The Tale of Desperaux

Once upon a time... in the far away kingdom of Dor... lived a brave and virtuous mouse with comically oversized ears who dreamt of becoming a knight. Banished from his home for having such lofty ambitions, Despereaux sets off on an amazing adventure with his good-hearted rat friend Roscuro, who leads him, at long last, on a very noble quest to rescue an endangered princess and save an entire kingdom from darkness. Based on the heartwarming children's bestselling book and featuring the voice talents of an all-star cast, The Tale of Despereaux is a magical, modern fairytale.

Starring:  Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Watson, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Kline, William H. Macy, Ciarian Hinds, Robbie Coltrane, Tony Hale, Frank Langella, Richard Jenkins, Christopher Lloyd, Charles Shaughnessy etc. 

Directed by: Sam Fell, Rob Stevenhagen   


This film had all the perfect elements of a fairytale.  A princess, a tragedy, a villain and a hero, albeit a somewhat unusual one.  The story starts out with a rat, named Roscuro.  From the start we can see that he is not your common garden variety rat.  He enjoys being out in the daylight and loves soup.  Unfortunately, it's this love of soup that gets him into trouble.  In the land of Dor, the people all loved soup and every spring the cook would present his newest soup recipe to the whole kingdom.  It was while Roscuro was trying to get a better look and sniff of the soup that he fell into the Queen's bowl causing her such a terrible fright that she drops dead.  The King is so grieved that he banishes soup and all rats from he kingdom.  Roscuro is sent scurrying to the underground where he discovers anew how unlike he is from other rats.  Here the tale really begins as we then witness the birth and growth of Desperaux, a mouse without fear. 

The graphics were clean and in my opinion well done.  Of course, my opinion is purely based upon whether it's pleasing to my eye to look at for an hour and half.  I felt the story flowed well and perhaps could have been a tad deeper in spots but after all, it is a children's film. I do feel; however, that they have erred with the rating of G.  I am grateful that I previewed the movie first, something which I do not always do when a movie is rated G.  Right from the start with the Queen literally dropping dead in her soup, I knew we were going to have problems with this film.  Can you imagine my 5 year old's horror at the "mommy" dying literally 10 minutes into the film.  

In the mouse world, they are taught to fear knives, in the rat world you see human skulls being used as carriages to carry rats around, they keep a caged cat which they use to kill their enemies.  At one point in the movie, the rats kidnap the princess, tie her up and drag her out into their little rat arena while the rat crowds were chanting "Eat her, Eat her" and at one point she is swarmed by the rats until she is rescued.  Of course, the hero carries the day and all is restored and made aright in the Kingdom of Dor; however, the level of violence and the tastelessness of the whole trying to eat the princess scene really put the kibosh on my children seeing this movie. 

From a grown up point of view; however, I enjoyed the film and thought it quiet charming overall.  I have nothing against the adventure seeking little mouse and find his dreams and ambitions to be that of any imaginative child.  A little swashbuckling is fun.  Who among us wouldn't like to run off and rescue the fair damsel in distress?  

So to wrap it up, unless you have very strict notions of what you let your children watch, I see no problem in letting anyone say 8 and older to watch this film.  

And that's my opinion in a nutshell. 

Bedtime Stories

Marty Bronson has to sell his homey motel to clever Barry Nottingham with the promises that one day Marty's son will be manager when he's all grown up and has proven himself. Nottingham pulls down the motel to raise a pricey hotel. Now, all grown up Marty's son, Skeeter, works as a janitor and general servant for Mr. Nottingham, but unlikely as it seems, he still dreams of becoming the manager. When Nottingham announces a brand-new gigantic hotel project, he makes his future son-in-law, Kendall, manager, shattering Skeeter's dream. At the same time Skeeter's sister Wendy has to leave town for a job interview and asks him to alternate looking after her two children with Wendy's responsible-minded colleague Jill.  The fun begins when Skeeter tells his niece and nephew a bedtime story each night.  It doesn't take long for strange things to begin happening and for Skeeter to realize that he may just have in hand the power to make all his dreams come true. 

Starring:  Adam Sandler, Courtney Cox, Keri Russell, Guy Pearce, Russell Brand, Richard Griffiths, Lucy Lawless, Johnathan Morgan Heit, Laura Ann Kesling, Jonathan Pryce etc. 

Rating:  G

This was a light family fun film and we all enjoyed watching it together.  Although it is rated G it doesn't hold a lot of interest for all younger children. My 5 year old just barely managed to hold out longer with the promise that once Skeeter started telling the bedtime stories it would get more interesting.  This worked and she was hooked for the rest of the film. 

We, of course, previewed this film the night before and were pleasantly surprised at how they managed to do the story telling and action scenes without being either too scary or violent.  When I initially watched the previews, I was inclined to think that it might be a tad violent.  Please note there are some high thrill adventures with horse racing, chariot racing, etc. but nothing more violent or intense than what typify many of the Barbie movies (Hey I have girls it's the easiest comparison). So we had no qualms whatsoever in letting our younger children watch the film. 

The storyline could have been better, more filled out.  Isn't that always the case though?  However, we still enjoyed the stories for what they were.  I liked that although the main character was going through difficulties and some disappointments in his life, he still had a measure of hope and when he was really down, he was able to pull himself together and do something about it, teaching that we don't always have to settle for second best and there's no reason why we can't try and make our dreams happen.  

I think there was also a message in there that while it's good to eat healthy and to work and study hard that there is also some room in there for a measure of fun and freedom.  Life doesn't have to always be just serious.  Skeeter helped the children realize that and give them some fun in an area where they mother was unable too.  

They do leave some questions out like what happened to Skeeter and Wendy's mother and why their relationship was so distant.  They appear to be close yet at the same time mention they hadn't seen each other for 4 years.  I do find it disappointing that Hollywood always feel the needs to make the family dynamic into a single parent household.  While I know there are many divorced couples our there and parents making it on their own, there are just as many out there that are still together.  It is confusing for those kids that still have their parents together to understand how all these t.v. families are divided.  If you have a thinker for a child, it could actually make them fearful that their family is going to split up too, especially since it seems to be rare to see two parent familes in movies these days.  Am I wrong or have I just been watching the wrong movies?  I hope so. 

So all in all I was a big fan of the movie and would heartily recommend it to any of my customers who have young families.  It's probably not the best film for families with older teens as it probably won't hold their teen's interest, unless, of course, your teen is a fairly sheltered teen.  

Here are the more detailed specifics re the movie to help determine if this film would be appropriate for your child. 
Parents Advisory: 
Sex and nudity:  Contains mild toilet humour, some girls are seen in bikinis, random cleavage shots, bare chested men, 
Violence and gore:  one man is slapped by a hand that pops out of a gun and some wrestling occurs
Language and Profanity:  at least two uses of "hell" and "what the hell" and 4 uses "God" and "OMG"
Alcohol/Drinking/Smoking:  small reference to drinking champagne and references to "going for drinks" but no alcohol is actually seen being consumed. 
Frightening Intense Scenes:  Some monsters (not many) from the stories may be frightening, but all are portrayed in a humorous light. For instance a booger monster is particularly vivid. A divorce is discussed as well which could be problematic for some children.  (Again, my children had no issues with these scenes at all)