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The Tale of Despereaux
The Tale of Despereaux
Actors: Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Dustin Hoffman, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Kline
Directors: Robert Stevenhagen, Sam Fell
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Animation
G     2009     1hr 33min

Big-eared mouse dreams of becoming a knight.

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Movie Details

Actors: Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Dustin Hoffman, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Kline
Directors: Robert Stevenhagen, Sam Fell
Creators: Allison Thomas, Casey Crowe, Chris Viscardi, Gary Ross, Kate DiCamillo, Will McRobb
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Animation
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Animation, Tracey Ullman, Animation, Comedy, Animation, Animation
Studio: Universal
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Animated,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/07/2009
Original Release Date: 12/19/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 12/19/2008
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 33min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 5
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
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Member Movie Reviews

Buck L. (Suntydt) from TAZEWELL, TN
Reviewed on 10/20/2012...
It was a cute story. Kind of slow through about the first half of the movie. I wouldn't recommend getting it for younger kids. You need to be able to listen to the narrator and keep up.
Reviewed on 8/9/2010...
Compelling story of a brave and unique mouse trying to survive and make a difference.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Sheryl B. (Momof2boys)
Reviewed on 6/7/2010...
While I thought this was a cute movie, it really didn't hold my kids' interest. It's honestly the first animated kids movie that did not hold their interest. I felt the plot was a bit too sophisticated and complex for kids, and some parts were too scary for my kids.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Reviewed on 9/1/2009...
Excellent movie. Kids loved it!

Movie Reviews

Was a fun film
Mathew A. Shember | Cupertino, CA United States | 12/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"*Spoiler Alert. A request was made to add this for people who don't like to see storyline*

My daughter wanted to see this film. Probably because the ads showed a cute mouse. We had never heard of this book so I can't judge the story.

The qualities of the stories are simple. Mistakes, redemption, pure of heart, honor, etc.

The movie opens with a ship heading to a city. On it is Roscuro the rat. Wearing cloths and an ear ring he looks forward for the famous Soup of the day of the kingdom of Dor. Wandering through the city he accidentally finds himself in the royal hall as the royal family are first to try the soup. Too entranced with the smell; Roscuro falls into the Queens soup and she is shocked to see a Rat, suffers a heart attack and dies. The guards chase him and he eventally falls into a drainage where he lands in Ratworld. There he is discovered by Botticelli who befriends him and decides to teach him the proper ways of being a Rat.

The grieving king then declares no more soup and rats are outlawed and any who harbor them will be punished.

Despereaux is born in mouseworld. He is not a typical mouse. Smaller then normal and he has over-sized ears. What's worst is that he doesn't cower, run, and he likes to take the cheese from mouse traps. His parents are called into school and told he is about to fail since he does not cower from knives and he draws pictures of cats. Even names one fluffy. The school master suggests that Despereaux follow his brother who graduated and was a proper mouse and could teach by example.

They head off to the library where Despereaux is supposed to eat books but instead he starts reading them and learns about knights, honor and questing to save the fair princess. This eventually takes him to the Princess Peas room where he befriends her as she is curious by his gentlemanly ways.

Eventually, Desperaux is found out and he is punished as he has gone too far by talking to a human.

He is sent to Ratword where no mouse ever returns. The rats find him and toss him into a Colosseum where he is to be sacrificed to a cat.

Roscuro notices him and sees that he is different. He decides to save him by declaring he wants to eat him. Botticelli, leader of the rats, agrees as he had been unhappy with Roscuro since he was refusing to eat flesh.

In Roscuro's room, Despereaux tells Roscuro about knights, chivalry and his quest to save the princess. Roscuro recognizes the princess is the very girl whose mother he caused to die and decides to help as he may get a chance of redemption by telling her he is sorry.

I could go on but I don't want to completely spoil the film. Overall I liked the film as the hero really doesn't solve all problems. It's more cause and effect that guides the story. The actions of one affect another. Happiness is lost and as the narrator says a hero appears when most needed. Despereaux is the hero and he actions effects others and causes actions which cause the return of happiness.

The cast is excellent. Sigourney Weaver does a great job as the narrator. Matthew Broderick as Despereaux and Dustin Hoffman as Roscuro. Emma Watson as the princess(though I must admit I thought was Emily Watson). Tracey Ullman as Miggery Sow. Kevin Kline as Andre the soup master. Ciaran Hinds as Botticelli(though I must admit I thought Peter O'Toole would have been better).

Visually the film is beautiful and the music adds to experience in the right ways.

Violence wise it's pretty safe. There is fighting but you don't see things like stabbing, etc. It can be intense especially with the Rat chases and the rat gladiatorial scenes but it's not too bad. My girl is sensitive but she only wanted a little comfort but she still kept her eyes on the screen.

My daugher wants to see it again as it's a great film in her opinion and I think it's was worth the theater price. My daughter has already declared we have to obtain the film when it goes to DVD."
Not Bad, Not Great
Karen Joan | Texas | 04/21/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"How do I describe THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX? On the one hand, it's got top-notch animation, wonderful voice acting, and interesting characters. On the other hand, it has a few too many characters, grown-up themes, and requires the viewer's rapt attention. On the gripping hand, it's just not for little ones. To be clear, it's fine for young ones to watch, it just seems that they are not the film's intended audience. This is odd since it LOOKS like it's a kid's show. It was advertised as a kid's show. But my 4-year-old only watched when Despereaux himself was on the screen, and my 11-year-old spent most of the movie telling me how different it was from the book. My husband and I liked it, but we all agreed it was simply "OK."

THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX is actually a couple of tales, starting with the story of a sea-faring rat named Roscuro who loves soup. Through a horrible twist of fate, Roscuro's presence results in the queen's death (death by soup, believe it or not) and the banning of soup and rats from the kingdom. I had to wonder why no one had thought to banish the rats before but eh. Roscuro ends up in the dungeon where only the rats hang out. The second story is about Despereaux the mouse. We decided that Despereaux must be Flemish for "Dumbo" since that's pretty much who this mouse looks like. He can even fly with his giant ears. Despereaux is literally fearless and as such is banished from mousedom for fear of the other meeses learning his bad traits. Guess where he's banished to. That's right, the rat dungeon. Another story is about a peasant girl who dreams of being a princess. Apparently, this was toned way down from the novel, in that the girl's owner only sneers at her and doesn't beat her in the movie. We see how she is sold to the king's cook along with a herd of pigs. She eventually teaches us a lesson about jealousy. Then there's the king's story. He's so sad at the loss of the queen that he bans soup and rats (as we've covered) and sits in his room all day plucking a mandolin. His sadness manifests itself as gray clouds and no rain - everything dies. Then there's the princess who wishes she could fix everything, the jailer who wishes he could undo a tragic mistake, a cook who wishes he could once more make soups, an evil rat who doesn't seem terribly evil, and, and, and... As I said, there's a whole lot going on.

The short answer is that THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX itself is not offensive, but there are better options in this genre. Take a look at Dragon Hunters, for instance. It deals with the same themes as Despereaux (honor, courage, valor) but my family liked it a lot more.
An enjoyable adventure
wiredweird | Earth, or somewhere nearby | 01/08/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I ended up enjoying this movie a lot more than I expected. The animation meets very high standards, but there's a lot of good animation around these days. Instead, it features characters that I really like and a surprisingly complex plot.

I liked the premise, too, that the brave little mouse lives in Mouseworld society where bravery is actively discouraged. He even talks to humans - an unconscionable act of bravery. He goes through life blithely unaware that there's anything wrong, until his antics earn exile from his timid world. That's about when things start getting complicated. A third society, the rats, adds itself to the mouse and human worlds, with plots moving along in each and between them. Another movie might have collapsed under the weight, but this one managed to tie all the threads together and finish them off neatly.

A number of dramatic moments might be a bit much for skittish kids. Perhaps the book would help prepare your little one, but you'll know best. The right kid will enjoy it a lot, but there's plenty here for the grown-up buying the tickets, too.

-- wiredweird"