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.