HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Honeyland
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Shinsengumi
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Tale of Despereaux, The I saw a mouse!  Where?  There on the stairs, etc.Buy this film here.
Year: 2008
Director: Sam Fell, Robert Stevenhagen
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Dustin Hoffman, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Kline, William H. Macy, Stanley Tucci, Ciaran Hinds, Robbie Coltrane, Tony Hale, Frances Conroy, Frank Langella, Richard Jenkins, Christopher Lloyd, Sigourney Weaver, Patricia Cullen
Genre: Animated, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: A ship sails into the fairytale kingdom of Dor, bringing a friendly rat named Roscuro (voiced by Dustin Hoffman) who is mesmerized by the aroma of delicious soup. For today is ‘Royal Soup Day’, an event bigger than Christmas for the citizens of Dor. They gather in fancy dress outside castle kitchen where the King and Queen and their lovely Princess Pea (Emma Watson) eagerly await what culinary concoction Chef Andre (Kevin Kline) and his muse, the soup spirit Baldo (Stanley Tucci) have come up with this time. Unfortunately, Roscuro grows so curious he accidentally falls inside a bowl of soup being served for the queen. She promptly suffers a fatal heart attack. Grief-stricken, the King bans soup forever from his kingdom and poor Roscuro is driven underground, away from the sunlight and open air he so loves to dwell in the dark sewers of Rat World.

Meanwhile in Mouse World, our hero is born: Despereaux Tilling (Matthew Broderick), a cute little fellow with enormous ears and a heart to match. For Desperaux does not know the meaning of fear. Since timidity is a virtue and bravery a four-letter word among mice, his mother (Frances Conroy) and father (William H. Macy) worry their son will be an outcast. Sure enough, Despereaux’s feats of daring include frequent visits to the world upstairs where he grows fascinated with a book on chivalry and befriends Princess Pea. Soon afterwards, princess and mouse find their lives tragically intertwined with those of Roscuro and a downtrodden servant girl named Miggery Sow (Tracey Ullman).

Kate DiCamillo’s book is a delight and this is a sterling adaptation. An all-star cast, including Sigourney Weaver who supplies wry narration, respond with gusto to the strong script written by Gary Ross, writer-director of Pleasantville (1998) and Seabiscuit (2003). This was a surprisingly troubled production, with original director Sylvain Chomet (Les Triplettes de Belleville (2003)) removed from the film when he was discovered to be redirecting funds into his other project The Illusionist, and sadly overlooked for a Best Animated Film Oscar. What elevates The Tale of Despereaux above so many computer-generated cartoons is a morally complex story, uniquely told from four varying perspectives. Each of the characters are flawed and play their part in a series of unfortunate misunderstandings, where one begets another, one person is hurt and hurts someone else in turn.

Where Disney movies establish good and evil as absolutes, this daringly shows how injustice hardens the heart and drives decent characters to do bad things. Also how a single act of forgiveness can change everything. Co-directors Sam Fell - an Aardman Animation alumni and director of Flushed Away (2006) - and Robert Stevenhagen cleverly visualise DiCamillo’s concept of illumination - the bringing of light into life, through education, empathy, forgiveness. Like Don Bluth’s best movies this shows us the world from a mouse’s point of view with some inspired set-pieces including Despereaux’s gladiatorial bout with a ferocious housecat and his Indiana Jones-like sprint across a path strewn with mousetraps. The visuals balance fairytale warmth with medieval gloom, again illustrating the core theme which extends to characters renaissance-derived names. No sarcasm, no pop culture jokes, no sickly soul ballads, just solid storytelling. The music by William Ross ably captures Despereaux’s swashbuckling spirit.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2935 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: