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Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux

4.0 22
Director: Sam Fell, Rob Stevenhagen

Cast: Matthew Broderick, Robbie Coltrane


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A diminutive mouse strives to make a mammoth change in his troubled kingdom in this adaptation of author Kate DiCamillo's Newbery Medal-winning children's book. A long time ago, in the distant kingdom of Dor, a horrible accident broke the heart of the king, left a beautiful princess crestfallen, and filled the townspeople with despair. As the sun disappeared from the


A diminutive mouse strives to make a mammoth change in his troubled kingdom in this adaptation of author Kate DiCamillo's Newbery Medal-winning children's book. A long time ago, in the distant kingdom of Dor, a horrible accident broke the heart of the king, left a beautiful princess crestfallen, and filled the townspeople with despair. As the sun disappeared from the sky and the flowers were drained of color, the laughter slowly ceased in this once-magical land. It was into this darkened world that a tiny mouse named Despereaux Tilling was born, and while this virtuous little rodent may have been short in stature, his bravery was ultimately too big for such a small world to contain. An unlikely hero with oversized ears and a discernible wheeze, Despereaux was taken with tales of chivalry, and longed to one day become a noble figure among his people. Sometimes in order to realize their true destiny, heroes must first experience great hardship, however, and when Despereaux fails to adhere to the rigid rules of his society, he is banished from Dor. Later, while exploring the outer realms, the lonely Despereaux is joined by a kindhearted rat named Roscuro. Roscuro, too, has been excommunicated from his homeland, and still cannot stand to look into a mirror lest he be reminded of his painful past. Later, as Despereaux embarks on a treacherous quest to rescue the endangered Princess Pea, Roscuro is set down the path of self-destruction after receiving a painful rejection from his highness. Now, on their way to realizing their extraordinary destinies, these two unlikely heroes will face off against the malevolent leader of the sewer rats, who is plotting revenge on humans from his subterranean kingdom; befriend a common serving girl who longs to become princess; and meet a whole host of colorful characters that they will never forget. Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Watson, and Tracey Ullman lead a powerhouse cast in this animated feature produced by Gary Ross and Allison Thomas. Also lending voices to the project are Sigourney Weaver, Kevin Kline, Stanley Tucci, William H. Macy, and Christopher Lloyd.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The world of food-related metaphors describing an individual film experience is vast, ranging from a glass of the finest vintage to chicken soup, and on some unfortunate occasions, the very questionable egg salad sandwich procured from a gas-station vending machine. The Tale of Despereaux is a cookie and a glass of milk. Also, puppies, kittens, a bedtime story, Christmas, birthday presents, and flannel pajamas, without being overly adorable. It plays exactly like a really, really good fairy tale should, with just the right amounts of darkness, light, earnestness, and humor (not unlike the soup that connects the intersecting lives of man, mouse, and rat in the film), and thanks to breathtaking animation and Sigourney Weaver's smooth narrative voice, it's gorgeous to watch and hear. There's Roscuro (voiced by Dustin Hoffman), a kind-hearted seafaring rat who accidentally sets off a tragic sequence of events within the kingdom of Dor and finds himself in the sinister, subterranean Ratworld; the Dor royals, whose family is ripped apart when the queen suffers a nasty shock on Soup Day, the island's most celebrated holiday; and the residents of Mouseworld, a generally kind populace that just doesn't know what to do with young Despereaux, who, despite all of their efforts, can't seem to uphold the mouse society's all-important value of cowering in the face of danger. Small even for a mouse, Despereaux is born, literally, with his uncommonly large eyes wide open, ready to look the world square in the face. When Despereaux, under the tutelage of his appropriately timid brother, is sent to the Dor castle library to learn how to eat paper, he finds himself preferring to read the medieval tales of chivalry, heroism, and the rescuing of princesses. Before long, Despereaux has sworn to uphold the code of a gentleman, and vows to the human Princess Pea (who longs for the sunny days and hot soup that disappeared after the queen's demise) to finish the book and bring her news of the storybook princess' fate. Naturally, things don't go as planned -- Despereaux's insistence on consorting with humans and refusing to obey mouse laws gets him a ticket to the sewers, where a chance meeting with Roscuro saves him from a nasty gladiatorial arena-style death at the hands of the rats. Thus, their quests begin: Despereaux must escape the sewers and obey Princess Pea's request, while Roscuro vows to set things right with the royal family. The Tale of Despereaux is a perfect fairy tale, 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. This is not to say the film doesn't impart several morals; it does, and they are important morals to take to heart: do not run from the world, do not allow the grief of death to poison the joy of life, and be careful when laying blame. Though the film, again, is beautiful to watch, there are some genuinely scary moments that will have viewers of any age half-convinced that their gallant hero is bound to meet a violent end, and the pacing is hurried at times. However, the film is so darn sincere (not to mention completely devoid of musical interludes and pop-cultural asides), it's a feat in itself to notice any flaws, let alone care a great deal.

Product Details

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Original Release:
Universal Studios
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Special Features

Despereaux's quest game; Build - boldo game; The making of The Tale of Despereaux; Activities and more!

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Matthew Broderick Despereaux
Robbie Coltrane Gregory
Frances Conroy Antoinette
Tony Hale Furlough
Ciarán Hinds Botticelli
Dustin Hoffman Roscuro
Richard Jenkins Principal
Kevin Kline Andre
Frank Langella Mayor
Christopher Lloyd Hovis
William H. Macy Lester
Charles Shaughnessy Pietro
Stanley Tucci Boldo
Tracey Ullman Miggery Sow
Emma Watson Princess Pea
Sigourney Weaver Narrator

Technical Credits
Sam Fell Director
Rob Stevenhagen Director
Glen Ballard Songwriter
Robin Bissell Executive Producer
Brad Blackbourn Cinematographer
Ryan Kavanaugh Executive Producer
David Lipman Executive Producer
Will McRobb Original Story
Kathy Nelson Musical Direction/Supervision
Gary Ross Producer,Screenwriter
William Ross Score Composer
William Sargent Executive Producer
Tracy Shaw Co-producer
Mark Solomon Editor
Dave Stewart Songwriter
Allison Thomas Producer
Chris Viscardi Original Story
Debra Zane Casting

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Tale of Despereaux
1. Main Titles [2:16]
2. Soup Day [3:06]
3. A Royal Creation [4:09]
4. The Taste Test [4:45]
5. Terrible Sadness [2:29]
6. Mouseworld [5:58]
7. Ratworld [3:06]
8. Learning To Be Afraid [7:10]
9. Meeting The Princess [7:47]
10. Banished [2:10]
11. Into The Darkness [5:36]
12. Playing Cat & Mouse [5:42]
13. A Noble Quest [6:35]
14. Broken-Hearted [4:25]
15. Taken Prisoner [4:04]
16. Soup's On [5:25]
17. Chivalry, Bravery, Honor [3:49]
18. Out Of The Bag [2:12]
19. Forgiven [3:22]
20. End Titles [2:37]
21. Chapter 21 [6:38]


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The Tale of Despereaux 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
EGHunter01 More than 1 year ago
Great story line. Endearing lead mouse. Wonderful family or group entertainment. Get your popcorn and enjoy! Adorable characters and entertaining.
Teacher-zoey More than 1 year ago
Enchanted fun and swashbuckling action. Small, yes, but Desperaux is a mighty mouse. You'll love the adorable character and his surrounding cast. It has that lovable, fairy-tale feel (our should I say fairy- tail?).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This movie was extremely depressing. The plot behind the movie involves the queen's death after eating soup that a mouse has fallen into. The rest of the movie involves a giant rat who gets his kicks out of torturing using the methods of the Coliseum. I do not recommend this movie despite the cuteness of the main character.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My book is tale of desperaux .It about a mouse in love with a princess pea, he has big ears and believes in happily ever after. The mouse goes to the dungeon for not following the mouse rules. He’s name is Desperaux. A rat that cause all rats to the dungeon with desperaux, but he turned a bad rat. This made him to convince a girl miggery a girl who wants to be a princess but a maid for the princess because her father Greggory sold her for a pack of cigars. He ended up at the castle dungeon tried to put her in the dungeon and steal her crown and be a princess. I give this book a 5 because it’s 4 books in1. I have never seen any book like this it’s impossible to stop reading. It’s easy, fun and has some pictures but for rest of the book you can imagine in your head. I loved tale of desperaux the movie the book everything and it deserved the Newberry book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A young mouse is not like his family or friends. He is brave and energetic. The mouse council decides to send him down the drain from which no mouse has ever come back. the rats capture him and give him to a friendly rat who used to be a sailor. Together they escape and save the princess and the cook's famous soup.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Baloo_182 More than 1 year ago
This movie as a whole is great, but one or two of the characters (namely the villain) are introduced suddenly and aren't explained as well as they should be. The film could also be just a little bit longer to allow for more story depth. The amount given is great, but since it's based off of the book, a tiny bit more could have been put in easily without disrupting the flow of the movie. The music and animation are brilliant, and the lighting is superb. Over all a great film, but just a few fixes here and there could have made it even better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of those stores that you can watch over and over on those rainy saterday and sunday afternoons even if its not raining.
cheergirl100 More than 1 year ago
that was a pretty cute movie. It also makes me really hungry! (the movie has lots of soup)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As with most animated features today, this is great fun to watch. The characters are charming and well enacted. However, fans of DiCamillo will be disappointed by the storyline as it strays so far from the book as to be hardly recognizable. 'tis a shame, because the original work has so much more to offer than what actually ended up in the movie. If this is your first introduction to Kate DiCamillo's writing, you have been misled. Order the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a very sweet, heartfelt movie. Definitely worth one viewing, but you'll want more. and Despereaux himself is so cute as a mouse!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Me personally, enjoy seeing my favorite books on the big screen. But for the movie "Tale of Desperaux" I was highly anticipating on, I got very disappointed at the end. There were so many things added to the movie that weren't even in the book. This proves my point to my friend that books are better than movies (well in my opinion).
Awesomegirlskj More than 1 year ago
This was a great movie. I read the book right before I saw the movie and I was not a bit disappointed. Everyone I know says that they made a complete fool out of the book but I do not think so. You should buy this movie!
honeybear45 More than 1 year ago
learn about wisdom
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k9pretty More than 1 year ago
I thought it could have been much better.I thought the book was much better than the book because they were nothing alike. I weren't read the book than see the movie because you would feel it was a waste of time.