If you’re looking for an animated film as entertaining as UP, or will even settle for something as decent as Ratatouille, don’t turn to Tale of Despereaux.

If you’re looking for a movie that your kids will enjoy and you won’t mind watching it, Tale of Despereaux is not for you.

It seemed like it would be a good movie.  I was expecting something of a Mouseketeer.  The main character is fearless, which he gets yelled at for, but that doesn’t make it a good movie.

Tale of Despereaux may be animated and G rated, but it’s not really a kids movie.   It’s actually a very dark film.  In fact, at one point a council of elder mice basically sentence Despereaux to death.  At another point in the movie, Despereaux is put into a Gladiator style stadium where a cat on a chain leash stalks him and tries to disembowel the film’s hero, with hordes of rats watching from the stadium cheer for the cat to kill the mouse.

Definitely not an uplifting movie at all.  It’s likely to make kids cry if they understand what’s going on, and otherwise it’s not extremely well done, either.

For the most part I really dislike goofy little kids movies and I’m willing to try watching animated films that don’t seem like they’d be goofy, but in this case, I wish I hadn’t bothered.

I could talk about how Matthew Broderick and Dustin Hoffman do a passable job with their voice-over, but it doesn’t matter.  I almost regret putting that mention into the review, because I don’t want to give people the idea that the voice-over talents would be a reason to see this film.

I suppose if your child enjoys dramatic films and they’re nearing the age of moving on to strictly live action films, this could be a decent one to use to bridge the gap, but otherwise I wouldn’t give it another thought.


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