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The Tale of Despereaux

Animation . Comedy . Family . Adventure

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

Actors: Emma Watson , Matthew Broderick , Dustin Hoffman , Sigourney Weaver , Tracey Ullman , Kevin Kline , William H. Macy , Stanley Tucci , Ciarán Hinds , Robbie Coltrane
Directors: Sam Fell , Robert Stevenhagen
Country: UK , USA
Release: 2008-12-19
More Info:
  • Tracie Cooper

    A perfect fairytale, adhering to The Princess Bride's standards of fighting, fencing, torture, and true love, without the ham-fisted moral element of so many of its fairy-tale predecessors.

    TV Guide Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    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.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    More like Disney's "Sleeping Beauty," somber, slow and elegant instead of frantic and dazzling.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Peter Hartlaub

    May not be a classic, but it still has a lot of class.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Wesley Morris

    A skillfully managed fairy tale about a mouse, a rat, and fairy tales in general.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Sheri Linden

    A rare creature, not only for the handmade look and subtlety of its computer-generated imagery but also for its irony-free embrace of once-upon-a-time storytelling.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    A pleasantly immersive, beautifully animated, occasionally sleepy tale.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Tasha Robinson

    Despereaux at least has too much ambition rather than too little, but its curiously intellectual pleasures suggest a quaint puzzle rather than a passionately loved fairy tale.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    I admired the craft more than I loved the results. But The Tales of Despereaux is still better-than-average animation.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    The tiny, intrepid rodent is so cute it's impossible not to ooh and aww, just looking at him. Which is a good thing, because you'll need something to get you through the long stretches of fairytale pastiche that make up this overwrought yarn.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    While the story does not quite come to magical life, the themes of courage, hope and decency are sweetly inspiring.

    USA Today Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    While the voice acting is fine and the story is nicely paced, the visuals are disappointing.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Michael Rechtshaffen

    The flatly generic results certainly appear at odds with the picture's stirring visual style, which pays homage to the great Flemish artists.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Staff (Not credited)

    While it meanders on its way to the requisite happy ending, the lush, stylised animation and courtly flourishes would win over anyone.

    Empire Full Review
  • Adam Markovitz

    Too bad the story's such a mess.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Bob Mondello

    A little slow for the very youngest kids -- though the messages it imparts are certainly ones you'll want them to hear.

    NPR Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    The movie is a freakish creature, with lush, painterly animation inspired by Dutch and Flemish masters, attached to a convoluted, gloomy narrative punctuated with scenes of sadism that rival "The Dark Knight."

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Paula Nechak

    Unfortunately, the life has been sucked out of DiCamillo's story about a brave, unusual little mouse.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    This graphically well-rendered kidpic is less crass and mouthy than many recent feature-length toons, but also more sluggish and ungainly as it tries to approximate DiCamillo's singularly delicate tone.

    Variety Full Review
  • John Anderson

    As usual with these animated epics, much depends on the vocal performances, and it's a mixed bag.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Andrea Gronvall

    Many of the charms of Kate DiCamillo's best-selling children's book are lost in this British animation by Dreamworks alumni Sam Fell (Flushed Away) and Rob Stevenhagen.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Stina Chyn

    As easy as it is to pass down mantras of fear and hate from parent to child or society to community (and individual), so is the imprinting of courage and compassion through conversation, emulation, books, plays, films, and the like. The Tale of Despereaux, aims to share such a message.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    The lesson learned from The Tale of Despereaux is that an overabundance of vocal talent does not a good cartoon make.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Ella Taylor

    Clumsily wedged in like a TV commercial between deafening stunts, the emotional storytelling sinks without trace, leaving you with only one flawed character to cling to.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Chris Kaltenbach

    Kids will get antsy, wondering why their favorite characters disappear for long stretches of the film, while adults will wonder just when this scattershot approach to storytelling will congeal into something resembling coherence.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
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