Monday, October 24, 2016

The Little Prince: The Spoiled Version

Sometime back someone asked me to recommend a book for their kids to read. I suggested The Little Prince, a novella written by French aviator Antoine D'Saint Exupery. I feel that it is a book every kid should read. And one that every adult should read. Infact it is one book that, I feel one should read while one's a kid and then re-read and re-read throughout the entire life. I read it that way.

I got hold of a Malayalam translation of The Little Prince when I was 10 years old. After reading it, I was immensely happy, amazed and sad at the same time. Such a book it was. And then I went through it innumerable times till the book was battered and eventually withered. Every time I was as emotional as the first time. But as I grew up I could make more sense of it. And now I feel that this short book in turn helped me in making sense of the world around me.

Then I heard they made a movie of it. And it was getting glowing reviews from all over the world. And it amassed a 90% fresh rating in Rotten Tomatoes. And I watched it.

And it was terrible.

The plot of the novel is about an aviator who crash landed in Sahara, meeting a Prince, who left his very demanding rose flower on his tiny asteroid which is threatened by weeds of Baobab trees. It's about unconditional love, about belonging to someone, about the differences between kids and adults, about living and about dying.

And what did the movie-makers do?

They invented a new story set in present times and made all the stuff from the book a flashback/fairy-tale. It worked fine till the part where the actual story ended. And then they did the unthinkable. They Hollywoodized the ending. They did away the ambiguity of the original, which infact was the reason why the book was re-readable. They exposed what happened to the Prince, to his rose, to his fox and to the aviator. And to top it all they introduced a Toy Story-ish action climax which satisfy the shallows.

The kids who watched the movie first will never ever be able to appreciate the ending of the novel because in spite of the novel searching for the Prince and his beloved rose on faraway stars, the kid know where the Prince is and that the rose is dead.

And that is a real crime committed by the ones who made this movie.

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