ReviewWriter: Loong Wai TingWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Mousehunt,” “Ratatouille,” “Magic Roundabout”
First of all, "The Tale of Despereaux" charts a territory somewhere between the fine cooking of "Ratatouille" and Gore Verbinski's 1997 "Mousehunt." Beyond the world of humans, what lies beneath their feet are two rather big communities of mice and rats. The mice get to live in a better environment with plenty of food and a very systematic way of living, while the rats live in a dark, secluded and filthy place.
"Despereaux" is funny, exciting and enlightening in its own way, but strangely, instead of listening to a squeaky, mousy voice, Despereaux is brought to life perhaps inappropriately by Matthew Broderick's manly voice. On the other hand, Dustin Hoffman follows his Shifu role in "Kung Fu Panda" with a rat named Roscuro.
While "Despereaux" is enjoyable to watch, without Sigourney Weaver's narration, the storyline is rather confusing. Instead of focusing on character building, the runtime is shared among various supporting characters such as Mig, the servant who dreams to be a princess. The movie however is commendable in its attempt to include all the crucial characters from the original story written by Kate DiCamillo. Obviously, the story of "Despereaux" had to be compacted to make it more suitable for the screen. Sometimes things go largely unexplained, like when a Veggie spirit appears out of nowhere, leaving us to wonder about the point of the character.
"Despereaux" is a typical fairy tale with the usual happily-ever-after ending. However, "Despereaux" does cover some ground on issues such as humanity and the environment, which means it's not entirely a kid's movie. The jealousy, hatred and rejection that both Roscuro and Mig experience in this movie point towards a more adult audience.
All in all, "Despereaux" is still as adorable as the trailer and poster promised. What's not to like about the adorable mouse with 'ginormous' ears, shaped like an oversized candy? There is plenty of room for improvement but that's another tale.Cinema Online, 01 January 1900