Film scores

Soundtrack review: Le petit prince (Richard Harvey and Hans Zimmer – 2015)

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“Le petit prince” or “The little prince” is the first animated adaptation of the legendary and wonderful novel by Antoine de Saint Exupery. The story is modified a little but the novel about an aviator crashing on a distant planet inhabited only by a boy plays a big part. Richard Harvey wrote the score with the help of his longtime friend Hans Zimmer. There seems to be a lot of Hans helping his friends lately. I admit I can’t wait for a new solo score from him and I hope all this collaborations, nice as they are, don’t dilute his craft. After “Woman in gold” it’s time to discover another one here.

I am charmed by the fairy tale opening. A child’s voice humming something, the soft and lovely string insert, everything is fantasy like and I am in. Welcome to the dream. This is a story seen through a child’s eyes and you can hear that in the fabric of the score. There’s innocence in the music, there’s doubt and sometimes there’s that stride and passion for discovery only a child could have. I listen to the score and I am amused because I imagine things sneaking up on me, toys and dreams coming alive and a lot of hiding. The music in sneaky in a childish way and even the suspense is made to appear as if seen by a child. The two composers must have had a great time writing and recording the score.

There is nothing abrasive or aggressive in the music. There is nothing epic or grandiose. There is just that playful piano that plays hide and seek with the listener. It’s the kind of piano that evokes to me darkness but the one before going to sleep, when as a child you start imagining the shadows of the objects in your room are much more than just that. The music Richard Harvey and Hans Zimmer wrote for “Le petit prince” is intimate and low scale. It feels contained in the small world of a child, a world that obviously to him looks big and exciting. I enjoy the score a lot but on a different level; I enjoy it as an adult would enjoy a child’s world seen through his adult eyes. The score doesn’t manage to go all the way and make me feel like a kid again. I can’t channel my younger self and connect better with this score from the inside. I think it’s the extra touch of sadness that keeps me there. There’s always that shadow that tells me real life is different. Melancholy wins over innocence.

“Le petit prince” sure gave me a lot to think about and imagine. The music was beautiful and interesting and I will listen to it again. I like a score that makes me dream and reflect and this is what Richard and Hans did here.

Cue rating: 86 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 26 / 52

Album excellence: 49%

Highlights:

Preparation

Amongst The Coins

Draw Me A Sheep

Farewell

Escape

Finding The Rose

Growing Up

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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