The Tale of Despereaux: Review

Although I did not read the book The Tale of Despereaux, I did have the opportunity to watch the movie with some friends of mine, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!  Not only is it family friendly but it contains the little ‘profound messages’ so often included in animated films. 

There are several plots at work within the movie.  The film begins with a kingdom in a fairy tale country on ‘National Soup Day’, the kingdom’s favorite event.  During the tasting of the soup by the queen, a friendly rat (although no one knew he was friendly) fell into her soup and gave her a heart attack, killing her instantly.  Out of his grief, the king banned all soup and rats from the kingdom.

At this point I was sitting trying to digest (pardon the pun) what kind of movie I was watching.  National Soup Day killed the queen?  How random was that?!  But don’t worry, it gets better.

Because the kingdom was somewhat dependant upon the soup for its morale and industry, the whole nation went into a depression.  Even the skies turned gray.  The princess, whose father was still deep in grief, wished for someone to be her hero and bring the world back to they way it was.

At this time a young mouse is born named Despereaux.  As he grows up he shows none of the characteristics of what a mouse should be — frightened, scurrying, and cowering.  Because of these offenses, he is cast into the dungeon — which leads to the rat kingdom, a place of great decadence and wickedness.  No mouse has ever returned from the depths.

Without giving away any other tidbits as to the ending and plot, Despereaux becomes the princess’ ‘hero’ and with some help, changes the course of the nation’s history.  There are some very action-packed and suspensful scenes that may frighten little children, but as a whole I think this was a great movie for the family.  Despereaux’s devotion to virtue, courage and chivalry is a nice theme running throughout.  Overall I would say it’s ‘cute’; a nice option to go see with friends.