Adam Markovitz
December 18, 2008 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Tale of Despereaux

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
G
runtime
87 minutes
Wide Release Date
12/19/08
performer
Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Dustin Hoffman, Sigourney Weaver
director
Sam Fell, Robert Stevenhagen
distributor
Universal
author
Will McRobb, Chris Viscardi
genre
Comedy, Kids and Family, Animation

We gave it an C+

Based on Kate DiCamillo’s children’s book about a chivalrous mouse, The Tale of Despereaux looks like an illuminated manuscript brought to life. The screen glows with Renaissance golds, mice dressed like serfs, and a princess with Botticelli hair draped over a permanently foreshortened face. Too bad the story’s such a mess. As Despereaux (Matthew Broderick) tries to foil a royal kidnapping, his tale snags on loose-knit subplots about a seafaring rat (Dustin Hoffman), and a kingdom-wide obsession with soup. The latter, involving a snooty French chef and visions of floating veggies, gives the movie a whiff of leftover Ratatouille. C+

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