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Little Prince
Little Prince

Tak Jae-Hoon (right) and Kang Soo-Han (left) spend some quality time together in Little Prince.
Korean: 어린 왕자

Last Present

Year: 2007  

Choi Jong-Hoon

Writer: Lim Jin-Pyung  

Tak Jae-Hoon, Kang Soo-Han, Jo An, Choi Jae-Min, Yoo Ha-Jin, Jeun Moo-Song, Choi Joo-Bong, Park Won-Sang

  The Skinny: Little Prince offers convincing performances and a really cute little kid for what seems, on the surface, to be a heartwarming drama. But it's also a bit of a downer with its dark adult themes.
Kevin Ma:

     The limit of how depressing a family-friendly movie can be is tested with the Korean film Little Prince, a modern fable about a man who learns to stop and appreciate his family thanks to a cute little boy. Tak Jae Hoon, last seen as the not-so-convincing romantic lead in The Worst Guy Ever, is a little more believable here as Jong Cheol, a foley artist who's so into his work that he neglects his family in the process. Despite having a loving wife and an adorable son, Jong Cheol manages to miss out on a planned family trip and even his wife's distress call before a car accident kills her and their son - and this all happens because of his job. Let that be a lesson to anyone that puts in any overtime at work.
     Depressed and drenched in movie-style alcoholism, Jong Cheol eventually encounters Yung Woong (Kang Soo Han), a friendly little boy who lives in an orphanage with his tiny shark. Through various circumstances, Jong Cheol grows gradually closer to Jung Woong, especially when he finds out that the boy has a weak heart that often gets him into the hospital. Despite the doctor's straightforward diagnosis (“There's no hope left for him anymore” being his exact words), Jong Cheol takes Jung Woong under his care with the help of kind caretaker Seon Ok (Jo An) when he finds that the boy shares a special connection with his dead son.
     However, Jong Cheol still has trouble getting over his regret of neglecting his family, and that's where the rampant alcoholism comes in. About 80% of Little Prince is a well-intentioned, family-friendly melodrama with cute kids, pleasant images, and even a bit of slapstick comedy. But first-time writer Lim Jin Pyung and first-time director Choi Jung Hyun make Jong Cheol a hopeless alcoholic who will literally buy and consume a dozen bottles of alcohol at a time, even in the presence of Jung Woong. The result is an uneven mix of a dark film about alcohol addiction and a family-friendly film about fatherly love, with the alcoholism never truly dealt with. Little Prince already features emotionally-charged themes such as death and everlasting regret; throwing serious alcoholism into the mix drags the film down in excessive seriousness - an odd choice especially when the film seems like a heartwarming drama on the surface.
     That's not to say that the film is only seemingly likable. Tak Jae Hoon is far more pleasing here as a workaholic family man than a romantic lead, and his transition into loving father is actually believable. Meanwhile, child actor Kang Soo Han compensates for his lack of acting skills by oozing an immense amount of cuteness, even when he spends half the movie appearing pale. As tragic as Jung Woong is, Kang's adorable qualities give Little Prince a character to truly care for. Even Jo An does OK here, making Seon Ok a likable supporting character, despite not having much to do. Thankfully, the filmmakers don't try to cram in a romantic subplot between Jong Cheol and Seon Ok, instead sticking closely to the central theme of familial love. The theme is stretched a little too thin (every character here seems to have a grudge against their family members), but the storytelling remains focused and gratefully economical, as the film runs only 90 minutes - short by melodrama standards.
     As a melodrama, Little Prince is filled with tragedy and character flaws to overcome. Thanks to the rapport between Jong Cheol and Jung Woong, the film is enjoyable up to a point. But as a modern fable named after a famous children's tale, it's not a particularly pleasant experience. This point is driven closer to home when upon further thought, the main character essentially returns to where he started at the end of the film. Several pressing issues are tied up, and the character changes in a way relevant to the plot, but his character is offered no closure from his troubles. As a result, the ending of the film is a bit of a cheat, building up the audience's connection to the character, but not offering any way out. Still, while Little Prince may ultimately be a downer of a film, the filmmakers do offer enough incentives such as believable performances and generally pleasant cuteness to make this a worthwhile sit. Besides, it's always hard to resist the little kid. (Kevin Ma 2008)


Korea (Region 3)
DY Entertainment
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Original Korean Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Korean Subtitles
Various Extras


image courtesy of Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen