The Tale of Despereaux
Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy, Family, Animation
IMDB rating:
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
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
720p 1280x544 px 3239 Mb h264 4839 Kbps mkv Download

One of the Better Mouse Tales.
The Tale of Despereaux (2008): Dir: Sam Fell, Rob Stevenhagen / Voices: Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Dustin Hoffman, Tracey Ullman, Robbie Coltrane: Exciting animation about bravery. Despereaux is a little mouse with big ears who knows no fear. Roscuro is a rat that accidentally caused the Queen a heart attack when he landed in her soup. Since then rats have been outlawed. Clever writing flawed only with a few silly elements including a ghostly character that the vegetables become. Directed by Sam Fell and Rob Stevenhagen with terrific colorful animation. Strong voice talents included Matthew Broderick as Despereaux, the brave mouse who dares to associate with humans. We know that he will save the day but it is great fun for its young audience. Dustin Hoffman voices Roscuro who causes tragedy with the Queen. He attempts to correct his mistake only to be at ends with greater conflict. Emma Watson voices Princess Pea, human Princess who freaks at the sight of Roscuro until she is kidnapped by her slave girl. It is obvious that she will learn a big lesson. Tracey Ullman voices the servant girl who desires to be a Princess and assists in the kidnapping of Pea. Robbie Coltrane voices her father who is a jailer. She will gain a void filled in the end. A terrific tale of bravery and adventure that should entice the imagination. Score: 9 / 10
Good film, visually stunning, with plot weaknesses.
I just saw it with my three kids, and the youngest two (ages 4 and 7) loved it, the older one (18) not so much. In fact, most of the flaws discussed below were pointed out to me by the 18-year old...

It's visually breathtaking, filled with attention to detail (incredibly subtle facial expressions, great use of light/shade, powerful scenery, nice music (although the lute music is somewhat anachronistic – yes, I play the lute, in case you're wondering!)), and overall quite powerful. The only real weakness is the plot.

I do not want to overstate the weaknesses in the plot -- I'd recommend it to parents of younger children (maybe 10 and under; even my 4-year old really enjoyed it, and he usually isn't able to maintain his attention span for an entire movie). But IMO the plot weaknesses include:

- Roscuro, the good rat, turns bad — REAL bad! — so quickly it makes your head spin. Why? The story implies that this conversion to the Dark Side occurs because his attempted apology to Princess Pea (Roscuro had earlier accidentally tumbled into her mum's soup, the shock of which resulted in the queen's death!) turns out very badly, combined, presumably, with the frustration he feels to be stuck in the dank and dreary rat world after having experienced the freedom of living freely amongst humans. The speed and intensity of his turnaround strains credulity. (Roscuro is played by Dustin Hoffman, who was Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy (1969); type casting? ;-)

- The fact that he turns good again just as quickly is also somewhat problematic. This, however, is somewhat more credible to me because of we are given to understand that, unlike other rats, Roscuro has always been essentially good. He is portrayed as a sympathetic outsider misjudged by virtue of his ratness.

- Miggery Sow, the aptly-named (i.e., plump) lady-in-waiting to the princess, also turns bad with astounding alacrity, and appears to have developed a pretty serious case of dementia as well, due, we surmise, to a difficult life. This is a bit more believable to me, but the big problem with this character is that, after coming very close to having had Princess Pea eaten alive by rats, there is absolutely no repercussion for this act. At the end we see her back in the country with her dad, happily tending the fields. What happened to the dementia? Where is the punishment for kidnapping the princess and attempting to murder her? Where is Miggery's apology or show of contrition?

The film's narrator, performed with wonderful serenity by Sigourney Weaver, tells us that forgiveness is "the most powerful thing you can feel" (after earlier telling us that hatred is the most powerful thing we can feel... And here I thought it was love!), and this presumably is by way of explanation for why the princess apologizes... But for what? For being somewhat short on one occasion with her dimwitted, kleptomaniac servant (Miggery), and being scared of a crazy-looking rat?

The character of Despereaux is consistent from beginning to end. He is a quixotic non- conformist who becomes enamored with chivalry after reading about it in a story, and he makes it his quest to save the princess. When others write of the positive values in this film, I suspect that it is Despereaux's character to which they mostly refer.

But ultimately, I believe it is meant to be a film about redemption — we are told that saying 'I'm sorry' will, essentially, make any wrong right, but the plot doesn't lead me to buy into it, particularly in the case of Miggery Sow who never apologizes for anything and gets away with her abduction of the princess scot-free.

As some others have commented, another weakness (or at least strangeness) is the Boldo character, who is magical, and made out of vegetables. Why? He is apparently the chef's muse... but what's he doing in the film? There's no back-story about where he came from, or anything to explain why we need this character.

I'd be curious to know how the film compares to the book; I'm guessing that most of the plot problems are not the fault of the book, but I guess I will have to have a look at the book to find out.

Again, I think it's a good film, definitely worth taking your younger kids to.

I just find it perplexing that with the humongous budget they must have had to hire so many huge Hollywood stars and and the many talented creative people who made it look and sound so good (amazing, really), they couldn't figure out how to avoid some pretty serious flaws in the plot.
A violently deviant fantasy posing as a children's fairytale. BEWARE!
The Tale of Despereaux is easily the most disturbing children's movie I've ever seen. I had high expectations, hoping to see a charming movie about a brave little mouse. After about 15 minutes of the movie, I was starting to go numb from the idiocy. As time passed, it got worse and worse. The animation is like a low-budget video game, the story wretchedly stupid from beginning to end (the banning of soup in the kingdom turns everything dry, gray, and depressing), and the characters bizarrely random (the vegetable man/spirit/thingy that the cook talks to). But BY FAR the worst thing was the disturbingly deviant "morality" displayed by the characters and shoved down the audience's throats. Don't listen to anyone who claims that this is a deep psychological movie, it's nothing more than abusive fantasies presented as a "children's" film.

The film presents two of its sickest characters as simply misguided and not responsible for their actions (such as attempted murder) because they were slighted or not pretty or whatever little thing upset them. We're led to believe that sadism and sick obsession are merely mild offenses and that you have the right to commit any crime you like if someone offended you or has something you want. There are no negative consequences to your actions, and the person you inflict the crime against should apologize to YOU because it was all their fault anyway (for being too rich or too pretty or not respecting you enough). Princess Pea is a kind, gentle, pretty young woman who is grieving for her mother (and soup, and rain, etc...). Apparently, though, she isn't good ENOUGH because she is the (supposedly deserving) target of two freaks' sadistic impulses...

Roscuro is presented as a decent rat during the first half of the movie. That changes quickly. When he goes to Princess Pea to apologize for her mother's death (who died of a heart attack when Roscuro fell into her soup), he ends up having to flee when she recognizes him and, terrified, throws things at him to protect herself. A normal response to this would be empathy and understanding because the princess has been deeply wounded by her mother's death (of which, Roscuro was unintentionally responsible for). Roscuro's response? Encourage a deranged servant girl to abduct the princess at knifepoint and force her down into the dungeon so she can be devoured alive by the evil rats. Yep. That's it. After he finally decides against the twisted murder (because he decided to "forgive" her), the movie has the princess tell him the SHE is the one who's sorry. Huh? Did I miss something? He tried to KILL her for being afraid of him and because he decided against it at the last second, it's her fault anyway because she was afraid of him? Why the heck does she need HIS forgiveness? At the end of the movie, he sails off on a ship, presumably living happily ever after.

Miggory Sow is a brooding psychopathic servant girl who, angry that she's not a princess, talks to herself, steals Princess Pea's belongings, violently hacks at a painting of Princess Pea's face with silverware, and finally forces the princess down into the dungeon at knifepoint (you can only imagine what the heck she was planning to do down there). No kidding. The film tries to make you feel sorry for her because she's ugly and poor, but her inner self is far uglier than any outward looks. She acts like a psychopathic neanderthal, who doesn't understand that you're NOT supposed to murder people out of jealousy. The film also tries to make it seem like she was manipulated by Roscuro into the kidnapping, but all it took was a suggestion from him and she was quick to get a meat cleaver from the kitchen and go straight for the princess, repeating to herself over and over "I... should be... the princess!" At the end of the movie, she's reunited with her father and lives happily ever after. She doesn't even have a sickening change of heart like Roscuro. We're instead "treated" to a scene of the princess, after being freed by Despereaux, apologizing to Miggory and putting her own crown atop the sadist's head. Remember, folks, you must keep the people beneath you appeased so that they don't hack you to pieces in a dungeon.

The two psychopaths live happily ever after without any repercussions, as do the other twisted souls of the film... Miggory's father, another angry neanderthal, who throws a helpless Despereaux against a stone wall. Despereaux's mouse community, who sentenced him to a nearly guaranteed death even though he's still a child. His family, who didn't even try to stop them. And so-on and so-forth... It would take hours to list all the things wrong with this movie.

The general morality of this film is: You're pretty and I'm not, so I'll murder you. You have something I want, so I'll murder you. You didn't treat me with enough respect, so I'll murder you. By the way, it's your fault. You should apologize to ME and make amends to appease me. It's like watching a film project made by a serial killer on death row.

DO NOT take your kids to see this freaky flick.
A bit dark and unsavory for children's fare
Tale of Desperaux is a surprisingly violent and frightening film for a cartoon movie with a "G� rating with a story not strong enough to overcome some of the more unsavory scenes including a princess who is nearly eaten by rats. With "Hotel for Dogs� mercifully sold out (don't smirk - "Paul Blart Mall Cop� is kicking ass at the box office), we saw this instead thinking given its literary pedigree it must be worthwhile. It turned out to be a fairly gritty fairy tale that made little sense. The animation did have that nursery rhyme book look and the vocal talent is first rate. Unfortunately, they didn't have much to say.
Just read the book, it is so much better
I am a huge fan of the book, it's actually one of my favorite books of all time. So when I heard that there was a movie being made about it, I was thrilled. The story in the book lends itself to film wonderfully, and I saw it opening weekend. 10 minutes in I regretted making my mom spend money on it. I was immediately put off by the visual style. I know many have praised the movie for its unique style, but it just did not work for me, specifically the faces of the princess and king. They seemed to elongated and unnatural, very different from the illustrations in the book, which were recreated beautifully elsewhere. Not horrible, but it was the first major departure from the book, and there are many still to come. I do realize that the movie is an adaptation and will differ in some aspects from the book, but there are good changes, like moving the death of Boromir to the end of the the Fellowship of the Ring and there are bad changes like adding Tauriel as a love interest for a dwarf that is going to die. Tale of Despereaux has a plethora of the latter. For starters the cook is now a man, there is a living representation of soup that has a major impact on the climax, Roscuro's story happens after Despereaux's, Despereaux and Roscuro are friends at first, the list goes on and on. These changes serve to move the story very far from the book. Roscuro is no longer the tragic figure who only wanted to live in the light but couldn't because society would never accept a rat, to a good guy who just made a mistake one time. Despereaux is no longer the mouse who dreams to be a knight solely because he wants to do the right thing, but has a double agenda of helping a friend. Not a bad moral, don't get me wrong, but that's not what made the book popular to begin with. While I'm not opposed to changing things from the source material, Ella Enchanted is both a favorite book and movie of mine, the changes have to make sense and remain true to the spirit of the original at least. Tale of Despereaux does not do that in the slightest. If you've never read the book and are under the age of 10, you'll probably like this movie. Anybody else will probably spend their time checking their watch or raging at how much was lost in translation to the screen.
Loved it
This was the best animated movie I saw this Year!( I'm 21 by the way) Wall*e and Bolt were cute but weren't inspiring at all to me. Lately all of the animated movies I've seen just didn't cut, well Kung fu Panda was awesome but I was beginning to get scared that it was going end for animated movies. Iwent back and saw it three times! First with and my sister, then with my nieces and nephew, and again with my friends. I might just go back and see it again, I know my friends do. I'm sad to hear and read that a lot of people didn't enjoy the movie, especially being that it actually had a moral in it. I just would like to say that this is a worth seeing movie. Everyone I've met and spoke to enjoyed as well. ^_^
Cute story, superb animation, overall impact is just 'OK'.
I watched the "making Of" extra on the DVD before I watched the movie, and it prepared me for the genesis of the story, plus the care they took in production to make it as realistic as they could, considering it is a modern fairy tale. The animation is really superb, as well as the beauty of the colors used.

The story however is not simple as in most classic fairy tales and as a result comes across overall as a bit too complex. There is an attempt at the very end, with the voice over, to tie up everything and the plights of all the characters. While the story is primarily Despereaux's he often gives up the focus to any one of a number of other characters.

Matthew Broderick voices Despereaux, an unusually small mouse who has unusually large ears. He is unusual also in that he does not have the normal fears that other mice have. As a result he goes into situations where he can ultimately help others.

The second most prominent character is Dustin Hoffman voicing Roscuro, a rat who also is unusual for his species. He gets himself into trouble when he travels to this land where annually the chef cooks up a new soup recipe for the royal family and the whole kingdom. But he accidentally falls into the queen's soup, she dies of fright at the table, and the result is the king bans soup and rats, making them illegal. Ultimately Despereaux must work to make things right.

The most unhappy character in the kingdom is Emma Watson voicing Princess Pea. The saddest character is Tracey Ullman voicing the very ugly child Miggery Sow who was sold to the kingdom along with the pigs.

Kevin Kline is always such a good voice actor and he is Andre the chef. Other outstanding actors include William H. Macy, Stanley Tucci, Ciarán Hinds, Robbie Coltrane, Frank Langella, Richard Jenkins, and Christopher Lloyd.
Tale of Desperate
I haven't read the book yet, so I can't make a comparison between movie and book. The movie itself was OK at best; good points first - it was beautifully animated, the characters lavishly designed, great visuals, the voice talent was pretty much as good as it can get. Now, the bad points - it made no sense, the story/plot was all over the place, it wasn't engaging and it was all a bit mediocre. It brought nothing new to the table. There were too many characters to keep track of and yet none of the characters are really that likable. I felt that there was no charm at all, as if the film-makers were trying too hard, and in doing so they've lost any magic that the story and characters may have had. All in all, it just felt really contrived and desperate. Oh, and why the heck do they have to make the mice and rats look so much like real mice and rats??? At least the rats in Ratatouille looked cartoon-y and were cute, the mice and rats in T.O.D were just plain creepy looking.
An Underrated Classic
I just saw this movie again, and stand by my original assessment of it. It's an underrated classic, with far more depth than most family movies. On the one hand it's more simplistic than, say, a Pixar film. It's more of a fairy tale like The Little Prince. And while I don't care for the character designs too much (though they do have an artistic charm to them), from a writing standpoint I would put Despereaux on par with the best Pixar films, maybe more so.

Most of the main characters are seriously damaged, yet believably human (even the rodents). The way some characters fall from grace is more believable than anything Lucas came up with in Star Wars III.

If it has a failing it's with some of the secondary characters, such as the Soup Maker's assistant (made up of vegetables) which just didn't really seem necessary.

But the themes of anger, regret, sadness, depression, and the power of forgiveness makes this a movie I feel more children should be exposed to. It's a very much a children's movie, but deals very much with adult themes.
Disappointed - not what I expected
I expected a bit more out of this movie than was delivered. My 7 year old actually fell asleep near the end of the movie. No kidding. Another reviewer hit the nail on the head in describing the animation as video game quaility (maybe like 1990's quality). The story is a great storybook but terrible in movie format. I kept waiting for a funny part to come or something exciting to happen. It rarely did.

I have to disagree with another reviewer who praised the voices. Honestly, I can't see the importance of having big named screen actors doing the voices of these characters other than trying to draw folks into a mediocre movie, unlike Madagascar where the voices and big named people actually make the movie even better.
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