Film Review: The Prince’s Voyage

Jean-François Laguionie and Xavier Picard’s The Prince’s Voyage (Le Voyage Du Prince) is an enchanting animated tale. 

12-year-old Tom discovers a wounded monkey on the beach. When he comes around, the older simian claims to be a prince from another land…

A follow-up to 1999’s A Monkey’s Tale (although the film works perfectly as a standalone picture), The Prince’s Voyage is a wonderful adventure with rich animation. The story presented as a recollection of Laurent. The film is accessible enough for children, yet substantial enough for adults to enjoy. Written by Laguionie and Anik Le Ray, the film is never infantile with its language. The narration has a poetic quality at times. 

A Prince’s Voyage mixes adventure with humour and occasional peril. The film focuses on the central relationship between an elderly outsider and a young boy. It is a friendship that crosses age and background boundaries. Both are linked by their thirst for knowledge, wanting to expand their knowledge of each other and their different worlds. It is a good message to propagate. 

The colour palette is restricted; drab tones of the old museum dominate the screen for the first third. When Laurent and Tom go to the town, the contrast in light and colour is striking. The Festival of Fear is suitably enticing. It is macabre without being too frightening. The are some wonderful aspects of the film, such as the King Kong-esque screening. Such references are made in a loving fashion. The period setting allows for some good sequences, such as the tram ride, and the meeting of academics. It is an age of discovery which the prince encapsulates. 

A number of themes come to light as the story continues. These include the fear of outsiders, the restrictive nature of institutions. A Prince’s Voyage deals with evolution question in a light way, a sly wink given the simian protagonists. Planned obsolescence even gets a brief mention. 

With its bittersweet ending, the film doesn’t pander to its audience. A Prince’s Voyage is a enjoyable and enriching watch.

The Prince’s Voyage (Le Voyage Du Prince) is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2019.