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The Little Prince opera

UK Correspondent
#1 · Posted: 27 Nov 2004 21:45
Did anyone happen to see the opera on BBC2 tonight of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's masterpiece, "The Little Prince" ? I was really impressed by it - especially the stunning costumes that make the actors look like they had just stepped out of the book itself. The translation from book to libretto seemed very natural, and hats off especially to the actor who played the Prince.
#2 · Posted: 28 Nov 2004 01:25 · Edited by: thmthm
I would have liked to have seen that but we dont get that here in the states...but heres some news - Hollywood's going take a crack at their version of it - was sold not too long ago..lets hope its not another Polar Express...
UK Correspondent
#3 · Posted: 28 Nov 2004 15:46
I've heard things - I hesitate to say "good things" - about the Polar Express, so I hope that it's not another like that. I heard a while back that Pathé, the company behind "Chicken Run" and the film version of "The Magic Roundabout", is set to make their own animated version - is this the one you mean ? I'm personally hoping that it'll be 2D-animation (not 3D-rendered like "Polar Express" or "Magic Roundabout").
#4 · Posted: 28 Nov 2004 19:28 · Edited by: thmthm
I was working on an independent project and one of the guys in our group had sold his interpretation of the story to Disney after acquiring the rights to make a movie (dont ask me how, it might have been Disney who bought the rights after they saw his presentation). Lets just hope Disney is acting soley as a distributer as in the pixar movies. With Pixar's domination of 3D, 2D seems to be on its way out - just look at the the last couple of 2D Disney debacles. Of course nobody counts it out, there might be a saturation of 3D and it swings back to the 2D, especially if somebody comes up with a 2D blockbuster - hollywood tends to copycat and cannibalize itself. Then theres the the really original works like "Tripletts of Belleville" and "Iron Giant" that get critical reviews and makes modest if any $...
UK Correspondent
#5 · Posted: 28 Nov 2004 20:16
I keep meaning to get a copy of "Triplets of Belleville", I heard the theme song (and saw a few trailers for it), and it seemed fascinating. There's also the Japanese Oscar-sweeping "Spirited Away", which for UK viewers is on Sky Box Office over the Christmas period sometime.

On the continent, however, they seem to be sticking to 2D animation - a German company recently produced a Becassine film, and Ellipse of France came out with a Corto Maltese animated film. And curiously, after the massive success of "Astérix & Obélix : Mission Cleopâtre", the next Astérix film currently being worked on is animated (and said to be the most expensive European animated film in history). Apparently Uderzo thought the last film was a bit distanced from the original book (despite the fact it was incredibly funny, and I didn't understand a lot of it, since I haven't seen an English subtitled version yet).
#6 · Posted: 28 Nov 2004 21:33
Belleville was eye candy - the general style of the backgrounds reminds of 101 dalmations- its the same "pen and ink toned by watercolors" look...but the stylization of the characters, the anatomy, the city, ships, citroens... combined with the different genres of music was unique. Check out the still gallery section on the triplets website through google...
Of course, it was david vs Goliath at the oscars when it went up against Finding Nemo, which I think was the weakest of the pixar's films...and even though I knew Nemo would trounce it, I still had my fingers crossed...
I loved Spirited Away too...
As for Asterix...I think there was to be an Asterix live action with Gerard Depardieau - or was that already done? I never got into it...
UK Correspondent
#7 · Posted: 28 Nov 2004 22:12 · Edited by: Richard
They made two live-action Astérix films, "Asterix & Obelix Take On Caesar" being the first, and "Mission Cleopatra" the second. They starred Christian Clavier ("Les Visiteurs") as Asterix and Gerard Depardieu as Obelix. The first one was a mixture of lots of parts of different books thrown together, but the second was based very much on the original album, "Asterix and Cleopatra". The first one was okay, nothing spectacular, but the second one was really funny indeed, with absolutely loads of cultural references, spoofs of films etc., and a great dance number of James Brown's "I Feel Good", performed by the whole building site.

Has anyone seen the 1974 (I think ?) live-action film version of "The Little Prince" ? It starred Gene Wilder as the fox, I think. I've not seen it, but am curious as to whether it's any good or not - it came out on R2 DVD recently, so if it's good I'll get a copy.
#8 · Posted: 28 Nov 2004 23:43 · Edited by: jock123
The book of The Little Prince is something I always feel I should like more than I do - I think the illustrations are nice, but the story is just a tad too portentious.

The live-action movie tends a bit too far in that direction too, and doesn’t manage to retain any of the lightness of the look of the book, and it has terrible songs. I don’t write it off entirely, as there are some interesting points to it, the wee boy playing the Prince is suitably fey, and they manage the asteroid set quite well – as he appears to be able to walk all over its surface, even though it is a practical smallish, spherical set-piece – but it is a curiosity more than a satisfying transfer of book to screen.

I missed the actual broadcast, but the clips on the trailer looked quite nice, and the score sounded charming with the choir.
UK Correspondent
#9 · Posted: 29 Nov 2004 00:50 · Edited by: Richard
The score was excellent, I particularly enjoyed the duet of the Prince and the Rose. The crossing the desert to the well was very well done, making the most of the small stage with effective lighting, it really looked like they had travelled a great distance.

Another nice little sequence was when the prince asks the pilot his famous request - to draw him a sheep. To make it more suitable for a stage performance, the pilot draws the sheep in the sand with his finger, and the prince kicks it away when he doesn't like it. The pilot eventually draws the crate holding the sheep on the back of a map, making it easier to see than in the notebook that he draws it in originally (I think).

The travelling between the planets by the flock of seagulls was well handled as well - in the book, the prince hangs onto strings carried by the seagulls (similar to the later "James and the Giant Peach", by Roald Dahl); in the opera, the prince sits on a swing and it surrounded by seagulls carried by children. Kind of hard to explain, but it worked really well.

If anyone missed it but would like to see it, it is being released on Region-2 DVD (and the score on CD) tomorrow, I think, and is available from Amazon, amongst other places.

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