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The Tale of Despereaux
DVD disk
Apr 2, 2009 By: J.A. Hamilton
The Tale of Despereaux order
Director:
Sam Fell, Rob Stevenhagen

Actors:
Matthew Broderick
Dustin Hoffman
Sigourney Weaver

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Despereaux is brave, courageous little mouse who’s banished from his home for being different. When his life is spared by a strange rat who shares his ambition, the two friends set off on a quest to not only rescue a Princess, but save the entire Kingdom of Dor.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This was a cute and playful bit of fun if you’re in the mood for a light hearted treat, or if you’re like me and have a girlfriend who’s always bugging you to watch crap like BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY. I’d do just about anything to avoid seeing Renee Zellweger. But I really don’t mind flicks like this every now and then, they make me remember that I have feelings locked away deep inside me somewhere (I just let on like I don’t in front of her so I won’t have to watch flicks like this ALL the time).

The animation in THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX is top notch, as was the voice acting (I never knew Matthew Broderick could sound so pretty). I dug the original (if not more somber) take on legends and fables, and what can I say, I’m just a sucker for good underdog story.

It felt a bit odd hearing Sigourney Weaver spin the story, she hasn’t exactly been around much lately. I guess all her royalty checks from the ALIEN franchise must be drying up so she’s turned to voice acting. Good for her.

What amazes me most about these films is how they come off like they’re aimed at kids, which isn’t completely the case here, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as I did. But then again, you’re talking to a guy who’s watched HERCULES and ALADDIN like fifty times a piece (this being the FIRST and LAST time I’ll ever admit to it). We’re certainly not in SHREK territory here, but I do feel the story was intended for a slightly more mature audience. And for that reason, I can see this being a big hit with both young and old.
THE EXTRAS
Sneak Peek of Curious George 2: Follow that Monkey: A ten minute clip from the upcoming cartoon sequel. This is total kid stuff, unless talking monkeys and elephants are your thing.

The Tale of The Tale of Despereaux: The Author reveals that the idea for Despereaux came from her eight year old son, who wanted her to write a story about a tiny mouse with huge ears. Having my mom write something like this for me would have been the coolest thing ever.

Interactive Map of the Kingdom of Dor: Man, I wish we had stuff like this when I was a kid. An interactive map would have been fun to play around with. I always wished my Lego could talk.

Top Ten Uses for Oversized Ears: Well, that about sums it up. You get a cutsie picture with each example. And here I thought this wasn’t for little kids.

Despereaux’s Quest Game: More interactive fun for the kiddies, only this time it’s a multiple choice game to further Despereaux on his journey to save the Princess. Again, this stuff trumps all the toys I had as a kid.

Build-a-Boldo Game: One final game involving soup ingredients as you try to build Boldo. They let you choose between “easy” and “hard” for difficulties, I guess they felt the final game needed some extra challenge.

Rom: An added bunch of goodies you can unlock by opening the disk on your PC. You have to be running Windows 98 or better, but I really can’t see that being a problem for anyone. There’s also three "kiddie" cartoon trailers.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Animated flicks always bring out my inner child. I miss Saturday morning cartoons as much as the next guy, so it’s nice to feel like a big kid sometimes. DESPEREAUX is definitely worth the rental fare, especially if you have a date night coming up and you’re looking to score a few “sensitivity” points.
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