The Tale of Despereaux (U)

Film

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Dec 16 2008

Could this be the best film ever made about a national soup ban? Aardman alumni Sam Fell and Robert Stevenhagen bring old-fashioned fairy tale dynamics and an inviting fireside warmth to this adaptation of the bestselling children’s book by US author Kate DiCamillo. A lengthy prologue sets the scene, where the enquiring mind of ship’s rat Roscuro (Dustin Hoffman) gets the better of him on Soup Day, and he falls into the queen’s painstakingly concocted broth and causes her to die on the spot. By decree of the king, both soup and rats are outlawed, which draws a veil of gloom over the land and inadvertently spawns the ugly, underground Ratworld. It’s up to tiny mouse, Despereaux (voiced by Matthew Broderick), to revive the fortunes of this once-picturesque township.

Stylistically, the film uses brushed, pastel tones to reference classical painting, the most direct example of which is the Arcimboldo-inspired kitchen helper whose body consists of fruit and vegetables. Also, older viewers won’t have to rely on another tired barrage of pop-cultural references, beat-boxing squirrels or hackneyed Shrekisms, and can instead grapple with the film’s surprisingly complex subtexts: ideas of regional conflict, unreasonable abuse of the law and political scaremongering.

There are a few problems, mainly with the narrative which keeps doubling-back on itself to introduce new characters. And while it’s not animated with the breathless pizazz of a Pixar, ‘Despereaux’ is all the more affecting and dramatically successful for its contemplative pace and measured delivery of information. A lovely film.
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Release details

Rated:

U

UK release:

Fri Dec 19, 2008

Duration:

93 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:9
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|25
1 person listening
Mike

Watched this with my eight year old and her Grandma. All of us thoroughly absorbed in the film marvellous animation and a good old fashioned story. One for the collection.

Mike

Watched this with my eight year old and her Grandma. All of us thoroughly absorbed in the film marvellous animation and a good old fashioned story. One for the collection.

Adam

I went with my 2 daughters (7 & 9) at weekend and I thought this a delightful film (much better than I expected from reviews I'd read in advance), The visual style was different and superbly crafted, and there were some stunning scenes - particularly the contrast between Mouseworld & Ratworld; and great effects (such as the animation of the legend that Despereaux reads in the library). I thought that the emphasis on (old fashioned) values was great. I was entertained throughout & thought it a charming story of the the triumph of good over evil and the power of redemption. My only criticism is with the initial scene-setting voice-over introduction which didn't work for me and resulted in some initial confusion about the identity of the rat!). The best thing was that my 2 kids loved it too. I recommend it.

Adam

I went with my 2 daughters (7 & 9) at weekend and I thought this a delightful film (much better than I expected from reviews I'd read in advance), The visual style was different and superbly crafted, and there were some stunning scenes - particularly the contrast between Mouseworld & Ratworld; and great effects (such as the animation of the legend that Despereaux reads in the library). I thought that the emphasis on (old fashioned) values was great. I was entertained throughout & thought it a charming story of the the triumph of good over evil and the power of redemption. My only criticism is with the initial scene-setting voice-over introduction which didn't work for me and resulted in some initial confusion about the identity of the rat!). The best thing was that my 2 kids loved it too. I recommend it.

abc

Great film, the pace of the movie is quite slow and can be boring.

Mel

I worked on this film for from beginning to end...two years, and the whole point was to deliver something different fromt the norm. Although I agree the story may be too convoluted at times, we were trying to take the animation and style to a new level and communicate with kids in a different manner. Although nervous about the lack of obvious gags, and adult jokes i was immensly proud of the risk that all companies took in creating something outside the box. Pixar and Dreamworks have set a standard, regards too look and content, it's about time we pushed those boudaries. P.S. Altohugh my younger nieces and nephews found some parts scary, the over ten years old, were sold out :)

Mel

I worked on this film for from beginning to end...two years, and the whole point was to deliver something different fromt the norm. Although I agree the story may be too convoluted at times, we were trying to take the animation and style to a new level and communicate with kids in a different manner. Although nervous about the lack of obvious gags, and adult jokes i was immensly proud of the risk that all companies took in creating something outside the box. Pixar and Dreamworks have set a standard, regards too look and content, it's about time we pushed those boudaries. P.S. Altohugh my younger nieces and nephews found some parts scary, the over ten years old, were sold out :)

Victoria

It was a really good film. I thought it was funny, very moving and of course the little mouse was sooo cute! Excellent story line aswell. I recommend it like mad!

Victoria

It was a really good film. I thought it was funny, very moving and of course the little mouse was sooo cute! Excellent story line aswell. I recommend it like mad!

billybob

this was an appalling film.. terrible.. the characters were fantastic! so was the plot..very funny! hated every minute of this..couldnt stop laughing...absolutely splendiferous!

billybob

this was an appalling film.. terrible.. the characters were fantastic! so was the plot..very funny! hated every minute of this..couldnt stop laughing...absolutely splendiferous!

Tom Renshaw

I loved every minute of this film; Desperaux is the cutest little mouse I have ever seen with his little pink teddy nose and his lovely ears. The film is very exciting and even my mum loved it. It is also the best fairytale I have seen and one of the highlights of my cinema career! A must see!!!!!

Tom Renshaw

I loved every minute of this film; Desperaux is the cutest little mouse I have ever seen with his little pink teddy nose and his lovely ears. The film is very exciting and even my mum loved it. It is also the best fairytale I have seen and one of the highlights of my cinema career! A must see!!!!!

baz

i thought the film was amazing my 8 kids enjoyed it so much they watched it again

baz

i thought the film was amazing my 8 kids enjoyed it so much they watched it again

Seoras

Just got back from the cinema having sat through this with my two sons - six and eight. I have to say this is an appalling film. The animation is good and the cast stellar but the story is so disjointed it feels like it has been written and rewritten by a large number of people who may not have actually met each other. The pace is very v e r y slow. It's one of those films where you never forget you are in a cinema and spend half the time either looking around the room or at your watch. Final word? Shmaltzy, disjointed rubbish.

Dave Morris

Its wonderful. This one is different. Not the usual missmash that spoonfeeds the audience. Sure there are rodents, but how many animated films have there been with rodents in the last hundred years? Come on. The coolest thing about this movie is it has a totally different flavour from the usual Animation Production houses. And it's not full of gags. Animation is a medium, not a genre! Well Done. Enjoy it guys n gals, finally a story that kids and adults can reflect on afterwards.

Dave Morris

Its wonderful. This one is different. Not the usual missmash that spoonfeeds the audience. Sure there are rodents, but how many animated films have there been with rodents in the last hundred years? Come on. The coolest thing about this movie is it has a totally different flavour from the usual Animation Production houses. And it's not full of gags. Animation is a medium, not a genre! Well Done. Enjoy it guys n gals, finally a story that kids and adults can reflect on afterwards.

k

Whimsical, beautifully made, but lacking that something special. I enjoyed the film, but it left me feeling a bit flat - ho hum very nice the end etc. I you've seen the trailers you've definitely seen the best of the film.