This is a charming film based upon the award-winning children’s book by Kate DiCamillo. Let me say that one more time for the cheap seats: this film is BASED upon the book. I am often saying to fellow movie-goers that films based upon books should not be judged by how accurate they are to the literature it is derived from. It’s just unfair. First of all, these are two radically different mediums. What can be accomplished in a book is not easily translated to film. Secondly, there’s little evidence in recent films to support the notion that a good book equals a good movie. Let me also say that I have not read this book.
So, with that in mind, I believe this to be a fine family film. There are two primary reasons for saying that. The first reason is that the film touches upon the value of believing in who you are. The message can seem a little diluted in places, but the underlying message is resolute. The main characters falter at places along the story that is told, but in the end, these characters realize who they truly are and stand up for themselves. I guess that was the appeal of this film to me. For a children’s tale, it is surprisingly grown-up in its message. I believe that the film really emphasizes this. What a positive message to give to kids too! The message is also delivered in a simple yet charming way. I can’t say for sure, but I think Sigourney Weaver’s narration really helped the film in that department. (Anyone that has seen “Planet Earth” should understand what I mean by that.)
The second reason is the never-ending appeal of that swashbuckling adventurous genre. I love fantasy films! Truly, I am a connoisseur of such movies. A mouse as the main hero of the story? Hey, I liked the idea of a fox as Robin Hood in the Disney movie! It’s just the idea of a mouse being very unlike a mouse that is a quick catch. As our hero even states when asked if he is a man or a mouse, his answer is simply “I am a Gentleman”.
The greatest asset for a film like this is the voice work of many of Hollywood’s top-notch actors and actresses. The list is enormous! When the credits roll, I watched in amazement as the names just kept coming. Stanley Tucci, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella, Kevin Kline, William H. Macy, Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Tracey Ullman, and Dustin Hoffman were among that list. These actors supplied a wonderful edge to the film. It is a far better “role” for Dustin Hoffman in this movie than that of “Kung Fu Panda”.
So, if you like fantasy genre films that convey a lovely message – and delivered by top-notch voice actors – then I highly recommend this movie! It’s a wonderful movie!
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE
- REVIEW: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (reread) (theliteraryflaneur.wordpress.com)
- The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo (ohdearheart.wordpress.com)
- The Tale of Despereaux (2003), by Kate DiCamillo (karynskidlitreviews.wordpress.com)