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The Tale of Despereaux

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For whatever reason, rodents have a rich film history, from Disney’s 1950 Cinderella to last year's Oscar-winning Ratatouille. The Tale of Despereaux is the story of a young mouse (Matthew Broderick) whose bravery brings together a royal family and breathes life into a village obsessed with soup. Oddly enough, Despereaux the mouse gets relatively little screen time, as he shares his tale with a servant girl (Emma Watson) who’s envious of a princess (Tracey Ullman), a rat (Dustin Hoffman) seeking redemption and a chef (Kevin Kline) whose soup has been outlawed. The result is a bland story filled with clichés about morals. While kids won’t mind the confusing storyline or preachy Sigourney Weaver-voiced narration, parents will, although they’ll probably just be happy the animation (a cross between poor computer animation and a claymation Christmas special) is good enough to keep their kids quiet. HH 1/2

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