Tale of Despereaux

Directed By: Sam Fell Rob Stevenhagen

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Product Overview

The tale of three unlikely heroes - a misfit mouse who prefers reading books to eating them, an unhapp 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.


Studio Universal
SKU 210687514
UPC 025193229427
UPC 14 00025193229427
Format DVD
Release Date 5/9/2010
Rating Rating
Animated Characters
Animated Worlds
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
Note Universal Pictures crafts a whimsical tale of courage using some truly stunning CGI animation in THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX. Based on the award-winning book of the same name, the film features some all-star voice work from the likes of Sigourney Weaver, Dustin Hoffman, and Matthew Broderick. The story begins in the European city of Dor, a picturesque town know for its amazing soup. When the soup-obsessed rat Roscuro (Hoffman) accidentally brings about a tragedy in the royal kingdom, the Dor King falls into mourning, both soup and rats are banned, and the skies turn to gray. Roscuro soon finds himself living in the dank darkness of a place called Rat World. Nearby, in Mouse World, we finally meet our hero, Despereaux (Broderick). Despereaux is an unusually small mouse with some rather over-sized dreams. Despite his small stature, he longs to live a bold and exciting life, and he chafes at the dictums of Mouse World--where mice are taught to live quietly in fear. When Despereaux goes so far as to befriend the human Princess Pea (Emma Watson), he is booted from Mouse World down into the miseries of Rat World. There he meets Roscuro, and together the two decide to carry out their own individual quests and right what has been wronged. While Roscuro soon finds himself going astray, Despereaux sticks to his guns--or rather, his sewing-needle sword--and he fights to bring joy and freedom back to the city of Dor.^The film remains pretty faithful to the book, although it does trim down some of the quirkier aspects of the novel. Yet the story is still refreshingly dark in places, and is reminiscent of such classic tales as THE SECRET OF NIMH and WATERSHIP DOWN--smart cartoons that were always about much more than mere cuddly talking animals.
New York Times "It begins as all fairy tales should, with a narrator recounting the story of the pastel-hued Kingdom of Dor....Pleasantly immersive, beautifully animated..." 12/19/2008
Chicago Sun-Times 3 stars out of 5 -- "[B]eautifully drawn...rendered in enchanting detail and painterly colors....It is a joy to look at frame by frame..." 12/17/2008
Entertainment Weekly "[T]his CG adventure looks like an illuminated manuscript brought to life. The screen glows with Renaissance golds..." 01/01/2009
Empire 3 stars out of 5 -- "A heartwarming tale of a little mouse that could, DESPEREAUX is a cross between DUMBO and THE PRINCESS BRIDE." 02/01/2009
Hollywood Reporter "[T]he artfully rendered CG animation is quite lovely..." 12/15/2009
Sam Fell
Rob Stevenhagen
Cast & Crew
Gary Ross - Screenwriter
Chris Viscardi - Screenwriter
Gary Ross - Producer
Ciaran Hinds - Voice
Matthew Broderick - Voice
Richard Jenkins - Voice
William Sargent - Executive Producer
David Lipman - Executive Producer
Sigourney Weaver - Voice
William H. Macy - Voice
Dustin Hoffman - Voice
Kevin Kline - Voice
James Nesbitt - Voice
Emma Watson - Voice
Kate DiCamillo - Source Writer
Frank Langella - Voice
Robbie Coltrane - Voice
Robin Bissell - Executive Producer
Allison Thomas - Producer
William Ross - Composer
Christopher Lloyd - Voice
Tony Hale - Voice
Stanley Tucci - Voice
Frances Conroy - Voice
Ryan Kavanaugh - Executive Producer
Will McRobb - Screenwriter
Tracey Ullman - Voice
Sam Fell - Director
Rob Stevenhagen - Director
Technical Info
Original Release Date 2008
Catalog ID 61032294
UPC 00025193229427
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 94 minutes
Color Color
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen  2.35:1
ReviewSource Reel.com
Review The Tale of Despereaux began life as a children's book and the animated film version does its best to reproduce the sounds of a storybook. The characters, especially the brave little titular mouse, are earnest rather than wisecracking, and Sigourney Weaver speaks in soothing, empathetic tones as the narrator, just like Mom. The movie might have looked a bit more like a lush picture book, though, if it had been hand-drawn rather than computer-generated...Computers are now the default tools of the animation world, of course, and animators have produced many stunning and even personal images using them. But the animation in Despereaux is hardly state-of-the-art, and so in exchange for that token modernity we get the same waxy, deformed humans a computer could've struggled with in the late `90s. The mammals fare a bit better, but the movie's limited charm comes from its old-fashioned, homespun quality, not the CGI breeze rustling through tiny CGI mouse hairs...If computers have indeed turned animation into a more competitive game than it was a few decades ago, The Tale of Despereaux is ill-equipped; an unfair observation, perhaps, but difficult to sidestep...Allow me then to delicately mention that following Flushed Away and especially Ratatouille, Despereaux's world of aspiring rodents is a little mustier than its predecessors...As children's entertainment, The Tale of Despereaux has its heart in the right place, and might rightly be taken as an antidote to its screechier, talking-dog-laden, live-action cousins. But with Pixar's advances towering on one side and classic Disney features on the other, this wan little picture might just as well slip, mouse-like, into the cracks.
Reviewer Jesse Hassenger
ReviewRating 6
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review "The Tale of Despereaux" is one of the most beautifully drawn animated films I've seen, rendered in enchanting detail and painterly colors by an art department headed by Oliver Adam. With a story centering on a big-eared little mouse named Despereaux, a sniffy rat named Roscuro and various other members of the animal and vegetable kingdoms, it is a joy to look at frame by frame, and it would be worth getting the Blu-ray to do that...I am not quite so thrilled by the story, which at times threatens to make Gormenghast seem straightforward. There are three societies with interconnections (mouse, rat and human), plus a man made of vegetables who possibly runs his social life out of the produce market and maybe dates dates...Roscuro (with a Ratso voice by Dustin Hoffman) is first on the scene, racing from a ship in port to sniff at the kingdom's annual spring festival, celebrated by the royal chef Andre (Kevin Kline) by creating a new soup to be shared by every citizen. Alas, he falls in the soup of the queen, who then falls in the soup herself and puts the king in mourning. The king then banishes soup and rats from his realm, which is little matter to the rats, who have a highly evolved civilization somewhere belowstairs...The movie is based on four Newbery Award-winning novels by Kate DiCamillo, all unread by me, but somehow reminded me of another wonderful mouse story, Ben and Me, by the great Richard Lawson...I suppose the plot will be easier for DiCamillo's readers to untangle, and that those too young or too old to have read them will nevertheless appreciate the look of the film. What I'd like to see is this same team take on a better-organized screenplay. Has anyone read the Gormenghast trilogy? There's a classic that would look just about righty with this look.
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 8
DVD, English, Spanish, French, Dolby, Dolby Digital (5.1)
Product Attributes
Video Format DVD
Claudia Puig, USA Today ...the themes of courage, hope and decency are sweetly inspiring.
Dove Foundation A delightful story that the entire family will enjoy!
Film Advisory Board Heroic, charming, stunning! Flat-out fantastic!
Shawn Edwards, FOX-TV Enchanting, heartwarming and fun!
Tracie Cooper, TV Guide A perfect fairytale, adhering to The Princess Bride's standards of fighting, fencing, torture, and true love...

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