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The Tale of Despereaux

2008

G CC

A fun adventure for the whole family! This magical fairytale classic follows the exciting quest of a brave mouse who sets off to rescue a Princess and save an entire Kingdom.

Starring:
Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman
Runtime:
1 hour, 33 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

When renting, you have 30 days to start watching this video, and 24 hours to finish once started.

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Buy Movie HD $12.99

Rent

When renting, you have 30 days to start watching this video, and 24 hours to finish once started.

Rent Movie HD $3.99
Rent Movie SD $2.99

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Buy Movie HD $12.99
Buy Movie SD $9.99
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Product Details

Genres Fantasy, Adventure, Comedy, Kids & Family
Director Sam Fell, Robert Stevenhagen
Starring Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman
Supporting actors Emma Watson, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Kline, William H. Macy, Stanley Tucci, Ciarán Hinds, Robbie Coltrane, Tony Hale, Frances Conroy, Frank Langella, Richard Jenkins, Christopher Lloyd, Charles Shaughnessy, Sigourney Weaver, Patricia Cullen, Sam Fell, Jane Karen, Bronson Pinchot
Studio NBC Universal
MPAA rating G (General Audience)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The book was an absolutely DELIGHTFUL story. Charming, evocative, mysterious, fun, and cheerful for the most part. One of those stories that is just made for reading aloud, and which keeps the audience enthralled to the last word, and which provides a simultaneous sense of satisfaction mixed with disappointment when it ends. We read it together as a family, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. In fact, it is high on my list of Must Read books for children - oh, not very YOUNG children, because the story is too long for them, and requires connecting the dots between several story lines woven skillfully together. But 10 to 18 year olds - yes, even teens love this story. A lovely way to create bonds of shared memories for families with teens that they aren't sure how to connect with again.

I wish the movie captured even a hint of the charm and delight of the book. But it does not. We bought it, in hopes that it would capture some of the essence of the story (in spite of hearing bad reviews). To our great disappointment, it failed in every respect. Other than the name, and a few shared names of characters, and the mention of soup, the movie bore no relation to the story in the book.

The creators of the movie, from some misguided notion that they had to rewrite the story to capture the movie audience, managed to strip it of every defining characteristic, and to create a story that was not only devoid of any of the charm or enjoyment that the book possessed, but completely, and utterly uninspired and pathetic. It was a waste of money to even make such a travesty. Many other movie reviewers have agreed that the movie was on the low end of the scale.
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Format: Theatrical Release
*Spoiler Alert. A request was made to add this for people who don't like to see storyline*

My daughter wanted to see this film. Probably because the ads showed a cute mouse. We had never heard of this book so I can't judge the story.

The qualities of the stories are simple. Mistakes, redemption, pure of heart, honor, etc.

The movie opens with a ship heading to a city. On it is Roscuro the rat. Wearing cloths and an ear ring he looks forward for the famous Soup of the day of the kingdom of Dor. Wandering through the city he accidentally finds himself in the royal hall as the royal family are first to try the soup. Too entranced with the smell; Roscuro falls into the Queens soup and she is shocked to see a Rat, suffers a heart attack and dies. The guards chase him and he eventally falls into a drainage where he lands in Ratworld. There he is discovered by Botticelli who befriends him and decides to teach him the proper ways of being a Rat.

The grieving king then declares no more soup and rats are outlawed and any who harbor them will be punished.

Despereaux is born in mouseworld. He is not a typical mouse. Smaller then normal and he has over-sized ears. What's worst is that he doesn't cower, run, and he likes to take the cheese from mouse traps. His parents are called into school and told he is about to fail since he does not cower from knives and he draws pictures of cats. Even names one fluffy. The school master suggests that Despereaux follow his brother who graduated and was a proper mouse and could teach by example.

They head off to the library where Despereaux is supposed to eat books but instead he starts reading them and learns about knights, honor and questing to save the fair princess.
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Format: DVD
How do I describe THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX? On the one hand, it's got top-notch animation, wonderful voice acting, and interesting characters. On the other hand, it has a few too many characters, grown-up themes, and requires the viewer's rapt attention. On the gripping hand, it's just not for little ones. To be clear, it's fine for young ones to watch, it just seems that they are not the film's intended audience. This is odd since it LOOKS like it's a kid's show. It was advertised as a kid's show. But my 4-year-old only watched when Despereaux himself was on the screen, and my 11-year-old spent most of the movie telling me how different it was from the book. My husband and I liked it, but we all agreed it was simply "OK."

THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX is actually a couple of tales, starting with the story of a sea-faring rat named Roscuro who loves soup. Through a horrible twist of fate, Roscuro's presence results in the queen's death (death by soup, believe it or not) and the banning of soup and rats from the kingdom. I had to wonder why no one had thought to banish the rats before but eh. Roscuro ends up in the dungeon where only the rats hang out. The second story is about Despereaux the mouse. We decided that Despereaux must be Flemish for "Dumbo" since that's pretty much who this mouse looks like. He can even fly with his giant ears. Despereaux is literally fearless and as such is banished from mousedom for fear of the other meeses learning his bad traits. Guess where he's banished to. That's right, the rat dungeon. Another story is about a peasant girl who dreams of being a princess. Apparently, this was toned way down from the novel, in that the girl's owner only sneers at her and doesn't beat her in the movie. We see how she is sold to the king's cook along with a herd of pigs.
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