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Last Updated: Wednesday January 28 2009 15:29 GMT

Film Review: The Tale of Despereaux

noble mouse Despereaux  (AP Photo/Universal Pictures)

Release date & rating

You can catch it from 19 December, and it's got a U rating.

The stars

Emma Watson is the leading lady in this animated flick - but you'll only hear her voice as the film's Princess Pea.

The Harry Potter actress is joined by some of the brightest stars in Hollywood.

Matthew Broderick lends his voice as the pint-sized hero Despereaux the mouse, while Dustin Hoffman and Sigourney Weaver are also in this fairytale line-up.

The plot

Forget Christmas - in the faraway kingdom of Dor, "Royal Soup Day" is the biggest event on the calendar.

Every year the Royal Chef, with the help of a magic 'vegetable man' named Boldo, concocts in his kitchen a soup fit for a, well… king!

But this year the king, the queen and their daughter, Princess Pea, get more than they bargained for when Roscuro the Rat (Hoffman) accidentally ends up being served in the soup!

The King bans soup and rats from the Kingdom, and Roscuro has to hide in the dangerous rat underworld in the castle dungeon.

Meanwhile, a big-eared mouse called Despereaux is also banished to the dark and dangerous dungeon for befriending the sad and soup-less Princess Pea.

So, when Princess Pea is kidnapped by the rats, it's up to Despereaux and Roscuro to save her. But can the unlikely duo bring soup and celebration back to the Kingdom?

Best bits

Like the movie poster says: small hero, big heart… And probably a huge budget too!

The animation is top-notch - with graphics as good as Wall-E and maybe even better than Shrek.

The little mouse with a lot of courage makes The Tale of Despereaux a meaningful movie - like Dumbo for the computer-graphics generation!

Fave characters

Big kids will get a big kick out of Boldo the vegetable man, and Matthew Broderick makes Despereaux the perfect rebel mouse.

Any weak bits?

Sweet as she sounds, Princess Pea isn't half as memorable or likeable as the fairytale princesses in the Disney films or Shrek.

Even with Emma Watson as her voice, Despereaux's damsel is no Princess Fiona!

Hit or miss?

With graphics this good it has to be a hit - it just might not make it onto your fave films list!

NR rating:

Newsround ratings graphic

This reviews page is now closed. Here are some of the reviews you sent in.

Your Comments

"I love this movie. The little mouse is cute and very brave and Emma Watson is my favourite actress."

Sofia, 11, Ealing, England

"I thought that the movie and the effects were good. I think it could have had a better storyline though."

Beth, 11, Scotland

"I think it's great, it has an interesting storyline and for me it's a 9/10 rating."

Eleanor, 10, Southport, England

"I thought it was great - the mouse was so cute, but there wasn't much action in it. I'll give it 8/10."

Luke, 8, Dublin, Ireland

"I was horrified! I have read the book and this adaption is terrible! I give it 2/10, only because the effects are amazing."

Alice, 11, Essex, England

"I love this film, the mouse is so cute and the animation is amazing. I give this film a review of eight out of 10."

Lauren, 13, Nottingham, England

"It's not that interesting, it hasn't got a point and it's not fun at all."

Valentina, 10, Manchester, England

"I thought it was so boring and a waste of my dad's money! No-one should watch it."

Emhji, 9, Hertfordshire, England

"This film is not the best film I have seen. My favourite character is Despereaux, he is soooo cute!! Emma was great too. I would give this film three stars."

Amy, 10, Doncaster, England

"I thought it was great. I love Emma Watson - she rocks!!!"

Rachel, 11, Manchester, England

"It was the best film ever, I'll give it a 10/10."

Melody, 6, London, England

"It was kind of boring and not much happened in it. It was like WALL-E - boring with good graphics."

Anna, 13, Derry, Northern Ireland

"I think the plot is a bit boring but the graphics are great."

Lisa, 13, Birmingham, England

"A definite five star film, funny and really entertaining, I loved it. Emma Watson did a good job too."

Olivia, 10, London, England

"Wow!!!!!!! This movie is sooooo cute, I love Despereaux the mouse. Go and watch it at the cinema!!!"

Hannah, 8, Bolton, England

"This film isn't good at all! It was really boring and there was hardly any action but the graphics were amazing! 4/10"

Marco, 11, London, England


Francesca, 10, London, England