closing credits go down instead of up. All the same, Mr. Osborne has done himself proud. What’s essential in his film is the singular beauty of the first half.

WSJ Movies August 5
AWSI, perhaps Mr. Morgenstern is too grown-up to understand. Then again, it isn’t clear when he saw “The Little Prince.” If it was in the same week as the headliner review of “Suicide Squad,” then we’ll go easy on him. He may have been preoccupied with “matters of consequence.” Or perhaps, borrowing from, “City folks just don’t get it.” city folks

Take Two: The WSJ Review Section…

We were delighted to see this contributed piece (The Translation Challenges of ‘The Little Prince’: The director of the new animated film talks about the linguistic challenges of finding equivalents to the French original ) by Ben Zimmer, the executive editor of and the Visual Thesaurus.

WSJ Little Prince movie Zimmer

In particular, we noted this part related to taming:

Mr. Osborne pointed to one passage in particular from the Woods translation that has special resonance for him. In the story, the Little Prince, who has landed on Earth from his planet, encounters a fox who tells him, “Let me make you a present of a secret.” That is a very literal translation of the French, “Je te ferai cadeau d’un secret.”

The fox also asks the Little Prince to “tame” him, though this is an admittedly imperfect translation of the French verb “apprivoiser.” “That is a really beautiful word,” Mr. Osborne said, explaining that it has a set of special connotations in French.

Taming Little Prince book French

The verb does not simply mean “to domesticate” but instead suggests a process of gently forging a relationship. “I love that,” Mr. Osborne said, “because it’s the biggest example of how difficult it is to translate the French language.”

Whoa, right?

We will be writing more about this idea of “gently forging a relationship” since the taming concept is very much threaded into the fabric of Jedemi. But for now, we applaud Mr. Zimmer for raising the level of awareness regarding the topic.

That’s a Wrap!

This post is a grand representation of why we are so into having a #SCMF mindset. It’s about being a proactively curious reader seeking the story behind the story. We really aren’t about just passing things along “scan & share” style. We want to engage the imagination and get folks pondering.

Thanks for reading and #SCMF!

—The Gang

P.S. See the movie!!

Find it on Netflix here.

P.S.2 Read the Book!!

P.S.3 – Enjoy our other Little Prince Musings!!


P.S.4 – Listen to a fun Spin Doctors song


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