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Article Archive >> Entertainment

It's Only Ink! Tale of Despereaux

It's Only Ink!
Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux opens a sailing ship. Roscuro, a not-so-typical rat (played by Dustin Hoffman), welcomes the sunshine as he approaches his human friend Pietro. They are on their way to the Kingdom of Dor for their annual "Royal Soup Day" festival. This day in Dor is the most special of days. Roscuro and Pietro walk the town taking in the sights, sounds, and especially the smells. Leaving his human friend behind, the delicious smells lead Roscuro and his nose to the castle. Potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, and more flow down a huge shoot and into a large iron pot.
Meanwhile, Andre, the royal head chef (played by Kevin Kline), just has to finish the soup on time. Feeling pressured, he conjures up his "Soup Genie" named Boldo and seeks his advice.
During this time Roscuro ends up on a chandelier directly over the royal soup bowl that is placed in front of the queen. The queen takes her first sip and loves the soup!
Roscuro is overcome with the soup's smell, loses his grip, and falls into the queen's bowl. The queen, not realizing that a rat had fallen into her soup, goes to take another bite. When Roscuro pops out and tries to explain, she screams, thinking she had eaten soup with a rat in it, and falls into the soup after suffering a fatal heart attack.
Roscuro tries to apologize but is chased all around the castle. Now with his friend gone, Roscuro falls down a drain and into a dark dungeon - Rat World!
Roscuro is taken to Rat World by a mean ugly rat named Botticelli, who pretends to be his friend, but he really wants to kill Roscuro's gentle and non-rat-like qualities.
The King, in all his grief, bans soup day and all rats. Sadness, darkness, and no rain over-take the small town when a dark cloud forms above.
The scene moves to Mouse World where a little mouse with big ears is born. Despereaux (played by Matthew Broderick) isn't afraid of anything. As time passes, his family begins to worry that because he doesn't cower and he doesn't scurry - like all mice. He soon becomes an outcast. He never loses his curiosity and does his best to fit in. Despereaux's parents attempt to teach him on their own by having him follow his older brother, Furlough, who is mouse-like, throughout the castle. They give him strict orders to cower when his brother cowers, and to scurry when his brother scurries. Eventually the two end up in the castle's giant library, where his brother tries teaching him the appropriate methods of eating a book. But Despereaux isn't interested in eating them - he wants to read them! He develops a fascination toward the fairy tale of the princess who is locked in a tower, hoping for a brave knight to release her from her imprisonment. As if he wasn't brave enough, Despereaux learns what chivalry and courage mean. He is then drawn toward the lonely Princess Pea (played by Emma Watson). At first she is afraid of Despereaux, but when asked if he is a rat or a mouse, Despereaux states, "I am a gentlemen." These four words start a new friendship. They exchange hopes, wishes, and desires, and she expresses the need for everything to return to the way it used to be - a day with soup, rain, and even rats. Now set with a quest (to finish reading the story and tell the princess all about it), Despereaux returns to his home.
When his family finds out that he has broken a mouse-law by speaking with a human, the high council immediately decides to banish him to the dungeons. Here Botticelli's henchmen discover him and take him back to Rat World where he is sentenced to be eaten by a cat. Before he is eaten, Roscuro pretends to be one of the evil rats and asks Botticelli if he can have the mouse for himself. Delighted, Botticelli accepts. Now at Roscuro's place, Despereaux tells him of his travels and his conversation with the princess. Roscuro wishes to join forces with Despereaux and starts off to meet with the princess - with the intention of apologizing. However, that doesn't work out the way he had hoped and Roscuro starts to feel angry. With his help, the princess and a servant girl named Miggery Sow (played by Tracey Ullman), who wants to be the princess, end up in the dungeons.
It doesn't take long for Despereaux to realize that the princess is in danger. He attempts to solicit help from the king, the other mice, and finally the royal chef. But Boldo is the one that comes to rescue. The two race toward the dungeons. But the princess is no longer there; she has been taken to the rat arena where she is to be dinner.
Without spoiling Despereaux's adventures, I will tell you that he tries his hardest to try and save the princess.
This reviewer and her family thoroughly enjoyed The Tale of Despereaux and highly recommend you getting the movie. The Tale of Despereaux is on DVD and Blu-ray(tm) Hi-Def April 7, 2009 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Consumers will also receive a free Kodak Gallery pocket photo book (a $9.99 value) with the purchase of the DVD (on specially marked packages, while supplies last)!
A few DVD bonus features include:
A behind-the-scenes look, a demonstration for the top ten uses for oversized ears, and a sneak peak of Curious George 2: Follow that Monkey.
Exclusive to the DVD is an interactive map of the kingdom of Dor, Despereaux's quest game, build-a-Boldo game, and more.
Exclusive to Blu-ray(tm) Hi-Def are songs, u-control, picture-in-picture live action and animatic, scene progressions with filmmaker commentaries, card creator, make your own soup game and more.
Based on the heartwarming children's best selling book by Kate DiCamillo's The Tale of Despereaux: Being the story of a mouse, a princess, some soup, and a spool of thread, the movie-version features the incredible voice talents of Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Dustin Hoffman, Sigourney Weaver, Kevin Kline, William H. Macy, Tracy Ullman, and Stanley Tucci, The Tale of Despereaux has something for everyone and is for people of all ages. This is a timeless story about finding one's place in the world.

The Tale of Despereaux
2008 Universal Studios Home Entertainment, www.universalstudios.com
DVD Information:
Price: $29.98
Blu-ray(tm) Information:
Price: $39.98
Both have the Running Time of 1 Hour 34 Minutes and are Rated G.

Jennifer LB Leese is a writer from Maryland who writes children's picture books, young adult novels, and paranormal fiction. Visit her online at: www.geocities.com/ladyjiraff

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