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The Tale of Despereaux
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Learn more about Tale of Despereaux:

Format: DVD
Sku: 210687514
UPC: 025193229427
UPC 14: 00025193229427
Rating: Game Rating Code
See more in Family & Kids
 
Small Mouse. Big Dreams.
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.

"...the themes of courage, hope and decency are sweetly inspiring.  Claudia Puig, USA Today
"A delightful story that the entire family will enjoy!  Dove Foundation
"Heroic, charming, stunning! Flat-out fantastic!  Film Advisory Board
"Enchanting, heartwarming and fun!  Shawn Edwards, FOX-TV
"A perfect fairytale, adhering to The Princess Bride's standards of fighting, fencing, torture, and true love...  Tracie Cooper, TV Guide

Editor's 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.

Features

Video Features DVD, English, Spanish, French, Dolby, Dolby Digital (5.1)

Technical Info


Release Information
Video Mfg Name Studio: Universal
Video Release Date Release Date: 5/9/2010
Video Play Time Running Time: 94 minutes
Video Release Year Original Release Date: 2008
Video CategoryId Catalog ID: 61032294
Video UPC UPC: 00025193229427
Video Number of Discs Number of Discs: 1

Audio & Video
Video Audio Spec Available Audio Tracks:
Video Color Spec Video: Color

Aspect Ratio
Video Aspect Ratio Anamorphic Widescreen  2.35:1
Entertainment Reviews
Expert Review The Tale of Despereaux - DVD Review
By: Jesse Hassenger filmcritic.com DVD Reviews
Published on: 3/27/2009 5:36 PM
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....read the full review

Cast & Crew

Video Cast Info Gary Ross - Screenwriter
Video Cast Info Chris Viscardi - Screenwriter
Video Cast Info Gary Ross - Producer
Video Cast Info Ciaran Hinds - Voice
Video Cast Info Matthew Broderick - Voice
Video Cast Info Richard Jenkins - Voice
Video Cast Info William Sargent - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info David Lipman - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Sigourney Weaver - Voice
Video Cast Info William H. Macy - Voice
Video Cast Info Dustin Hoffman - Voice
Video Cast Info Kevin Kline - Voice
Video Cast Info James Nesbitt - Voice
Video Cast Info Emma Watson - Voice
Video Cast Info Kate DiCamillo - Source Writer
Video Cast Info Frank Langella - Voice
Video Cast Info Robbie Coltrane - Voice
Video Cast Info Robin Bissell - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Allison Thomas - Producer
Video Cast Info William Ross - Composer
Video Cast Info Christopher Lloyd - Voice
Video Cast Info Tony Hale - Voice
Video Cast Info Stanley Tucci - Voice
Video Cast Info Frances Conroy - Voice
Video Cast Info Ryan Kavanaugh - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Will McRobb - Screenwriter
Video Cast Info Tracey Ullman - Voice
Video Cast Info Sam Fell - Director
Video Cast Info Rob Stevenhagen - Director

Professional Reviews

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

Reel.com 6 of 10
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. - Jesse Hassenger

Chicago Sun-Times 8 of 10
"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. - Roger Ebert

Product Attributes

Product attributeVideo Format:   DVD
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