The Tale of Despereaux
Year:
2008
Country:
USA, UK
Genre:
Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy, Family, Animation
IMDB rating:
6.1
Director:
Sam Fell, Robert Stevenhagen
Matthew Broderick as Despereaux
Dustin Hoffman as Roscuro
Emma Watson as Princess Pea
Tracey Ullman as Miggery Sow
Kevin Kline as Andre
William H. Macy as Lester
Stanley Tucci as Boldo
Ciarán Hinds as Botticelli
Robbie Coltrane as Gregory
Tony Hale as Furlough
Frances Conroy as Antoinette
Richard Jenkins as Principal
Storyline: The tale of three unlikely heroes - a misfit mouse who prefers reading books to eating them, an unhappy rat who schemes to leave the darkness of the dungeon, and a bumbling servant girl with cauliflower ears - whose fates are intertwined with that of the castle's princess.
Type 720p
Resolution 1280x544 px
File Size 3239 Mb
Codec h264
Bitrate 4839 Kbps
Format mkv
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Reviews
It was totally Boring and no Fun
The movie was totally Boring and no Fun. The graphics was not good and the storyline was not good at all. First, I don't know that there are differences between Rat and Mouse but after seeing this movie I understood that there are differences between Rat and Mouse. It was a dry movie and there was no comedy or entertainment. I think I wasted my time to watch this movie. That cat scene was good and the last scene was not bad. I like the man who is made up of vegetables. When, I Was watching this movie, I was yawning because it was so boring. I wish the creators of "The Tale of Despereaux" will do better when they make another movie.
2009-08-07
the animation & voice talent are excellent, but something was lost in translation
  This will be one of those "animated" feature films that adults will drag children along as an excuse to go see, with mixed entertainment value for the tykes.

Don't get me wrong, the animation is both storybook stylized and state of the art. The characters' eyes and all emulated reflections and refractions of light are technically excellent, as are the flow of character body movements and facial expressions. (Real world physics are otherwise pretty much ignored, but this is a fairy tale, so no harm done by that.) The face of Princess Pea (voiced by Emma Watson) is an inspired interpretation of Vera Farmiga's (and not a bad choice, even though she was not in the voice cast).

All of the other voice talent also deliver better than decent performances. Matthew Broderick captures the essence of youthful wonderment and exuberance in all of Despereaux's lines.

If I could pick anyone to read me a bedtime story, it would be Sigourney Weaver... but there is too much use of narration to bridge the gaps between book and screenplay.

There is a lot more to honor, courage, heroism and commitment than merely reciting them as a laundry list, no matter how beautifully Weaver repeats the words. The pared down story telling in the film reduces Roscuro's character arc to one of an opportunist with an heart of gold. Roscuro simply switches sides without much self-examination or doubt about his honor, courage, heroism or commitment.

I could not help but notice that a lot of the younger kids (K-6-ers) who were present for the screening I attended grew visibly and audibly restless and were, at times, completely lost.

When a film engages children, they are brimming with accounts of the parts that they liked the most and want to see again. That was not the case with this film. The film makers were too busy aiming to please the grown-ups, who pay for the tickets, and forgot about the kids. The kids shuffled out at the end in near silence.

I think that is an unfortunate shame, because the book is such rich source material, speaking to most age groups. It is possible to keep both children and adults engaged with a good story, without having to alternately play to one audience at the expense of the other. I think kids were given the short shrift.

(For adults who have the time and patience, there is a lot of material in the film worth trying to discuss with children, after they've seen it. But that is more of a credit to the book than the film on its own.) Middle school children might better grasp the moral/ethical dilemmas and uncertainties, as boiled down in the film, than K-6-ers. High school students will likely disdain going to see a "children's" animation, whereas, many of the characters in the story are acting out what amounts to teenager-ish angst.

This is supposed to be a story concerning four "heroes," but the case for heroism is not evenly made. (A press kit I saw listed Princess Pea as the fourth, who was omitted from the IMDb synopsis). Despereaux passes muster (the film would be a disaster if he didn't) with flying colors; but the heroic conduct of the others is dubious, at best. There is also a fifth hero in this story (the Royal Chef, who eventually defies the king's decree against soup), but the promotional materials for the film have overlooked the obvious.

In short, I was entertained (but a bit troubled by what was lost in translation from book to film). Kids, on the other hand, were just barely included for much of this ride.

There are worse films to take kids to see, but this one could, and should, have been so much more.
2008-12-15
Disappointing to a True Tale of Despereaux Fan!!!
I read The Tale of Despereaux last year, as an adult. I loved it! It is one of my favorite books. When I heard that the movie was being released, I bought a class set of books for my 4th grade students and we read it together. My class fell in love with the fairy-tale-like story as much as I did. We have been anticipating the movie release for awhile now. I finally went to see it last night and I was disappointed! Actually that is an understatement. The plot of the story in the movie was completely different from the book. The characters were not even closely portrayed in this movie, especially Despereaux! It is as if the person who made this movie did not even read the book! I couldn't believe how different it was. If I were the author of this Newberry Award winning story I would be embarrassed! It not only let me down, but it was a huge disappointment to my 24 students who love the real story of The Tale of Despereaux.
2008-12-26
Better than expected
I probably underestimated The Tale of Despereaux when it was first released back in 2008. I can recall only seeing one TV spot for it and not being impressed with it in the least. The colors used in the film are kind of bland and stale in comparison to nearly every other animated film released nowadays while the character designs feel a little uninspired, especially when it comes to the humans utilized in the film. But it's similar to trying to judge a book by its cover. There's usually at least one thing in every film, good or bad, that takes you by surprise whether it's an idea, a performance, a story point, a special effect, a script, or a score. That one thing can usually be described as the best thing about the film. The Tale of Despereaux manages to offer several surprises though and is a bit more creative at its core than you may be expecting.

Having not read any of the books, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from the film. I've also always wondered if humans in films like this are purposely made to feel boring in comparison to the talking animal world around them since they're secondary to the story. I also feel like I was being too hard on the animation based on trailers and TV spots alone as it's easily both fluid and engaging from beginning to end. Mouse and rat hair are also exceptionally detailed and facial expressions, although not implemented to the extent you may be familiar with in Pixar films or Shrek, are spot-on. The opening credits are a fantastic introduction and lead-in. The constant use of needle and thread, medieval theme, and fable like atmosphere help establish the overall feel of what to expect from the film.

Our introduction to Chef Andre (Kevin Kline) gave off kind of a Ratatouille vibe at times, which isn't necessarily a bad thing at all. The use of mice and the importance of soup and the kitchen made the 2007 Pixar animated film jump to mind rather easily. Even the kingdom of Dor has a whole day devoted to soup. The similarities stopped once the soup spirit, Boldo (Stanley Tucci), entered the fray. It seemed so bizarre to have a spirit made of fruit and vegetables show up, but it fits the film rather well and the character has at least one memorable scene overall. Chef Andre's soup machine is intriguing, as well. The way it manages to do something as simple as make soup, but is rather intricate to handle so many different types of ingredients and large quantities of said ingredients is a pretty wondrous feat to behold.

Mouseworld and Ratworld are easily the film's biggest draw. Most of the film's originality and creativity lie within these two worlds. The fact that an entire world is micro-sized is kind of remarkable in itself, but the way matches are used as lampposts and a lens to a magnifying glass is used to reflect light make something so simple seem a little bit more complex. The arena in Ratworld also tends to be rather extravagant and fits that complex theory rather nicely. The fact that Despereaux seems kind of loosely inspired by Don Quixote really won me over, as well. As a fan of the imaginative, the bizarre, the ludicrous, and the absurd, that aspect probably spoke to me more than it would most.

The Tale of Despereaux is pretty decent overall. While it may not be as flashy or colorful as the animated films of today, its exceptional animation and unexpected bursts of creativity will more than likely make the film a worthwhile journey. The storyline does feel a little worn and familiar, which is probably the film's biggest flaw. Fortunately though, The Tale of Despereaux is still fairly entertaining and possibly a bit better than it lets on.
2011-06-08
A Charming story
After waking up with my usual January the 1st mother of all hangovers i wondered how i would manage to grab some recovery time in the form of some extra shut eye later on in the day? Bingo! why not take the family to the cinema? I great place to catch forty winks , or so i thought. Little did i know i would find a kids film that was so good , sleep was the last thing on my mind.

A long time ago, in the distant kingdom of Dor, A horrible accident broke the heart of the king, left a beautiful princess crestfallen, and filled the townspeople with despair. As the sun disappeared from the sky and the flowers were drained of color, the laughter slowly ceased in this once-magical land. It was into this darkened world that a tiny mouse named Despereaux Tilling was born, and while this virtuous little rodent may have been short in stature, his bravery was ultimately too big for such a small world to contain. An unlikely hero with over-sized ears and a discernible wheeze, Despereaux was taken with tales of chivalry, and longed to one day become a noble figure among his people. Sometimes in order to realize their true destiny, heroes must first experience great hardship, however, and when Despereaux fails to adhere to the rigid rules of his society, he is banished from Dor

I don't review Children's films very often . Maybe that's because they are on all the time in my house and i don't really take a great deal of notice of them.

To be honest i didn't even know of The Tale of Despereaux until i checked the listings but I'm glad i did.

This is a magical production that has a mesmerising story , some delightful characters and animation of the highest quality. It reminded me a little of some of the fairy tale books i used to read as a kid. The narration by Sigourney Weaver was perfect. It helped my children understand exactly what was going on when there was two or three sub plots going on.

The Characters voices are performed by Dustin Hoffman , Emma Watson , William H Macey , Tracy Ullman , Kevin Kline and Matthew Broderick but to be honest i only recognised the voices of Hoffman and Watson during the film.

It does make you wonder why studios pay massive wages to big film stars when a lot cheaper alternative could be used.

If you stuck for something to do before the kids go back to school next week you wont go far wrong if you take them to see The Tale of Despereaux .

Without a doubt this is the best film i have see this year......and its also the first!

8 out of 10
2009-01-01
A poor excuse for the story of Despereaux
Several years ago I first read The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. I fell in love with the book that followed the tale of several unlikely heroes. The book was beautifully written, beautifully illustrated and braided together three beautiful stories.

I was extremely disappointed in the movie's portrayal of this amazing story. The characters were flat and boring (and some were randomly invented for the movie) and they left out some of the best aspects of story from Kate's book: Mig's abuse by the man who bought her from her father, Greggory the Jailer's love of story actually saved Despereaux in the book, Roscuro was a very complex character--not some one dimensional rat. The beautiful language that permeates DiCamillo's book is absent in the movie.

Despereaux, one of the movie/books four main characters was poorly explored and was cheated out of a beautiful story. Mig, who has a deep and moving back story is portrayed in a very unsympathetic manner (which is actually crucial for her character).

The book explores ideas like love, betrayal, forgiveness, self awareness, perseverance, non-conformity, acceptance, and fate. The movie passes up on these amazing ideas to pursue a frivolous love story (compared to the multi-dimensional love stories in the book) and a pointless story about soup.

For someone who thoroughly enjoys animated movies and counts them as many of her favorite films of all time, this movie is not worth the hour and a half I wasted watching it. The animation was disconcerting (both the representations of humans and of the rodents) and the one dimensional aspect of the story was disappointing. The only redeeming (sort of) aspect was the quality of voice actors--although I do disagree with the choice for some of the characters, overall the voices were well done.

Save the money and your time and go to the library and read the REAL Tale of Despereaux. It is a much better story and has much more value.

I read this book to a class of second and third graders (many who have seen the movie) and by the end of the book the whole class enjoyed listening to the book over the movie because of the details in the stories.
2009-08-20
beautiful fairy - tale
nice, charming, sweet. a fairy - tale from old and precise recipes. a delight. and seed of special joy. because the princess, the sad kingdom, the silky moral lesson are at perfect place. but, more important, the hero is magnificent. and very special. a family film. or just a form of magic in the era of blockbusters. a beautiful work in which each detail is important. because it is a story about old fashion virtues - courage, truth, honor, honesty. and respect for duty. and a new mouse in middle of action is not bad thing. maybe for be conscience for a sad rat. and Charming Prince for a young girl. and model for public. because message is simple - the identity is more important than voice of majority. always.
2012-08-30
I don't understand the negative hype at all
I've got to be honest... I expected this movie to be bad. The trailers gave me a bad impression and the film's poor IMDb rating didn't help. But I was pleasantly surprised. The graphics are impressive, some of the most realistic yet. The mice and rats are just a bit too real for some people; just as easily creepy as they are cute. The environments are meticulously designed, creative and clever, and lighting certainly plays an important role.

But an animated film is not measured by its visuals (at least in my mind). The story is always the driving element, and Despereaux spins a layered tale of redemption. The big-eared hero Despereaux is not the sole focus of the film. It's split between him and Roscuro, with slices of the king and the servant girl as well. Each character has a tale of redemption, and those who become villains are seen in a sympathetic light. These aren't larger-than-life Disney villains, they're human beings (well, not always but you get the point). There's a reason why they turn to negative deeds. And they don't have to die for there to be a happy ending. The emotions are real. The scene where the king plays the lute for example, is heartbreaking without uttering a word.

I really enjoyed this film. Like all of you, I saw the IMDb rating and expected something pretty bad. But after seeing it, I just don't understand the negative hype.
2009-10-05
Too much
I haven't read the child's story, which this movie is based on. But even without reading it, it's obvious that the movie is far too complex and has too many story lines in it. Even two main characters for the peace are almost too much.

It's intentions are really good and if you take small parts of it, it's funny enjoyable and a nice watch. The problem is that put together to a whole, it never succeeds in entertaining people. Let alone speak to kids in the long run (small kids that is). They will lose their interest after awhile, even though the characters are interesting. But it's just too much story for it's running time and therefor doomed to fail, even if it's so hard trying and has good intentions ...
2009-07-27
Much as I hesitate to admit it, the best animated feature I've EVER seen
I'm highly reluctant to give unmitigated praise to any film - there's almost always *something* which could be improved upon even in the best films, but on exiting THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX today I found myself for the first time in 30 years longing to go back for an immediate second viewing. It was, simply, the best animated feature I've seen...ever. Even in this relatively strong year for animation, if ...DESPEREAUX doesn't wind up with an Oscar for its creators for Best Animated Feature, there's something very wrong with the world.

Part of the wonder is that the story telling, like the best story telling, borrows from and builds on the works of all the masters who went before. Just as J.K Rowlings borrows from almost every fairy tale, legend and religious allegory we've read to build Harry Potter's world, so ...Despereaux recalls great story tellers from Charles Dickens to Hans Christian Anderson and in other ways from Isaac Asimov to Clive Cussler. There are necessary dark passages (just like classics from SNOW WHITE to ENCHANTED), but nothing any more "scary" than the first STAR WARS film) and even more moments of joyous enlightenment. The political allegory which relates the best stories to the real world for the adults and precocious in the audience is both richly present (the "Mouse World" where children are taught to be perpetually frightened - "no-one is *born* that way" - is a perfect simulacrum for the world our soon-to-be-EX-President and Vice president tried to create) and sufficiently subtle to allow inveterate "Red-Staters" to enjoy the story and perhaps even get the message (I'm a life-long, if liberal, Republican myself).

The CGI animation is by far the best and most layered we've been given to date, blending styles from absolute believability for the furry creatures to beautiful stylization for the humans and brilliant "flat work" for the dreams and fantasies of both, while incorporating references to classical masters from Titian to Vermeer for the general "look". That "look" also recalls in exciting ways the best of the best comic book memories for those of us old enough to remember the glorious Scrooge McDuck adventures when the detailed *locales* on quests (remember the search for lost Inca treasure in the Andes?) was half the fun.

In an odd but satisfying way, the film makers also harken back to the glory days of the old Hollywood studio system when wonderful character actors would appear in different roles adding depth to their characterizations. Watch the "food critic" in RATATOUILLE and the "head rat" in ...DESPEREAUX side by side. Their fates are different, but there's a great double feature there waiting to happen.

Despite the somewhat obvious ultimate "messages" of the damage snap judgments can cause and the healing power of apology, this film seems to have proved too sophisticated for some critics, perhaps in part because of one "politically incorrect" - or at least unfortunate - sidetracking moment when a little serving girl who almost brings about tragedy and a seemingly unfeeling prison guard are both drawn as overweight. At the same time however, the characterizations allow the audience to recognize an important plot point between the two before the film shows them - and making the audience feel smarter is never a bad idea.

"Bottom line": no-one who loves good animated film or just plain wonderful movies in general should think about missing this enchanting layered fantasy. You - and any technical children lucky enough to go with you - will not have a more satisfying 100 minutes in the movies this year. The audience of all ages I saw it with was moved to applause at the end - and how often does that happen?
2008-12-28
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