The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux

(2009)

Based on the award-winning children's book, this animated family comedy is loaded with famous names in the voice-acting department. Sigourney Weaver narrates the tale of Despereaux (Matthew Broderick), a small mouse who is something of an outcast amongst his own community because of his big ears but small body, as well as his penchant for reading rather than eating books. His first contact with humans sees him fall hopelessly in love with the human Princess Pea (Emma Watson). Caught between two worlds, the opportunity for heroism soon presents itself. On the way he'll encounter the voices of Dustin Hoffman, Christopher Lloyd and William H. Macy.

Flicks Review

There is something quaint, gentle and low-key about The Tale of Despereaux, a fairytale about a brave little rodent, based on Kate DiCamillo’s children’s book of the same name. But there’s also a timid, mouse-like weakness in narrative momentum. This adaptation is clearly trying to juggle so many ideas that even poor Despereaux takes a backseat at times. ... More

The animation is very pretty, with stylized characters (humans, in particular) and locations bathed in soft light. The most interesting of these locales would have to be Ratworld, a dungeon-based shanty-town of bones and junk, built above an oily lake of sewer water.

An impressive voice cast brings together a large selection of top actors, but few really make their presence felt - anyone could have voiced this and we’d have been none the wiser. And Matthew Broderick’s 40-something whine doesn’t befit young Despereaux at all. Why get a grown man to voice a child?

This is a ‘serious’ children’s film that would have benefitted from more humour or energy. There’s simply not enough oomph. The narrative threads aren’t tied as tight as they should be, and a drearily relaxed pace will bore younger, more fidgety members of the audience.

It’s pleasant enough for a fairytale, and is visually appealing, but doesn’t satisfy in the way that it should.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 3 ratings, 3 reviews
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My wife and pre-teens were bored by it but I loved it when I saw it recently. I liked the visual direction, the inventiveness of the story (probably most of that came from the book), the subtle humour (which probably missed my younger sons), and I even enjoyed the uneven pace and consequent lack of intensity.

Again, I think the Flicks is spot on in the review but it caught my imagination with gorgeous scenes and languid pacing that game me time to appreciate the good bits. So it gets one star... More more.Hide


8

It looks funny and he seems brave it looks GREAT


This was one of my favorite children's books!
I can't wait to see the movie.
I'm sure it'll be great.


The Press Reviews

56% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • It is a joy to look at frame by frame, and it would be worth getting the Blu-ray to do that. I am not quite so thrilled by the story, which at times threatens to make "Gormenghast" seem straightforward. Full Review

  • While it meanders on its way to the requisite happy ending, the lush, stylised animation and courtly flourishes would win over anyone. Full Review

  • The flatly generic results certainly appear at odds with the picture's stirring visual style, which pays homage to the great Flemish artists. Full Review

  • This graphically well-rendered kidpic is less crass and mouthy than many recent feature-length toons, but also more sluggish and ungainly as it tries to approximate DiCamillo's singularly delicate tone. Full Review