The Tale of Despereaux : 3 of 5
My movie pal Melinda and I went to see The Tale of Despereaux for our first animated film of the year, and we were both pretty surprised at the kind of movie it turned out to be. There was definitely a lot to enjoy, including some interesting animation and shot compositions, as well as a relatively complex plot with lots of characters to keep track of, but these same elements made it difficult for the audience of children to get through it all. Although there are certainly some fun action sequences, there are also huge stretches in the story where nothing much happens except for narration, and it was funny to hear all the kids start squirming and whining at the same time. The visual look of the movie is quite drab (since continuous cloudy weather plays a part in the story), but the mice are very cute with a nice level of characterization and realism. I didn't enjoy the human characters as much - some of them were OK (like Princess Pea), but the supporting humans seems really unfinished to me (and the servant girl looked way too much like ogre Fiona from Shrek!). This movie has a huge cast of celebrity voice actors (including Dustin Hoffman, who unfortunately wasn't half as good as his great performance in Kung Fu Panda) - so many, in fact, that some of their talent is wasted in tiny roles, and their salaries could probably have been better spent on the animation! I guess I'm sounding pretty negative about The Tale of Despereaux, but the fact is that I enjoyed watching it and I actually liked the quirky, bizarre plot with all its strange pacing. It was great to start another new year of animated fun!