Monday, August 8, 2016

Olympics and the Little Prince

I've never liked sports, and this year I didn't even watch the Olympics opening ceremony. I don't care about any of the competitions and or the boring commentary about it. However, I did catch a PBS special about the 1936 Olympics in Germany. It hardly mentioned Jesse Owens or the athletic events. Instead it was all about Hitler using the Olympics as a propaganda tool to showcase Germany in a good light, and how Avery Brundage and other IOC officials resisted efforts to move the games or boycott them. Apparently Germans were the ones who first came up with the idea of the Olympic torch relay from Athens and created traditions of grandeur and spectacle that modern Olympics have followed ever since. They also mentioned that Germans rounded up the Sinti and Roma people right before the Olympics to "clean up" undesirables. I didn't know that they were part of the Holocaust along with other minorities like Jews, who were considered inferior races. How sad.

Anyway, since there weren't any new movies out that I liked, I watched the Little Prince movie (and binged several episodes of the Masked Magician shows) on Netflix. I've never read the original Little Prince book, but I heard lots of praise and good reviews of the movie, so I decided to watch. It was kind of sad and poetical, but also imaginative, fun and hopeful. Very complex and layered. The frame story was CGI and the book itself was stopmotion animation.

The frame story about the little girl and the aviator was interesting, with the mother obsessed about getting her girl into Werth Academy and planning out her life down to the minute. I was confused about how young the girl was when she kept working algebra and geometry problems, but I guess she was old enough that the mother felt fine to leave her kid alone all day every day during the summer. The aviator sent the girl pages of his handwritten story about the Little Prince because he could see the girl needed a friend. They had fun together, but keep lying to the mom about following the lifeplan. I'm not sure if the sequence where she piloted the plane and rescued the little prince from the Businessman was supposed to be a dream sequence only, or something real. I suppose the point is that it was real enough to the little girl that she finally understood how to process her grief. The story of the prince loving the rose was lovely and metaphorical, though I was shocked about the part with the snake, because I wasn't expecting the darkness. Lots of kids movies are sanitized of darker stuff present in their origins, of course.

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