Home Video Picks & Passes 06.06.21

A sci-fi flick gets a thumbs-up.

‘Signs’ (2002)
‘Signs’ (2002) (photo: Touchstone Pictures)

Chicken Run (2000) — PICK

The Prince’s Voyage (2019) — PICK

Signs (2002) — PICK

A lovely, oddly fragmentary animated parable, The Prince’s Voyage (streaming on Amazon and elsewhere) from French animation directors Jean-François Laguionie and Xavier Picard, is a retro sci-fi tale of sorts, set on a Planet of the Apes-type world of isolated cultures of anthropomorphic monkeys at different levels of development.

Somehow a dignified old prince from a medieval community crosses the sea, arriving at a turn-of-the-20th-century world governed by ominous social norms and narrow-minded scientific dogmatists who reject the notion of monkey societies beyond their own.

Fortunately, the prince falls in with the young adopted son of open-minded scientists who welcome him as evidence of a larger world. Later the story expands further to embrace an idyllic third world.

The film intriguingly noodles a range of social themes in thoughtful, never didactic ways. It also leaves loose ends unresolved, suggesting a chapter torn from a larger work. (Laguionie fans will recognize thematic and narrative connections to his 1999 film A Monkey’s Tale.)

Also new on Amazon: Aardman’s delightful animated escape flick Chicken Run and M. Night Shyalaman’s theologically tangled alien-invasion movie Signs … both starring Mel Gibson.


CAVEAT SPECTATOR: Chicken Run: Mild menace, fleeting mild innuendo. Kids and up. The Prince’s Voyage: Mild menace and unsettling themes. Older kids and up. Signs: Menace and violence; crass language; religious questioning. Teens and up.