Review - "The Tale of Despereaux" (2008) (Universal Pictures)

WriterDave By WriterDave, 3rd Jun 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>Animation

One could get lost in the potpourri of animated films released each each year. There seems to be a kind of renaissance in animation going on these days; from Japanese Anime to Pixar big studio epics to motion-capture inspired projects, it's all out there. The quality and majesty of animated films in the new millennium is transcendent.

Animation Comes to the Forefront

Excellent animation and terrific voice characterizations by top notch actors make “The Tale of Despereaux” stand out amongst the ever-increasing slew of computer generated image movies. Matthew Broderick voices the little mouse with the big Dumbo-like ears. Broderick lends an understated sweetness to this Stuart Little-ish CGI rodent. Narrator, Sigourney Weaver adds just the right neo-feminist edge to Kate DiCamillo’s popular book. Emma Watson, who also looks like a princess in real life, voices the royal ‘Miss Pea.’ Dustin Hoffman puts his usual savoir faire into the part of an earring-wearing, melancholic rat by the name of ‘Roscuro.’ A myriad of other thespians fill out the cast including Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman, Bill Macy, Stanley Tucci, Robbie Coltrane, and Christopher Lloyd.

The production smartly put actors together for their sound recording sessions, instead of isolating them ,which gives the film an ensemble feel and seems to allow for a bit of improvisation. The fantastical drawn mouse worlds are just unconventional enough to seem ancient and modern at the same time. The co-director, Sam Fell, also did “Flushed Away” and “Para-Norman” and brings a sense of humor, non-patronizing pace, and always something fresh and new to his films.

“The Tale of Despereaux” also has a good message about not judging others by their appearances. It’s a fine message for anyone of any age, and it also makes the movie relevant years after it debuted in the theater. The theme is nothing new: a character that is physically different overcomes adversity and makes friends in a big, wide world; but what is special about ‘Despereaux’ is his altogether earnestness and integrity. It is touching without being overly cute or trite. A fine addition to any animation library.


Dustin Hoffman, Emma Watson, Matthew Broderick, Sigourney Weaver

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author avatar WriterDave
Writing can be many things to many people. For me, it is a way of expression and understanding. Reviewing films, hopefully helps myself and others better understand and get more out of the film.

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